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from the L.A. Times

Electronic Arts' Visceral studio loses leaders; unit is making Jack the Ripper game

Mitre Square London
Mitre Square, London, where one of Jack the Ripper's victims was found. Credit: Whistling in the Dark via Flickr.

The two top game creators at Electronics Arts Inc.'s studio in Redwood Shores, Calif., which was recently named Visceral Games, have bolted to competitor Activision Blizzard Inc.

Glen Schofield, the head of Visceral who also served as creative director on last fall's Dead Space, and Michael Condry, the studio's chief operating officer, will head up a new Northern California studio that Activision is opening in San Mateo, Calif.

An EA spokeswoman confirmed the departure, which was first reported on GameSpot. She added that the team at Visceral, which specializes in third-person action-adventure games, will continue work on upcoming titles Dante's Inferno and Dead Space: Extraction, as well as new unannounced titles.

Although she declined to elaborate, two sources close to EA told The Times that Visceral's next game would be Jack the Ripper, based on the 19th century British serial killer. It's not clear what the game would involve, but it's a natural follow-up of sorts to Dante's Inferno, which is also based on copyright-free historical material.

Dante's Inferno is scheduled to come out in the winter, meaning Jack the Ripper probably won't be released until late 2010 or 2011.

EA needn't worry about the departing developers ripping off Jack the Ripper. An Activision representative told GameSpot that its new studio would be working on a game based on one of the publisher's existing franchises.

-- Ben Fritz

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