A week ago EA closed Visceral Games, the creators of Dead Space, primarily because their Uncharted-style Star Wars game (made with Uncharted writer Amy Hennig) was set to be a "story-driven, linear adventure game" and not an online experience players could go back to.
Now ex-Visceral designer Zach Wilson has come out in support of EA's decision to move away from single-player-only games and towards "Games as a Service", where the only games made require players to go back to them time and time again rather than focusing on a single story.
Zach Wilson said this in an interview with GamesIndustry.biz. He referred to comments made by EA's Patrick Soderlund on why Visceral was closed, describing their Star Wars title as a "story-based, linear adventure game" and that after "tracking fundamental shifts in the marketplace" and talking to certain gamers "about what and how they want to play" they wanted to focus on games that players "want to come back to and enjoy for a long time to come". This echoes EA's 'Games as a Service' requirement they've been championing for a while.
Wilson, who was Senior Level Designer on Battlefield: Hardline for Visceral and is now a shareholder at EA, agreed with Soderlund. "Current market trends suggest that this is the case. I expect publicly-traded publishers to follow market trends to maximise their profits. As a current shareholder in EA, I support this."
He was saddened to hear of the closure of Visceral Games, but does seem somewhat glib about the chances of the studio making another good game.
"I have a lot of really good friends there that were spectacularly talented, and Dead Space 2 is one of my all time favourite games. We'll always have Dead Space 2, but there was a lightning in a bottle there that will never be recaptured. It's the same with a lot of the greatest games; they're just a moment in time where the stars aligned and everything came together. I'm proud of Battlefield Hardline and proud to share in the legacy of Visceral games."
However, he does seem confident that the single-player game will survive, if not at EA. ""The assertion that single-player linear games are going to disappear is totally absurd. EA might not be the company that carries that torch, but there are so many groups out there that are passionate about this kind of game that they won't go away. Personally I'd like to see fewer games with higher quality across the board, which is probably what will happen."
It'll be interesting to see how well Wolfenstein: The New Colossus, with it's total lack of online elements, does this week. Do you guys agree with Zach Wilson, or are you sad and/or angry at the seeming move away from single-player-only story-driven games? Let us know below.