Following the recent controversy surrounding the closure of Visceral Studios by Electronic Arts, and the changes made to the upcoming Star Wars title, a new tweet from God of War director Cory Barlog holds an important message for gamers and developers alike. Now that Visceral’s Star Wars game is changing from a linear action-adventure title to a “broader experience that allows for more variety and player agency,” fans all around the world are discussing what this change means for the upcoming game.
According to the acclaimed God of War director, a linear experience in a video game is not necessarily a negative feature. For an industry that appears to be heading increasingly more online-only, games that limit players to a standalone experience such as The Last of Us or Final Fantasy XIII can be a breath of fresh air.
I love linear single player games. Saddens me when the word linear is considered a bad thing. You can have agency in a linear story game.
— Cory Barlog (@corybarlog) October 18, 2017
In the past, Barlog himself has described God of War as a tour bus from which it is possible to step down and explore locations, before getting back on and enjoying the continuation of the ride. Considering the success of the franchise’s past launches, it’s hardly surprising to learn that EA’s stock prices have dropped significantly since yesterday’s announcement was made.
The upcoming God of War will be making big changes from previous releases, but the core gameplay will be similar in many ways. From what we can see, the heavily upgraded game will feature stunning graphics, a fresh story, and new mechanics, but at its heart, the game is still very much a God of War title. Had Sony Santa Monica Studios opted to make the game a less linear experience, the feedback might have been as negative as with EA’s decision, though we can’t say for sure whether or not this outrage would be warranted.
We will have to wait and see what this new development means for the incredibly highly-anticipated Star Wars game, but EA Vancouver has certainly got its work cut out for it now that Visceral’s original idea has been axed. Since the title is no longer a story-based experience, it’s going to be interesting to see which direction the new developer takes the experience in – but die-hard Visceral fans might be significantly more difficult to win over than the average player.