With the loot box controversy dominating the conversation around EA at the moment, you'd be forgiven for forgetting about the Visceral Games shutdown a few weeks ago. The gist was that EA closed down Visceral, which was working on an Amy Hennig Star Wars game. The outfacing explanation seemed to suggest it was because the game was a linear, single player story driven game. Obviously, this riled up fans who like those kinds of games. However, then an excellent piece by Kotaku came out telling the story of a very troubled production, suggesting there were more complex reasons for the closure. Perception seemed to shift, at least ever so slightly.
Well, now EA has dragged it all back up again. At the Credit Suisse Technology, Media & Telecom conference (via Dualshockers), EA CFO Blake Jorgensen went back to claiming that the reason the game got shut down was in fact because they don't think players want single player games anymore. He said:
As we kept reviewing the game, it continued to look like a much more linear game [which] people don't like as much today as they did five years ago or ten years ago.
EA said that usually, they would take steps to shut down a project that wasn't working much earlier but gave the it some extra leeway. However, Eventually they had to:
cut the bridge when you realize can't really make a lot of money on something
This seems a… silly thing to do at this point. One, this conversation had shifted to one about loot boxes, and also, it felt like there was a broader understanding of the situation between everyone that wasn't just 'single player = bad'. Currently, the company can't seem to get out of its own way though, and I think reasserting that an audience doesn't 'like' linear game feels like asking for trouble again.