Kotaku’s ‘Jason Schreier’ has reported that Blizzard has cancelled a first-person shooter that was in the works, based on the long-running StarCraft RTS franchise. On the cancellation, Blizzard issued the following statement:
“We always make decisions about these things, regardless of the ultimate outcome or how things might be interpreted, based on our values, what we believe makes sense for Blizzard, and what we hope our players will enjoy the most.”
It’s unclear exactly why this new game was cancelled, but it’s causing red flags for some folks in the industry, and we can make guesses as to what their plan is.
Those you really paying attention to the history of Blizzard and StarCraft may remember that this isn’t the first time a shooter in the iconic RTS property has ran into problems. StarCraft: Ghost was a third-person stealth shooter that was announced on September 20, 2002 for the PS2, Gamecube and Xbox. That title was plagued by production issues, being consistently pushed back until ultimately being cancelled in 2006. And though the project never made it to release, it did seem to curse the idea of a full-fledged StarCraft off-shoot.
Blizzard likely wants to retask the teams working on this unknown title onto other projects. Those projects are reportedly a sequel to Overwatch and Diablo 4, which Blizzard considers higher priority. And given how much fans hated the reveal of Diablo: Immortal, it seems like the company is really cautious about further angering gamers.
This does send some alarming signals for gamers and the wider industry about the state of the goings-on at Blizzard. Activision-Blizzard has dropped hundreds of jobs over the last few months. The company has effectively “sunsetted” Heroes of the Storm, committing very much to a pivot towards their most popular series’. A pivot that has angered a lot of people, and is contributing to executive “brain drain”.
Blizzard has not made a new game in three years now, and despite great revenues from their online properties, the mega-publisher is gearing up for a longer period of no releases. And while it’s very unlikely that the company runs out of money in the next couple of years before their next major release happens, fans are still concerned.