Blizzard Entertainment’s survival game, which it informally announced in 2022, was reportedly canceled over engine issues during its six years of development, according to a new Bloomberg report. This report follows yesterday’s news that Microsoft is laying off 1,900 employees across its Xbox, Activision Blizzard, and ZeniMax divisions. Alongside this news, Blizzard president Mike Ybarra also announced he was departing from the company, and we learned the aforementioned survival game had been canceled.
However, Blizzard didn’t really touch on why the game it had just announced exactly two years prior was canceled. Bloomberg’s new report details development struggles around the game’s engine, which was prototyped using Epic Games’ Unreal Engine before “Blizzard executives decided to switch, in part, because it wouldn’t support their ambitions for vast maps supporting up to 100 players at once.”
The team behind this game, which Bloomberg says was called Odyssey, switched to Synapse, an in-house engine Blizzard originally developed for mobile games and “envisioned as something that would be shared across many of its projects.”
This reportedly led to significant problems in Odyssey’s development. When Microsoft acquired Activision Blizzard last year for a colossal $69 billion, the team had apparently hoped their new owners would allow it to switch back to Unreal Engine. However, that switch didn’t happen.
Bloomberg notes that despite engine struggles, the game’s development made progress, with people who played early versions of it enjoying it, remarking on its potential in a landscape where survival games are as popular as they are. Just this week, Early Access ‘Pokémon With Guns” survival game Palworld crossed 8 million copies sold on Steam in just six days, and those numbers don’t include players playing through Xbox and PC Game Pass.
Blizzard was reportedly looking to expand the Odyssey team in an effort to target a 2026 release year for the survival game, but Bloomberg reports “even that seemed overly optimistic to some developers.” And now, as we officially know, development has concluded and the once exciting Blizzard game canceled.
Be sure to read the full Bloomberg report for even more details.
For more, read about Microsoft’s heartbreaking layoffs from yesterday, which have left 1,900 people jobless. At just 26 days into 2024, there have been more than 5,500 layoffs, which is more than half of the total layoffs of 2023.
How do you feel about Blizzard canceling this survival game? Let us know in the comments below!