blizzard’s-canceled-survival-game-had-been-in-improvement-for-over-6-years,-was-extremely-praised-by-workers

Blizzard’s unnamed survival game had already been in improvement for over 4 years when it was introduced in early 2022. Its group doubled in dimension that yr with plans to develop much more in 2023. Now, after over six years of whole improvement time and constructive responses to the venture from present and former Blizzard workers, the game has been cancelled by Microsoft and its builders are out of jobs.

“I have been let go from Blizzard, together with many many others on the Survival group,” wrote Matt London, the game’s former affiliate narrative director, on X right this moment. 

Different Blizzard survival game builders who introduced their departures embody senior idea artist Marby Kwong, designer Ates Bayrak, senior software program engineer Renato Iwashima, character technical artist Matheus Lima, VFX artist Rachel Quitevis, and producer Megan Embree, who had labored at Blizzard for 13 years. 

The survival game’s director, Craig Amai, was additionally laid off, and says he is now targeted on serving to the remainder of the previous survival game group land on their toes. “For those who’re in search of expertise, the crew popping out of the Unannounced Survival Game are abnormally prime quality—I can’t suggest them sufficient,” Amai wrote in a submit on LinkedIn. 

Blizzard’s survival game was introduced as a brand new world “totally different from any Blizzard has created.” Two items of idea artwork, the one materials that was ever launched, confirmed modern-day people in a fantasy realm with a floating citadel seen by overgrown forests, in addition to a hooded forest ranger who would not be misplaced on League of Legends’ roster. The crossover of this imagery recommended a premise like The Chronicles of Narnia, where strange youngsters are drafted into one other world inhabited by fantasy creatures.

The game was nicely favored inside Blizzard. When it was introduced in January 2022, present and former Blizzard workers publicly praised the survival game group and venture—and this was on the top of distrust and anger over allegations of sexism on the firm.

Blizzard survival game

(Picture credit score: Blizzard)

“This group is nuts and good and the venture is like… UGH. SO COOL,” mentioned Blizzard artist Melissa Kelly on the time.

“All I can say is it is gonna completely rock,” mentioned novelist and Blizzard author Christie Golden. “Hella lovely too. I can’t wait!”

“It is a venture that can have a huge impact on the trade,” mentioned Geoffrey Advantage, government producer of Teamfight Techniques at Riot, who had previously co-led the survival game venture at Blizzard.

Former Blizzard president Mike Ybarra, who additionally exited the corporate this week, mentioned after the 2022 announcement that he’d “performed many hours” of the game and was “extremely excited concerning the group’s imaginative and prescient and the brand-new world it presents for gamers to immerse themselves in collectively.”

Reward for the venture on social media was so enthusiastic that some questioned if Blizzard had inspired its workers to speak it up on-line. We requested, and Blizzard advised us that it had not: “We have now a gifted group creating this game, and we’re joyful to see their real enthusiasm for his or her work, and others’ pleasure to share it,” a spokesperson mentioned on the time.

Mike Ybarra tweet from 2022:

(Picture credit score: Mike Ybarra)

The survival game’s cancellation and layoffs are a part of 1,900 job cuts throughout Activision Blizzard and different Microsoft gaming corporations. It is presently unclear how massive a portion of these layoffs the survival game group accounts for.

The previous Blizzard survival game builders now face a side of working in video games that I’ve heard plenty of builders lament earlier than: On high of the specter of being laid off, they face the specter of being laid off earlier than they have been in a position to launch something.

A requirement typically present in game improvement job listings is a few variety of “shipped video games,” that means video games which have been launched. A present Blizzard job itemizing for a lead gameplay engineer requires “no less than one shipped title,” for instance. Not solely do the Blizzard survival game builders who’ve been let go this week get no shipped game for his or her resumes, they can not even discuss overtly about what it was they have been making.

For those who labored on or have data of Blizzard’s survival game and wish to share particulars anonymously, you may e mail our suggestions line: suggestions@pcgamer.com.