The closure of Visceral Games and the re-speccing of its Star Wars project by EA has been interpreted in some corners of the Internet as a sign that traditional single player campaigns are being discarded in favour of "games as service" shared-world experiences.
However, a new longform expose from Kotaku's Jason Schreier shows that the title was in trouble for many years and for many reasons.
Codenamed "Ragtag", the game was to be a Star Wars take on Uncharted, written and directed by Amy Hennig.
Schreier spoke with nearly a dozen former Visceral employees who worked on Ragtag, and reckons it was sunk by many factors, including "a lack of resources, a vision that was too ambitious for its budget, a difficult game engine, a director who clashed with staff, a studio located in one of the most expensive cities in the world, a reputation for toxicity, multiple conflicts between Visceral and EA, and what can only be described as the curse of Star Wars".
“Honestly, it was a mercy killing,” said one former Visceral employee.
“It had nothing to do with whether it was gonna be single player. I don’t think it had anything to do with that. That game never could’ve been good and come out.”
The whole piece is well worth a read, and only serves to reinforce the idea that games are extremely difficult to make – even when you are a big-budget studio.