Blizzard Entertainment has canceled a new game that was in development for at least two years. Developer David Gibson, who was a senior animator on Overwatch, started working on a mysterious unannounced Blizzard project in July 2017, according to his LinkedIn page. He worked on this game for about two years before announcing his departure from Blizzard this week, revealing that the game has been canned.
Reports have now suggested this was a StarCraft shooter–more on that below–but whatever the case, it’s no longer happening. “Unfortunately, you’ll never see what we made over the past two years–that’s [game development],” he said on Twitter.
Game development is a highly iterative, fluid process. It is not uncommon for projects to get canceled midway through development, for a variety of reasons. Gibson did not offer any specifics on why this project was seemingly axed or if his departure from Blizzard is related.
[Update: A new report from Kotaku suggests the canceled game was a Starcraft first-person shooter. According to the site, the move was made so that Blizzard could focus its efforts on Diablo 4 and Overwatch 2. The studio also shared a statement in which it appears to confirm the cancelation in broad terms that discuss its general approach to game development. You can read it in full at the bottom of this post]
According to Blizzard executive producer Allen Adham, roughly 50 percent of Blizzard’s games are canceled before release. “The truth is, behind the curtain, it’s a horror show. But most people outside of Blizzard don’t realize around half of our titles don’t see the light of day,” he explained to Game Informer. “So, people who think we’re a consistent company, we’re only consistent in that we only release the really amazing games.”
GameSpot has contacted Blizzard in an attempt to get more details; its response can be read below.
Gibson didn’t say if he was let go or if he is leaving voluntarily. Whatever the case, Gibson says he has already lined up a new gig.
Blizzard’s new president, J. Allen Brack, has said that Blizzard currently has more projects in development than ever before in the company’s history. It seems it has one fewer now. Recently, Brack teased that Blizzard might be working on some kind of Overwatch spinoff or sequel.
If Blizzard does have new projects to announce, that could happen at the BlizzCon 2019 event in November. Keep checking back with GameSpot for the latest.
“We don’t generally comment on unannounced projects but we will say the following:
We always have people working on different ideas behind the scenes – including on multiple projects right now – but the reason we tend not to discuss them publicly is because anything can happen over the course of development. As has been the case at Blizzard numerous times in the past, there is always the possibility that we’ll make the decision to not move forward on a given project. Announcing something before we feel it’s ready stands the risk of creating a lot of frustration and disappointment, both for our players and us, not to mention distraction and added pressure for our development teams.
We pour our hearts and souls into this work, and as players ourselves, we know how exciting it can be to see and know with certainty that a new project is coming. Knowing that changes or disappointments can happen doesn’t make it any less painful when we have to shelve a project or when an announcement doesn’t go as planned. 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. The work that goes into these projects – whether they ship or not – is extraordinarily valuable. It often leads to great things and helps foster a culture of experimentation here.
With all that said, we’re very much looking forward to revealing other things we’re working on when the time is right.”
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