Yesterday, the video game industry was shaken, particularly due to the the elimination of 1,900 positions by Microsoftbut also the cancellation ofOdyssey, the survival game developed by Blizzard. Although we would like to be able to see it one day, and especially play it, today we can learn some information about it.
Odyssey has already had 6 years of development
Bloomberg reports that a team of over 100 people was formed to develop this survival game that takes place in a completely new universe. Before it was cancelled, it had already gone through a long 6-year development cycle, becoming a game that outlasted many other Blizzard incubation projects. The media adds that in addition to the publisher’s existing licenses, the future of such projects is unfortunately uncertain.
Development on Odyssey began in 2017 and was initially just a proposal from Craig Amai, a Blizzard veteran who notably worked on World of Warcraft. The game was designed as a survival game, like Minecraft and Rust, but much more polished and with fewer bugs.
The team ended up growing, and it was only in 2022 that the project was publicly announced, when the studio began hiring to increase the development team.
A change to the game engine
We also learned that, despite these hires, the project encountered technical problems linked to the game engine. The Odyssey prototype ran on the Unreal Engine, but Blizzard managers decided to switch to Synapse, an internal engine the company had originally developed for mobile games. and which he planned to share with many of his projects.
This decision should allow the studios’ ambitions to be realized with boards that can accommodate up to 100 players at the same time. So the development team wasted time prototyping elements in Unreal Engine only to see them eventually abandoned.
When Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard King was finalized last October, team members were hoping to return to the Unreal Engine, as former Blizzard president Mike Ybarra had clarified that Microsoft would offer studios the freedom to use the technology. of your choice.
According to those who first played the game, it had a lot of potential to establish itself in the survival game market, especially with Blizzard’s quality standards. However, the game was far from complete and Blizzard considered expanding the team to several hundred people in hopes of being able to release Odyssey in 2026, although this window still seemed too ambitious according to some developers.
Andrew Reynolds, a spokesperson for Blizzard, provided some clarification on the situation.
While these decisions are difficult to make, experimentation and risk-taking are part of Blizzard’s history and creative process. Ideas make their way into other games or, in some cases, become games in their own right. Starting something completely new is one of the hardest things to do in gaming, and we are immensely grateful to all the talented people who supported the project.
The spokesperson also added that development was completed “as part of focusing on the most promising projects for future growth and that the company would “move some people from the team to one of several exciting new projects that Blizzard has in the early stages of development.” .”
Although survival games have been on the rise for several years, evidenced by the incredible success of Pal World, it would have been particularly interesting to see Blizzard risk this exercise. We hope that one day some images of the game appear, so that we unfortunately know what we missed.