Blizzard survival game cancelled after six years in development

Blizzard publicly announced its now-cancelled survival game in early 2022.
Blizzard survival game

In early 2022, Blizzard announced an intriguing new project: an original survival game set in a fresh fantasy universe “full of heroes we have yet to meet, stories yet to be told, and adventures yet to be lived.” But while there was much excitement about the upcoming game, it now appears it will never be released.

As part of the major layoffs announced at Microsoft, work on the unnamed Blizzard survival game has ceased, with all workers on the project either being reassigned or let go. The game had reportedly been in development for six years at the time of its cancellation, and had been receiving positive feedback from internal testers.

“Today’s actions affect multiple teams within Blizzard, including development teams, shared service organisations and corporate functions,” Matt Booty, Microsoft Game Content and Studios President reportedly said in his address to staff following the layoff announcement, per The Verge.

“As part of this focus, Blizzard is ending development on its survival game project and will be shifting some of the people working on it to one of several promising new projects Blizzard has in the early stages of development.”

Read: Microsoft lays off 1,900 workers at Xbox, Activision Blizzard, and ZeniMax

So far, the reasons for the game’s cancellation are fairly unclear, although a Bloomberg report has claimed game engine issues may have played a part in the decision to shutter the project.

Per this reporting, Blizzard’s unnamed survival game was prototyped using Unreal Engine before a decision to switch to Synapse, an in-house engine that would reportedly have allowed more players to join gaming sessions, and explore wider maps.

Sources speaking to Bloomberg allege this engine switch led to significant trouble for the survival project, with many developers wanting to switch back to Unreal. With the change in company management following its acquisition by Microsoft in late 2023, there was reportedly hope the project could finally get its desired engine switch, and the team could be expanded to complete work more efficiently – but instead, the game was cancelled outright.

“As difficult as making these decisions are, experimentation and risk taking are part of Blizzard’s history and the creative process,” Andrew Reynolds, spokesperson for Blizzard told Bloomberg. “Ideas make their way into other games or in some cases become games of their own. Starting something completely new is among the hardest things to do in gaming, and we’re immensely grateful to all of the talented people who supported the project.”

While Blizzard’s new survival game, with its focus on whimsical high fantasy and exploration, seemed like a promising new project, it now appears we’ve seen the last of it. Employees who formerly worked on the game are now scattered across a variety of new games – and some of them are out of a job entirely.

Our thoughts are with those impacted by the changes at Activision Blizzard, and the cancellation of this once-promising survival game.

Leah J. Williams is a gaming and entertainment journalist who's spent years writing about the games industry, her love for The Sims 2 on Nintendo DS and every piece of weird history she knows. You can find her tweeting @legenette most days.