Chief Financial Officer EA Blake Jorgensen on a speech to investors admitted that the closure of the Visceral Games studio was an “economic decision”.
Jorgensen noted that for the last five or six years, the Visceral studio has significantly shrunk in size – up to 80 developers. A small number of employees became one of the reasons why EA Vancouver and EA Motive joined the development of the Star Wars game.
Visceral tried to bring the gameplay to a new level, but EA continued to monitor the process and evaluate the development of the game. The project continued to look “like a linear game, which is not as popular with people as five or ten years ago”.
In EA, they came to the conclusion that they could hardly cover the costs of developing an expensive game for this reason, and decided to close the studio. Currently, the company decides what can be done with the already existing parts of the game: either leave them for a changed course of project development, or use it in other games.
Eventually, the closure of the studio became an “economic decision”. However, many Visceral employees get seats in other EA units, and the company tries to retain as many former studio developers as possible.
Jorgensen added that the publisher usually makes such decisions, as in the case of Visceral, as early as possible during development, but in this situation EA allowed the problem to drag on. The company eventually realized that they had to “burn the bridges, when you realize that you can not make a lot of money on this.”
Recall that last month, EA CEO Andrew Wilson vigorously defended the company’s decision to close Visceral Games, denying accusations that the reason was the single direction of the game.