VideoGamer.com published a report on Tuesday that claimed the unannounced Dead Space 4 has been cancelled due to Dead Space 3’s poor sales performance. Dead Space publisher Electronic Arts denies the claim, telling other outlets, “These rumours are patently false.”
“As someone with a little more knowledge about this than the average person,” wrote a Kotaku commenter, who the site believes to work at Visceral, “I’m just going to say, I laughed out loud at how comically inaccurate that this story was.”
VideoGamer.com released a statement, standing behind its story and chronicling its correspondence with EA before the report went live. “The information was provided to us by a trusted source: an individual whose identity we agreed to protect,” the statement reads, “but whose background and statements gave us valid reason to trust their claims.” VideoGamer.com agreed to hold the report overnight as it waited for an official response from EA. According to the website, EA said, “it does not comment on rumour and speculation.”
Following the story’s publication, EA began releasing statements to other outlets that denied the report. One of which read, “These rumours are patently false. While we have not released sales data for Dead Space 3, we are proud of the game and it continues to be an important IP to EA. Appreciate your help bringing down this baseless rumour.”
“We find it perplexing as to why EA changed its stance on its decision not to comment on rumours and speculation,” the VideoGamer.com statement reads, “especially given the opportunities that the publisher had to clarify the situation before and after VideoGamer.com published the story. We firmly deny any accusations of fabrication on our part.”
According to VideoGamer.com’s source, Visceral Montreal, who are responsible for the upcoming third-person shooter Army of Two: The Devil’s Cartel, were “allegedly tasked with developing prototypes and mock-ups for the title, and collaborating on ideas for the game’s narrative,” but were informed by EA executives that the project had been cancelled.
In February, EA laid off “a small number,” of employees, according to a statement given to Kotaku. EA Games Labels President Frank Gibeau confirmed in a post on the company’s website that the layoffs affected Visceral Montreal.
Both Kotaku and Game Informer report that the studio has been shutdown.
The VideoGamer.com report said that EA “advised Visceral that Dead Space 3 needed to appeal to a wider audience than the series’ previous two titles,” and that “the studio was reportedly told to focus on action over horror in an effort to make the game feel more like BioWare’s Mass Effect.”
“In general we’re thinking about how we make this a more broadly appealing franchise,” Gibeau told CVG regarding Dead Space 3 last June, “because ultimately you need to get to audience sizes of around five million to really continue to invest in an IP like Dead Space. Anything less than that and it becomes quite difficult financially given how expensive it is to make games and market them.”