Fresh details about Blizzard’s cancelled survival game have been revealed.
On Thursday, Microsoft announced plans to lay off 1,900 staff across Xbox, Bethesda and Activision Blizzard.
Alongside the news, it was confirmed that Blizzard’s president Mike Ybarra and its chief design officer Allen Adham are leaving the studio, and that its untitled survival game, which was announced in January 2022, is no longer in development.
Staff were only informed of its cancellation on Thursday, and it’s claimed that many of the 100-plus people who had been working on it were told they were being let go.
In a leaked internal email, Microsoft’s game content and studios president, Matt Booty, said the company would be “shifting some of the people working on it to one of several promising new projects Blizzard has in the early stages of development”.
According to Bloomberg, the project was ultimately cancelled because of technical issues with the game engine being used to make it.
While it was originally prototyped on Epic’s Unreal Engine, Blizzard executives felt the technology wasn’t the right fit because it wouldn’t support the goal of having vast maps supporting up to 100 players simultaneously.
Instead, they wanted the Odyssey team to build the game using Synapse, an internal engine the studio had originally created for mobile games and wanted to be shared across many of its projects.
However, it’s claimed that this suite of tools and technology was slow to coalesce, and Odyssey was ultimately canceled when they concluded that Synapse was not production ready.
“As difficult as making these decisions are, experimentation and risk taking are part of Blizzard’s history and the creative process,” Blizzard spokesman Andrew Reynolds said.
“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.”