In a surprising turn of events, Blizzard Entertainment’s undisclosed survival game, which had been in development for over six years, has been abruptly cancelled. The decision follows Microsoft’s recent announcement of substantial layoffs within its gaming divisions. The unannounced project, tentatively known as Odyssey, had been officially revealed to the public only in January 2022, but its roots can be traced back to July 2017, according to Craig Amai, the project’s director.
Despite the extensive development period, marked by increased hiring in the 2021-2023 timeframe, Microsoft’s sweeping layoffs have put an end to Blizzard’s ambitious venture. The move is expected to disappoint a legion of fans eagerly anticipating the release of the survival game.
The cancellation came to light as part of Microsoft’s broader restructuring efforts, leading to significant layoffs. Matt Booty, Microsoft’s president of game content and studios, mentioned that some displaced staff from Blizzard would be redirected to other undisclosed projects at Blizzard still in early stages. However, this reallocation does not extend to everyone, as around 1,900 employees across Microsoft’s gaming divisions are slated for layoffs.
Industry insider Jason Schreier provided further insights, describing the cancelled project, Odyssey, as “many years away” from completion. This revelation contradicts recent speculations among fans, who believed the survival game was nearing completion. The prolonged development cycle, spanning over six years, has led to suggestions that Blizzard’s project might have been trapped in a state of development hell.
Blizzard’s continued hiring for the survival game throughout 2023 adds a layer of complexity to the situation. Despite agreeing to Microsoft’s acquisition and allowing the company to scrutinize its operations during due diligence, the decision to cancel the project appears to have caught both the team and industry observers off guard.
This marks the second cancellation of a high-profile AAA project in recent months. In December, Naughty Dog announced the cancellation of The Last of Us multiplayer game after years of development, citing a reluctance to commit to long-term support for a live service experience.
The unexpected termination of Blizzard’s survival game raises questions about the impact of corporate mergers and acquisitions on ongoing projects. While layoffs are a common consequence of such deals, the cancellation of a major project post-acquisition is less typical. The move prompts speculation about the internal dynamics at Blizzard and the factors that led to this sudden decision.
As the gaming community grapples with this setback, industry analysts are closely monitoring the fallout and its potential implications for Blizzard’s future projects. The cancellation of Odyssey serves as a reminder of the uncertainties within the gaming industry, even for well-established studios. Blizzard enthusiasts and industry stakeholders alike await further developments and official statements from the parties involved.
In conclusion, the cancellation of Blizzard’s long-in-development survival game, Odyssey, has sent shockwaves through the gaming community. The reasons behind the decision, coupled with Microsoft’s broader layoffs, highlight the complex challenges faced by major gaming companies in an ever-evolving industry. As the fallout from this cancellation unfolds, it prompts reflection on the future trajectory of Blizzard Entertainment and the gaming landscape as a whole.