Blizzard has deleted a StarCraft first-person shooter designed for the past two years after three people familiar with what's happening in the studio. The main reason, Blizzard told the staff, was to put more resources into the Diablo and Overwatch franchises.
The project, codenamed Ares, was described to me as " Battlefield in the StarCraft Universe" by one of these persons, all of whom spoke anonymously because they were not authorized to speak the project. The team had built prototypes in which the player could fire as a Terran navy Zerg aliens, and there were plans to experiment with playable Zerg. Although one person who saw builds of the game last year told me that it looked like development progress was slow, a second person said it was a "massive shock" when Blizzard hit it a few weeks ago had canceled. A third person said it looked "pretty good".
When Blizzard was asked for a comment, he provided a long (and nonspecific) statement that you can read fully in this post. "We always make decisions about these things, regardless of the bottom line or interpretation of things, based on our values, which in our opinion makes sense to Blizzard and what our players like best," the company said.
As a result of the cancellation, no one was dismissed, and according to two employees, Blizzard informed the team that Ares (in addition to a second unannounced mobile project) would be fired, leaving the company many of them in the upcoming Diablo 4 and Overwatch 2 both of which are expected to be Blizzard's tent announcements at this year's BlizzCon. (As we saw last year, of course, anything can change in the BlizzCon announcements.)
Both games will be an integral part of Blizzard's strategy over the coming years. We reported in detail on Diablo 4 code-named Fenris, late last year, and what we've heard about Overwatch 2 is (or whatever it's called) that it'll be one have big PVE element. (A few Blizzard people have compared it to Left 4 Dead .)
Ares first entered development in 2017 as an experiment to see what the team was StarCraft on the site could make Overwatch engine. An engine is a set of tools and reusable code that developers use to build games. Blizzard hoped to be able to use as many games as possible on the same technology to increase the efficiency of their extremely slow game productions. (This plan revolves around the new common engine that is being adopted by several Blizzard projects.) At the head of Ares was the veteran Blizzard director Dustin Browder, previously Heroes of the Storm and StarCraft II conducted] and it was planned to be the next game in the StarCraft universe.
Of course, this is not the first time that Blizzard has canceled a StarCraft shooter. The infamous StarCraft: Ghost Game a third-person shooter stealth game in which the Terran Ghost Nova was set to star, underwent several developer changes and delays following its 2002 announcement, before it was finally discontinued in 2006 has been.
] Here's the full Blizzard statement:
We generally do not comment on unannounced projects, but we'll say the following:
We always have people behind the scenes working on different ideas – including several at the moment Projects – but the reason We tend not to discuss them publicly because anything can happen in the course of development. As with Blizzard in the past, there is always the possibility that we make the decision not to develop a particular project. Announcing something before we feel that it's done carries the risk of both our players and us becoming very frustrated and disappointed, not to mention the distraction and extra pressure on our development teams, and as players we know how exciting it can be to see for sure and to know that a new project is coming. Knowing that changes or disappointments can occur does not make it any less painful when we need to postpone a project or when an announcement does not go as planned. We always make decisions about these things, regardless of the final outcome or interpretation of things, based on our values, what we think makes sense for Blizzard, and what our players like best. The work that flows into these projects – whether they are delivered or not – is extremely valuable. It often leads to big things and promotes a culture of experimentation here.
Despite all this, we look forward to revealing other things we are working on at the right time.