EA has closed down Visceral Games

Discussion in 'Console Industry' started by Jupiter, Oct 17, 2017.

  1. mpg1

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    Dev costs have gone up but theoretically marketing costs should have come way down...even since 2011. Almost everything gaming related is on youtube/twitch now....how much does it cost to give a few big youtubers/streamers early access to the game that get millions of views of the very audience your looking to target? Certainly not a even fraction of $60 million...
     
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  2. chris1515

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    It is very rare to gives like this the ratio of digital and physical sales like Shawn Layden did for HZD...
     
  3. chris1515

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    The interesting part with the 2014 kotaku article about game budget it seems the cost of development of Dead Space 2 was on the high side for a PS3/360 games...
     
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  4. chris1515

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    I agree. I am sure of it the number of TV ad of games are better targeted than before and there is much less advertising on TV. Most of the advertising is done during sport or specific show...
     
  5. Malo

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    Advertising budgets for Assassins Creed titles must be enormous.
     
  6. ToTTenTranz

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    Why are 6 year-old Dead Space 2's dev costs and profits all that important for a Star Wars themed game being axed after 4 years of development?


    First, there are a number of reasons for Dead Space 2's budget ballooning way above its original budget. There could have been changes in story writing leading to disposal of existing assets and creation of new ones. Anyone remembers how George Lucas pretty much destroyed Star Wars 1313 due to constantly changing the setting and main character?


    Secondly, Star Wars is enjoying an all time high popularity nowadays and it's not going to stop anytime soon.
    2015's Battlefront was a complete turd in terms of content and got metacritic scores below 75, yet it sold 13 million copies within the first year.
    A decent linear story-driven single player Star Wars game would have sold well over Dead Space 2's 4 million copies, and by using cross-promotion with Disney, EA definitely wouldn't need to spend 50% of the total budget in marketing.


    IMO, the question is not whether a Star Wars game made by Visceral and written by Amy Hennig would make money.
    It's purely a matter of EA being convinced they can make more short-term money out of their Star Wars license, regardless of how much it hurts the franchise.
    EA has a history of doing this, as they've done it with e.g. Command&Conquer, SimCity, Dungeon Keeper and now Star Wars.
    What I don't get is how Disney - who is a total control freak over their franchises - is letting EA get away with stuff like Battlefront 2015 being panned by its audience, Battlefront 2 being even worse by becoming pay2win and now they're turning story-telling games into more multiplayer loot box crap.
     
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  7. Silent_Buddha

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    The game isn't being cancelled per EA.

    Although it's going to be a different game from what Visceral was making, it's still going to be a Star Wars game, presumably with the same or similar theme/story.

    It's important because it's one very large data point of a studio being unable to control costs during development. If this has been in development for 4 years, and the gameplay (for whatever reasons) isn't up to whatever standards EA and their playtester's had established for the game.

    Basically having to scrap much of the work done over the past 4 years and revamping it is expensive. It's establishing a history of Visceral not being able to meet EA's requirements.

    Now, whether EA is correct in making that assessment is certainly up for debate. I'm not particularly fond of them trying to shoehorn in MicroTransactions in single player games (I skipped Dead Space 3 due to this), but it's their prerogative as a publisher. And as long as consumers keep giving them money they'll keep doing it, unfortunately.

    It stinks, but there's your reasons, at least according to EA.

    Without knowing what the actual gameplay was like or hearing what their playtesters had to say, there's no way to come to an informed opinion on why gameplay needed to be revamped this late in development. If it was due to unsatisfying gameplay then perhaps it was warranted. If it was due to not being conducive to MicroTransactions and monetization, then that would suck big huge donkey balls.

    Regards,
    SB
     
  8. Nisaaru

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    I had absolutely no issues with DS3 because of micro transactions. Never bought anything and felt no need to. IMHO anybody who avoided DS3 for that or "because it wasn't focused on psychological horror like 1-2 but more on action/horror" missed some superb movie like environments and a broader universe. I consider all 3 games fantastic AAA experiences in their own way.
     
  9. ToTTenTranz

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    Dead Space 3 was great, and even greater to play it coop with a friend.
    I was glad they derived a bit from the jump-scare lonely scenario, it was a good chunk of fresh air for the franchise IMO.

    I was aware of the microtransactions but never even opened that menu. I don't even know what they were selling there.


    A story-driven single-player game is being cancelled and at best its assets and some story elements are being refurbished for a multiplayer loot-box microtransactions game that will probably release much later. The original fiscal 2018 release date (i.e. up to March 2019) will obviously be changed by at least a year and that even puts into question which console generation the game will release for.

    Franchise licenses usually have strict requirements for number of games/movies being launched within pre-defined time periods. That's why Fox released a turd like the latest Fantastic Four, because if they hadn't released the movie they'd automatically lose the franchise.

    I'd find it very hard to believe EA's license on Star Wars games isn't tied to timed releases. Disney is working pretty hard at keeping momentum with the "Star Wars Story" movies, and high-profile videogames are definitely part of that effort.



    It's not a large data point. It's one data point for an old game made for an older console generation.
    It doesn't tell anything about being unable to control costs. The tweet says EA were merciless with the budget and despite that Visceral made a critically acclaimed game, which actually suggests they were able to control costs pretty well.
    Besides, no info is given on whether Dead Space 2 turned a profit or not - just that it didn't reach EA's expectations. And what that actually means is up to anyone's guess, since 4 million is well above many best-selling games of the 7th-generation.

    Not to mention the game released in early January, right after Christmas holiday season, which is possibly the worst possible date to launch anything. And it released 2 weeks after Call of Duty Black Ops. And then during 2011 came behemoths like Portal 2 and Skyrim.



    Visceral's latest game Battlefield Hardline was on the top charts for a long time and met or surpassed EA's expectations.
     
  10. JPT

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    They should have hired more Ben's then.
    Guess Ben affleck and Ben Kingsley would have been cheap....
     
  11. mpg1

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  12. Shifty Geezer

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    That is such a perfectly ambiguous tweet! "As a result of being single player, the game wasn't cancelled," or, "despite being single player, the game wasn't cancelled."
     
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  13. DSoup

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    EA are a greedy corporation and I don't think they wouldn't cancel a good game that could make them money. I'm guessing that, along with 1313, this was not shaping up to be a good game.

    The game was billed as a "story-based, linear adventure game" and that's tough to pull off in the current market, particularly "linear". When I reflect on all the great single player experiences I've enjoyed over the last decade, not have been non-linear: GTA, Red Dead, Horizon Zero Dawn, Mass Effect, Fallout, Elder Scrolls, Far Cry, Assassin's Creed, Ratchet & Clank, Dishonoured, Shadow of Mordor/War, Metal Gear V, Infamous,The Witcher, Arkham Knight, Dying Light, Watch Dogs, Rise of the Tomb Raider

    The linear games is a much shorter list: The Last of Us, Uncharted, Tomb Raider (2013) and Until Dawn.
     
  14. ToTTenTranz

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    By Uncharted you mean Uncharted 1 + Uncharted 2 + Uncharted 3 + Uncharted 4, all of which were best-sellers for their year of release.
    And on Microsoft's front you're missing Halo 3 + 4 + 5 + Reach + ODST. Then there are others like the Bioshock series and Evil Within.


    There isn't any rule set on stone that says a game can't be linear to sell well. Story-telling can be immensely better in linear games and lots of paying customers don't mind a good linear game.

    There is one rule saying the game must be good to sell well, though.
     
  15. DSoup

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    Well I said "games I enjoyed". I overlooked Bioshock but aren't a fan of the sequels. I would also say I'm not that crazed on Uncharted's story telling. They do great set pieces but what really works for me in Uncharted for is the characterisations. Nate, Sully, Elena and Chloe work despite the pulp story. It's like Indiana Jones, the stories are pure nonsense, but the characters and action are what keep you hooked

    So there are a few good story-based linear action games. Not look at the of that genre that didn't work out as well.
     
  16. Silent_Buddha

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    I'm the complete opposite. Out of your list of open world games I like Witcher (never finished), Metal Gear V (highly disappointing, but still enjoyable) and...Dishonored (feels linear).

    OTOH: I I loved Batman: Arkham Assylum (mostly linear) but hated all of the open world sequels. Loved the new Wolfenstein and Doom. Love Tower Defense (highly linear :D) games. Love the KOEI Warriors games (highly linear with large battlefields). Love RTS (highly linear with large or small battlefields). Love Civilization (open) but hate most 4x games. Bioshock, of course. Halo up until 343 took over (they don't "get" Halo). Kings Bounty series (sorta open, but they're really highly linear).

    Oh yeah, and loved the Souls games. Highly linear with a mix of small and medium sized levels. You can take some maps in a different order, but it's basically a linear romp.

    An open worldish game I REALLY want to like, but can't stay interested in for more than a few hours because there's no directed and coherent story is Total War: Warhammer.

    But that's the glory of the gaming medium right? That there's a genre and games for nearly everyone's tastes. I don't like open world games, but I'm glad they exist for people that do like them.

    The only thing I hate is when a developer or publisher takes an established franchise and then changes it mid-series (here's looking at your Bioward/EA and a big middle finger to go with it for taking 2 fantastic RPGs and turning one into a shooter and the other into some god awful 3rd person action spectacle wannabe).

    Regards,
    SB
     
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  17. Jupiter

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    Singleplayer only releases have a lot of challenges in the contemporary market. Compared to a decade ago they are a much higher risk production. There ara many different factors that work against them.

    Especially with more guided/structured narrative games. The streaming-marked has really hurt story driven games.
     
    #37 Jupiter, Oct 22, 2017
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2017
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  18. Tkumpathenurpahl

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    It probably doesn't help that very few narrative driven games actually have anything to say. Like so much pulp, there's lots of stuff going on, but nothing really happening.

    It's no coincidence that The Last of Us is critically acclaimed and sold gangbusters: it has a real story, with real themes, real characters, and you may even find out something about yourself during your playthrough and sober self reflection thereafter.

    It's probably part of the reason for indie games having filled that AA niche: they can be compact, heartfelt, poignant experiences. We don't expect them to be photorealistic and to contain ~9,000,000,000 hours of grinding, we just expect them to be engaging enough to warrant £20. And since that's the cost of two cinema tickets, an interactive, four hour journey with charming art direction and the ability to stir your soul is definitely value for money.
     
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  19. DSoup

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    Kotaku have been speaking to people at the former studio and things had not been good there for some time.
     
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  20. tuna

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