With Visceral Games Shutting Down, Single Player Games Take Another Hit

I don’t think 2017 has gone exactly as expected as EA initially thought. The first blemish came earlier this year with Mass Effect Andromeda, which launched and got (unfairly IMO) lambasted by social media over wonky animations. While I enjoyed the game, it ultimately didn’t fare too well and the studio was soon restructured and franchise essentially put on ice.

Now, we have this piece of news…

Patrick Soderlund, the Executive Vice President of EA, revealed in a blog post that the company made a decision to move Visceral Game’s Star Wars project to EA’s Worldwide Studios with EA Vancouver leading production. Not only that, the game is being changed from a linear, story-driven experience to a broader one that leans more into the Frostbite engine, changes many of the central elements of the game, and allows for more player agency and variety.

While we don’t know exactly what that means, it sounds as though EA is going to be changing the game to be something more akin to Destiny. Financially it makes sense when you consider how well the Destiny franchise has been for their rival, Activision. Unfortunately, this decision just isn’t what fans or the developer wanted to hear.

Sadly, without a new project to fall back on, EA has also decided to effectively shut down Visceral and try to shift as many employees as possible to other projects.

The news immediately struck me as a decision based on the fact that EA viewed the game as lacking a way to keep players hooked over the long term. Right or wrong, the sad fact is that single player games are quickly becoming a rare breed as publishers look for ways to monetize their games over the long haul. Honestly though, when did the word ‘linear’ become such a bad thing? Would BioShock exist as we know it if it had come out this year rather than in 2007?

I guess when you think about it, single player games like Assassin’s Creed Origins and its publisher Ubisoft deserves a tip of the cap for going against the quickly growing trend. Same goes for Sony who published the outstanding Horizon: Zero Dawn earlier this year and is also set to start 2018 with God of War as well.

After reading EA’s statement on the news, my mind immediately thought back to Star Wars 1313, another linear and story heavy experience. Considering the fate of that title was almost exactly the same (although it was outright cancelled and not moved), it feels like fans just can’t get a bad ass looking single player game. Seriously, what is it with all these amazing single player Star Wars games getting the boot?

Also, can Amy Hennig be allowed to finish a game? First, it was Uncharted 4 and now this.

I could go on and on about how this decision is utterly disappointing but I’ll let Daemon Hatfield say it for me:

In all seriousness though, I feel really bad for the hard working employees at Visceral. Best wishes to all those affected by this decision. While EA had remained silent and coy on the title, it held a lot of promise from the few things we did hear about it. I’m especially sad for the employees of the studio and wish them all the best in their next phase. Thought Visceral hasn’t produced much recently, I don’t think I’ll ever forget their work on the Dead Space franchise, where they actually got me to pick up and play a scary game, something that I don’t typically do.

Fare thee well Visceral Games. You will be missed.

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Is the Force Strong With Star Wars Battlefront 2?

When EA announced Star Wars Battlefront a few years ago, I was very happy to see the franchise making a comeback. I spent a lot of time playing the old Pandemic Studios games back in the day, creating countless memories with friends. Staying up late, or skipping a class to play one more round was a common theme in my college dorm.

While the spirit of the franchise was there, unfortunately, DICE’s first attempt rang somewhat hollow. The team nailed the visuals and sound but the gameplay felt uninspired and boring. It was missing that spark which hooked my friends and I back in the day. With Battlefront 2, you can see that DICE took the feedback to heart, rectifying many things that didn’t sit well with fans. Chief among them is a new single-player, story-driven campaign, as well as finally including all three Star Wars eras into the multiplayer.

Thankfully, fans got a taste of what DICE has planned thanks to a beta test that happened earlier this month. After letting my thoughts stew for a couple weeks, here’s what I thought of the experience.

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Sunday Video Round Up: October 8 -14

I don’t know, I found last week’s Sunday Video Round up to be pretty nice, so I’m doing it twice!

In all honesty here, there’s been plenty of times where my posting of this article on a Saturday morning has resulted in me missing a few videos released on Saturday. Though in the grand scheme of things, it’s not a big deal, it’s never quite sat well with me, especially because I include the date in the title. So, I’ve decided to move the Round Up to Sunday. Other than the day change, everything you know and love is still in full effect. So without any more delay, here’s a preview of the full post.

Well, we’re deep into October at this point and for many that means it’s time to bust out the scary games. Bethesda has you covered with The Evil Within 2, which launched this past Friday, so if you want to see if this could be the game to put some fright into your life, check out the launch trailer below.

We’re also only a couple of weeks away from Super Mario Odyssey. While Nintendo has given us a ton of great trailers over the past few months, they’re doing something a little differently this week. If you want to see Mario in a way you never have, you’re gonna want to see the latest Nintendo video below.

I’ve also got new videos for Assassin’s Creed Origins, Overwatch DLC, Horizon Zero Dawn: The Frozen Wilds, and so much more after the break, so come check out this week’s batch of trailers!

The full list of videos awaits you after the jump…

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Battle Chasers: Nightwar Impressions – What Once Was Old, Is New Again

This one has been a long time coming.

Ever since I first heard about Battle Chasers: Nightwar through its Kickstarter campaign, I’ve been a fan. What initially drew me in what its interesting visual style and unique soundtrack, but things went a whole lot deeper when I found out that it’s a game being developed by Joe Madureira and many former Vigil Games employees at the new development studio, Airship Syndicate.

So for those who don’t know, Battle Chasers isn’t a new concept or IP. It’s actually a popular comic book series developed by Joe Mad back in the late 90s. For whatever reason, the series came to an abrupt end after only 9 issues in 2001, leaving fans wanting more after a big cliffhanger. It’s been a long wait, but the series is finally making a comeback and the first wave of reintroducing the gang is through this game.

Now, I’m sure hearing Joe Mad and Vigil in the same sentence automatically makes you think of Darksiders, and I can’t blame you. However, check those ideas at the door because Battle Chasers is a pure RPG experience, evoking many elements from old-school turn-based RPGs like Final Fantasy. Gunfire Games, the other half of the former Vigil Games, has you covered with Darksiders 3 in 2018.

After almost 10 hours in the game, is it everything I was hoping for?

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Sunday Video Round Up: October 1 – 7

Yes, I’m a little late with the Round Up this week. Better late than never right?

Welcome to a new edition of the Saturday Sunday Video Round Up! As I do every week, I’ve gathered all of the biggest videos and gameplay trailers from the past seven days. So kick those feet up, crank that volume and enjoy. Here’s only a few of the games waiting for you below the jump.

With every trailer I see, the more in awe I am of Super Mario Odyssey, and I don’t even own a Switch! First party games from Nintendo always have a certain air of quality about them, but the level of detail, effort, and care that has been put into this game is evident. There’s a new 5 minute trailer waiting for you below, you know, if you need another reason to buy this game.

With Middle-earth: Shadow of War arriving in a couple days, Monolith is getting everyone up to speed with a 5 minute 101 trailer featuring everyone’s favorite murderous orc, Bruz. So join up with the star of this year’s E3 as he takes you through all of the things you need to know before the game hits store shelves.

I’ve also got new videos for Assassin’s Creed Origins, Injustice 2 DLC, Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition, and so much more after the break, so come check out this week’s batch of trailers!

The full list of videos awaits you after the jump…

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Now Arriving: Games of October 2017

We’re in the heart of the major release cycle now! In my opinion, October is the midway point of the fall games rush, so I hope you’re hanging in there because it’s only going to get crazier from here.

After a two month delay, the highly anticipated follow up to the wonderful Shadow of Mordor is finally here. Middle-earth: Shadow of War continues the journey of Talion, who is building a sizable army to combat the dark forces of Sauron. With a retooled Nemesis system, it looks like Monolith took the best aspects of the first game and completely built this new game on top of that already rock solid foundation.

Don’t look now but October 27 is going to be a nightmare day for those of you who enjoy great games but don’t have a ton of time to play. Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus, Super Mario Odyssey, and Assassin’s Creed Origins all release on the same day, which is never a good thing for those tracking sales.

All look spectacular and they’re all likely going to cannibalize each other. Well, except Mario because lets be honest, Mario games do well no matter what. In all seriousness though, I do hope all three games live up to expectations because all three of them really look well made and fun.

October is a massive release month so make sure to check down after the break for the complete October release schedule. There’s absolutely something for everyone this month.

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Saturday Video Round Up: Sept 24 – 30

I don’t know about you, but September seemed to fly by. As we head into the VERY busy month of October, there’s a lot of videos that we need to get to as well. Thankfully it’s Saturday which means the Round Up is back in action, collecting all of the top trailers and gameplay from this past week. Here’s a small sample of everything waiting for you below the jump.

So the biggest trailer from the previous week came from Rockstar for none other than Red Dead Redemption 2. Frankly, I’m shocked that we’ve heard next to nothing about this game since it was officially confirmed last year (even through leaks) and that Rockstar has been super secretive about it. While this second trailer is still pretty short, it at least gives us some story elements and characters interacting this time around. Hopefully, we’ll be seeing more on this game much more often over the coming months.

As I mentioned earlier this week, Star Wars Battlefront 2 made a very strong impression with a trailer showing off all of the content fans can expect on day one. Needless to say, DICE appears to have learned their lesson. Not only that, a three minute single player campaign trailer does a fantastic job showing some intrigue on the plot of the story.

I’ve also got new videos for Assassin’s Creed Origins, God of War, Resident Evil 7, and so much more after the break, so come check out this week’s batch of trailers!

The full list of videos awaits you after the jump…

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