Game director Amy Hennig rose to prominence from her work with titles like Jak and Daxter, Legacy of Kain, and Uncharted, but it was during her time Visceral Games where she was attached to the biggest intellectual property of them all: Star Wars. Development had been underway for at least 3 years when Electronic Arts decided to shut down Visceral Games back in October, prompting gamers to speculate that the direction of the Star Wars project headed by Hennig would be in for significant changes. It was unclear whether Amy was still with Electronic Arts following the shuttering of Visceral, and a recent interview at a Gamelab event in Barcelona has finally shone light on the American game director’s current status.
As it turns out, Hennig actually left EA back in January 2018, but kept her status quiet while she worked on her next project. Despite the termination of employment, Hennig states that there is no ill will between her and the executive team at Electronic Arts. This year it came to light that the EA executives thought Visceral’s Star Wars title was far too linear, which has a fair twang of irony given that in 2015 EA released a Star Wars title entirely without a campaign. Still, Hennig has certainly taken everything in stride:
I have not worked at EA since January, technically, legally. Yes. This is the problem, it was hard enough for them, but people were immediately asking them ‘is Amy working with you?’ and the answer was ‘well, we’re in negotiations…’ like, hmm. It was, sort of the soft pedal answer. I get along with all those people, I consider even the guys on the exec team friends. But it made it awkward because it was like, ‘I never got the chance to announce that I’m not at EA so I need to just pull off that band-aid at some point – but also had nothing to announce. It makes it sound like I just went home! But I’m doing all this stuff, working on all kinds of things.
Hennig then proceeds to explain that she has since founded her own independent game studio and is currently consulting with members of the gaming industry. She expects to field a staff of around 6-8 (but admits it could go to 15 at a maximum) and will continue with as-yet-unannounced projects. She has a particular interest in virtual reality, stating that she’s been consulting with some VR companies and putting in research on her own end. Hennig didn’t give any hints on what genre the inaugural indie game for her studio will be, though it seems like a VR title is a moderately safe bet for the time being.
In regards to EA Vancouver, Hennig goes on to say that the her prior Star Wars project has been shelved indefinitely. She then explains that the studio there is working on something entirely different:
Y’know, once you go more open world it’s such a different game to the one we were making. Everybody loved what we were doing and I’d love to see us resurrect that somehow, but it’s complicated.
Given that Amy Hennig has yet to fill the roster for her studio – or give it a title – it’s likely going to be a few years before gamers get to see what independent title she and her eventual crew will develop. Given that EA Vancouver has moved on to new pastures as well, Hennig’s new project will likely see the light of day before her ill-fated Star Wars project, which was reportedly a lot like Uncharted.