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Blizzard's working on a survival game set in "an all-new universe"

For the first time in eight years, Blizzard has revealed a new game in a new genre.

Bryant Francis, Senior Editor

January 25, 2022

3 Min Read
Key art from Blizzard's unnanounced new game

Blizzard Entertainment has announced that it's begun production on a new survival game set in an all-new universe for the veteran game studio--and that it's recruiting a new developers for the project.

"We are going on a journey to a whole new universe, home to a brand-new survival game for PC and console," the game's announcement reads. "A place full of heroes we have yet to meet, stories yet to be told, and adventures yet to be lived."

The unnamed game would be the first new intellectual property for the Irvine-based developers since the announcement of Overwatch in 2014. The company is also still working on Overwatch 2, Diablo 4, and Diablo Immortal (with NetEase).

That of course sits alongside development for live games like World of WarcraftHearthstoneOverwatch, and other titles.

This is also Blizzard's first major recruitment pitch since the State of California sued parent company Activision Blizzard for allegedly fostering a culture of sexual harassment and toxicity. The lawsuit initially zeroed in on the culture at Blizzard Entertainment, but additional reporting over the last few months has revealed issues across the game publisher/developer.

This game is ALSO Activision Blizzard's first hint of what it will be working on as it works to close an acquisition deal with Microsoft, bringing it under the wing of the Redmond-based tech company. 

It's been so long since Blizzard announced a big new tentpole franchise that it's almost easy to forget that this is not how Blizzard generally reveals its titles. Overwatch was assembled from the scraps of a failed MMORPG project codenamed Titan, and made its big splash with a cinematic trailer at a huge fan-run event.

Unlike this new project, Titan never was "announced," only spoken of in hushed whispers and the occasional financial report. This project, by contrast, has been revealed exceptionally early in production seemingly with the hopes of attracting game developer talent. Blizzard and other major developers have had trouble keeping talented employees on staff for a number of pandemic-related reasons, but the company has also dealt with massive turnover in the months since the California DFEH filed its lawsuit against the company. 

Even before that news hit, Blizzard was shedding major talent, with developers like Overwatch 2 game director Jeff Kaplan departing for greener fields.

The impact of that lawsuit is felt in the game's announcement as well. "This requires a diverse team of developers willing to lend their voices, to listen and to be heard," one sentence reads.

One other notable element of this announced project? It doesn't seem tied to a "metaverse." Microsoft touted the Activision Blizzard purchase as "a bet on the metaverse" but the company with the most experience building massive digital worlds seems to be shifting its eye to a genre popularized by games like Rust, DayZ, ARK: Survival Evolved, and so on. 

Recent titles like Valheim have interest in the genre is not dying out any time soon.

This announcement is probably a morale boost for employees still at Blizzard, who have had to deal with game delays and a steady drumbeat of news stories about the company culture. But it's yet to be seen how a new pool of developers will impact the organization efforts of employees under the banner of A Better ABK Worker's Alliance. 

About the Author(s)

Bryant Francis

Senior Editor, GameDeveloper.com

Bryant Francis is a writer, journalist, and narrative designer based in Boston, MA. He currently writes for Game Developer, a leading B2B publication for the video game industry. His credits include Proxy Studios' upcoming 4X strategy game Zephon and Amplitude Studio's 2017 game Endless Space 2.

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