- Blizzard’s unannounced survival game, which had been in development for over half a decade, has been canceled.
- The move was revealed as part of Microsoft’s newly announced layoffs looking to eliminate around 1,900 positions across its gaming divisions.
- Even so, the game was plausibly canceled primarily because its development was moving at a glacial pace, with one insider reporting it was still years away from release.
Blizzard‘s unannounced survival game has been canceled after spending more than half a decade in development. The move, which is bound to disappoint many of the company’s fans, stems from Microsoft’s massive layoffs that were disclosed earlier today.
Although Blizzard’s survival game was only officially announced in January 2022, it is believed to have been in the pipeline for much longer than that. According to the LinkedIn profile of its director, Craig Amai, the project started development in July 2017, six and a half years ago. A good chunk of that time was ostensibly spent in pre-production, but an uptick in the company’s hiring for the game suggested that the work on the mysterious title has been ramping up in the 2021-2023 period.
Blizzard Needs to Figure Out Its Current IPs Before Creating a New One
Blizzard is hard at work on a brand-new survival IP, but it should really consider fixing its current IPs before moving onto something new.
Despite those efforts, the newly emerged report of the large-scale layoffs at Microsoft’s gaming divisions reveals that Blizzard’s long-running project has been canceled. Matt Booty, Microsoft’s president of game content and studios, was quoted as saying that some of the staff will be transferred to other unannounced Blizzard games that are presently in early stages of development. Everyone else will join the list of approximately 1,900 employees that Microsoft now plans to lay off across its gaming divisions. Industry insider Jason Schreier subsequently clarified that the project, code-named Odyssey, was “many years away” from completion.
Blizzard’s Unannounced Survival Game Was Possibly in Development Hell for a While Now
That revelation runs contrary to some of the recent fan speculation that Blizzard’s survival game was nearing the finish line. Although AAA development cycles have been growing longer on a generational basis, six and a half years is still an uncharacteristically long time for such a project, and one that implies Blizzard’s survival game might have been going through development hell.
Odyssey was many years away from being done.
While big-business M&A deals often lead to the kind of redundancies that Microsoft has just announced, that is not to say that Odyssey’s cancellation was expected; Blizzard was clearly still hiring staff for its survival game throughout 2023, well after it had agreed to the Microsoft acquisition and allowed the company to review its operations as part of its due diligence. In light of that activity, it is possible that the decision to axe the project even came as a surprise to its team, never mind industry watchers.
This turn of events marks the second AAA project cancellation in just as many months. The first one was announced back in mid-December, when Naughty Dog canceled The Last of Us multiplayer game following years of development, citing unwillingness to commit to supporting such a live service experience in the long term.