In the wake of under-performing sales of Dead Space 3, Electronic Arts has ceased investing in the series' forth main instalment that had been in pre-production at Visceral Montreal, a new report claims.
Dead Space 4 was axed in February after its predecessor failed to meet its sales targets, according to a new report published by VideoGamer.
[Update: A US based representative for Electronic Arts has claimed that the rumour regarding Dead Space 4 is not true. A British representative initially declined to comment when approached by VideoGamer. EA has not fully disclosed whether or not it has closed the Visceral Montreal studio.
Meanwhile, Dino Ignacio, a UI lead at Visceral Games, has denied the rumour on his personal Twitter account.
The reports of our death were greatly exaggerated. Please stand by.— Dino Ignacio (@DinoIgnacio) March 5, 2013
Meanwhile, a representative for the company told CVG: "While we have not announced sales for Dead Space 3, we are proud of the game and the franchise remains an important IP to EA." Update ends]
A source familiar with the matter, who wished to speak on the condition of anonymity, said that a small team at Visceral Montreal were working on various prototypes and brainstorming ideas for Dead Space 4.
Yet according to the VideoGamer report, EA executives brought an abrupt end to production after "visiting Visceral Montreal to inform staff that the project had been terminated and announce details of the company's restructuring".
Electronic Arts declined to comment.
Late in February, EA Labels boss Frank Gibeau confirmed that the company had laid off staff across its Los Angeles and Montreal studios. He did not specify a number, though some media reports suggested that the entire Visceral studio had been emptied.
Last year, EA Labels president Frank Gibeau suggested that Dead Space 3 would need to sell around five million copies in order for the series to continue.
"In general we're thinking about how we make this a more broadly appealing franchise," Gibeau told CVG, "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."
Dead Space 3 managed to debut at number one in the UK but sales were down 27 per cent compared to the game's predecessor.