EA cans Dead Space series following poor sales of Dead Space 3 - report

UPDATE: EA accuses VideoGamer of fabricating the story. VG denies allegations, says it gave EA a chance to comment prior to publishing.

Update 2: EA has accused VideoGamer of fabricating its Dead Space story, but the media outlet isn't taking these allegations lightly and claims that EA knew about the story in advance and was given an opportunity to deny it prior to publication, but for whatever reason, didn't.

VideoGamer has a detailed account of its correspondence with EA prior to publishing the piece.

But first, the accusations. Chief Operating Officer Peter Moore left a comment on a GamesIndustry report regarding the whole affair.

"Standard, shoddy website journalism recipe, born out of a desperate need to increase click-thru rates to support advertising revenue," he wrote. "Fabricate a story using an 'unnamed source,' post it first thing in the morning, add the letters 'EA' to the story (oh, and link it to micro-transactions - always a fan favourite) and then stand back and enjoy the vitriol which you turn into revenue. Rinse and repeat..."

He then added, "My comments were fairly and squarely aimed at Videogamer. My issue is not the rejection of community feedback (we get that in bucketloads all day long and we learn from it in real time), rather it was the fabrication of a story in order to generate controversy and ultimately readership."

Ouch! Those are some serious accusations to level at someone. In case there was any doubt about the commenter's identity, Kotaku verified that this was in fact Peter Moore and not some impostor.

VideoGamer responded to these allegations by stating that it went through all the proper channels before publishing the story and EA went from refusing to comment on rumours to calling them liars.

In a recent statement, VideoGamer maintained that it acquired its information from "a trusted source: an individual whose identity we agreed to protect, but whose background and statements gave us valid reason to trust their claims." Upon receiving its intel it followed up with EA Monday afternoon to inquire about its validity.

EA UK asked VideoGamer if it could hold the story until Tuesday while it checked in with its US team to coordinate a response. VideoGamer reluctantly agreed to postpone publishing the story for another day.

The next day EA responded claiming that it "does not comment on rumour and speculation." It's a standard response that doesn't confirm or deny anything. With that out of the way, VideoGamer decided it was time to publish its scoop.

Within a few hours Gamasutra and Gamespot claimed to have received a statement from EA claiming the VideoGamer story was "patently false." So the question remains, why didn't EA deny them in the first place, ya know, before VideoGamer published them?

VideoGamer, understandably upset by this switcharoo, followed up with EA UK who claimed to have no knowledge of where the "patently false" quote came from. After some back and forth it was discovered that EA's Corporate Comms team had sent that statement to media outlets upon request.

Of course this doesn't account for other public figures like Peter Moore and EA creative director Ian Milham calling shenanigans on the story (see the previous update).

VideoGamer concluded with the following statement:

"VideoGamer.com would never publish information from a source whose identity could not be verified, or that we do not believe to be accurate. We carried out internal checks to verify the validity of the comments made by our source - and while we have a duty of care to protect their identity - we stand by the comments made in the original story.

"We would also like to reiterate that we ran the story in good faith, taking the necessary steps with both EA and our source to ensure that the story was as accurate, fair, and well-represented as possible.

"We find it perplexing as to why EA changed its stance on its decision not to comment on rumours and speculation, 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."

UPDATE: Dino Ignacio, UI Lead at Dead Space developer Visceral Games, has denied today's story about the end of the Dead Space series.

"The reports of our death were greatly exaggerated," he tweeted. "Please stand by."

Ian Milham, creative director at EA and ex-art director on Dead Space, also took to Twitter to deny the story.

"Almost nothing in that article is true," he wrote. Then, in response to a question on Twitter: "I confirm nothing except the hooey in that story."

EA's US PR team has reportedly called the VideoGamer.com report "patently false".

"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," an EA spokesperson told Eurogamer.

ORIGINAL STORY: EA has canned the Dead Space series, according to a new report.

Development on Dead Space 4 was ceased after lower than expected sales of Dead Space 3, a source told VideoGamer.com.

The game had been in pre-production at Visceral Games and Visceral Montreal. The latter was reportedly closed after a restructuring.

EA declined to comment when contacted by Eurogamer this morning.

Last month EA Games Label boss Frank Gibeau confirmed layoffs at EA's Los Angeles and Montreal developers. EA has gone on the record to say its core game franchises need to sell upwards of five million copies to remain viable.

It seems Dead Space 3 suffered a somewhat troubled development. According to the report, weapon-specific ammo was switched for generic ammo late in the day to accommodate the game's controversial micro-transactions, and developer Visceral were ordered to take the series into a more action-focused direction in order to emulate BioWare's Mass Effect franchise and broaden its appeal.

Dead Space 3 topped the UK all-format chart upon release, albeit with 26.6 per cent fewer sales than its predecessor. Dead Space 2 launched two years ago in a similar post-Christmas slot.

It seems EA has undergone something of a rethink across the board in recent weeks. Overnight it emerged that Dragon Age: Legends developer BioWare San Francisco had shut down, with all staff let go.

In January EA confirmed the retirement of the Medal of Honor brand after Medal of Honor: Warfighter flopped.

EA is still in the process of promoting Dead Space 3 downloadable content, including an expansion called Awakened.

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