Blizzard has reportedly cancelled a Warcraft mobile game that was in development for three years at NetEase, one of Blizzard’s global publishing partners. The game, codenamed ‘Neptune‘, was said to be a spin-off from the main Warcraft series, and set in a different time period to World of Warcraft.
Given the water-themed codename, it could have featured the underwater lore of the series, including creatures like the murlocs or makrura, but the primary focus of the now-cancelled game is unknown. All we really know is that it’s not Warcraft Arclight Rumble, which is still set to launch in 2022.
It’s believed that the game was cancelled for financial reasons, with many sources reporting some kind of dispute between Activision Blizzard and NetEase over the launch of the game.
‘The two companies disagreed over terms and ultimately called a halt to the project, which had been kept under wraps,’ a source told Bloomberg.
The news follows a similar claim of yet another cancelled Warcraft mobile game, reportedly set to emulate the Pokemon Go style of real-world AR exploration. These cancelled games are considered separate.
Going forward, there are plenty of questions that Activision Blizzard will likely need to answer. Their working relationship with NetEase, one of their most lucrative, according to Bloomberg, appears to be on the rocks, with the financial dispute likely causing a ripple effect in both companies.
Activision Blizzard has worked alongside NetEase for several years, with the publisher currently operating Chinese versions of World of Warcraft, StarCraft II, and Overwatch on behalf of Activision Blizzard. It also recently developed mobile smash hit Diablo Immortal alongside Blizzard.
At this stage, the fracture between the companies is unclear. It could be isolated to this cancelled game and its financial circumstances, or it could spread further, with consequences for all parties. Only time will tell.