Last week I shared, with an ample audience of like 100 unique viewers, an opinion article on a comparatively niche game that is Forza Motorsport 7. It seems lately that publishers all share an innate desire to destroy that which they consume as Electronic Arts recently announced they have shut down Visceral Games. That shouldn't come as a shock to anyone as their list of lives destroyed is rivaled only by the Clintons. What should shock people however is the new patent filed by Activision that is just... so special. Anyway, we will get to that, which you can skip to by clicking here, but first a moment of silence and celebration for Visceral.
Actual footage of EA not finding enough money in Visceral’s end of year reports.
Visceral Games was founded back in 1998 by EA under the name EA Redwood Shores, cleverly named for being located in Redwood Shores, CA. Visceral is best known for creating the groundbreaking and incredibly popular series, Dead Space. Unfortunately for Visceral, because of that it was fucked from the very beginning. The only thing more certainly headed for execution than an outfit owned by EA are Hands of the King for House Lannister. But Visceral had another glaring issue, its chosen genre. Horror games are always a tough sell and rarely do they captivate the mainstream. Plus, EA has a certain number in mind when it comes to considering something a success, and it begins with ‘M.’
Pictured: Andrew Wilson, CEO of Electronic Arts
So Visceral basically scrolled through the start menu of EA's Dark Souls and selected Ultra Nightmare (I know that's a Doom setting but a bunch of plus signs didn't read well). To their credit however, Visceral killed it, selling over one million copies of the original Dead Space. Needless to say, EA was salivating, but in a wonderfully naive display of business acumen, EA drew back the slide on their javelin gun, aimed it firmly at their foot, and squeezed. They poured $60 million dollars into Dead Space 2's development only to see a return of just 4 million sales. Now that's roughly around $200 million dollars so it would seem like a smash hit, but after they factored in advertising and platform costs, EA was not pleased. You see, EA had already purchased a little studio called BioWare, and about two months after Dead Space 2 was released, BioWare dropped Mass Effect 2. With a budget of only $40 million, Mass Effect 2 managed to pump out 7 million copies in 3 months. Savage.
Don't help the situation, just capture the moment
Visceral was given just a bit more rope to hang themselves with, and promptly did so when Dead Space 3 sold only 605,000 copies; at least it did better than Crysis 3. EA was dragging Visceral behind the shed when I imagine the two locked eyes for a moment and EA trembled at thought of killing one of its own. What's more likely, Visceral probably came up with some last-minute plea that involved promises of money, either way, EA lowered their rifle and let them live a little while longer. However, rather than allow Visceral to work on linear single-player stories like they were good at, EA threw them on to what only a completely coked out executive would think would be a sure thing.
Once the plot and design vision for this game was received the office Xerox at Visceral must have run dry from everyone printing their resumes. To give you an idea of expectations, Battlefield 3 sold 17.3 million copies in its life time and Battlefield 4 sold approximately 14.1 million. EA was sure to expect similar figures from what was described as Cops vs. Robbers in the streets of LA, but at only 4.2 million sales, EA was furious and embarrassed. EA claimed Visceral would be assisting with the development of the Battlefront series but the likely constant reminder of related failures starting with ‘battle’ was just too great a strain. And thus, ended the life of Visceral Games on October 17, 2017.
EA has decided that there simply isn't enough money to be made at single player games any more. It has tasted the blood of screeching multiplayer mayhem, topped with loot boxes and microtransactions, and it never wants to go back. Beating them to the punch however, it seems Activision took offense to someone, somewhere, possibly thinking they might have a soul and wants to prove that isn't true. And while no one has an issue watching a 44-minute YouTube video on this stuff, printed 9media over a thousand words doesn't seem to fair well. So, if you'd like to continue reading my nonsense, click here. If you are here just to pay your respects to Visceral, thank you for coming as well as for your thoughts and prayers. Let's not wait to see each other again until the next (probably BioWare's) funeral.
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