This past week news broke that a game at Blizzard had been canceled after two years of development. The game was left unnamed at the time, but new reports claim the game was a first-person shooter set in the StarCraft universe. Codenamed Ares, the project was described as Battlefield-meets-StarCraft in which the player took on the role of a Terran Marine. Playing as a Zerg was also being considered.
According to Kotaku, three anonymous sources familiar with the project confirmed that the StarCraft FPS was officially canceled to put more resources into other Blizzard projects tied to the Diablo and Overwatch franchises. The report claims that both Diablo 4 and a PvE-oriented Overwatch 2 are becoming the main focus within Blizzard. A StarCraft FPS, given the franchise’s downturn in recent years, understandably would be considered a lesser priority.
Developers working on the StarCraft FPS were said to be “shocked” when the project was canceled. However, Blizzard apparently did its due diligence informing the team about the project cancelation and ensuring that no employees were laid off. All employees were said to be shifted onto other projects, though that oddly contradicts a message from a Blizzard animator that said he was leaving the company following the project cancellation.
Heading the StarCraft FPS project was Blizzard director Dustin Broder, known best for directing StarCraft‘s Heart of the Storm and Legacy of the Void expansion campaigns, and leading the development of Heroes of the Storm and its live service before moving onto the secret StarCraft FPS.
Blizzard provided an official comment to be published alongside news of the StarCraft FPS’ cancellation. The comment doesn’t acknowledge the cancellation or reference the project specifically, but does ambiguously offer some introspection into the realities of game development and project cancellations:
“We always have people working on different ideas behind the scenes – including on multiple projects right now – but the reason we tend not to discuss them publicly is because anything can happen over the course of development. As has been the case at Blizzard numerous times in the past, there is always the possibility that we’ll make the decision to not move forward on a given project.”
While not apologetic about these realities, Blizzard does offer some sympathetic words perhaps in understanding that some Blizzard and StarCraft fans will take the news of the cancellation harshly.
“We always make decisions about these things, regardless of the ultimate outcome or how things might be interpreted, based on our values, what we believe makes sense for Blizzard, and what we hope our players will enjoy the most. The work that goes into these projects – whether they ship or not – is extraordinarily valuable. It often leads to great things and helps foster a culture of experimentation here.”
One project’s demise is another’s gain, in this case. Blizzard continues to move forward on other projects, bringing the developers of the canceled StarCraft game to help move its other projects forward faster. While the idea of a canceled StarCraft game may be disappointing now, come BlizzCon later this year when Blizzard announces what it’s working on next those feelings will hopefully turn to elation.