Blizzard has reportedly cancelled an unannounced StarCraft first-person shooter that has been in the works for the past two years, and will be diverting the manpower affected by the cancellation to Diablo 4 and Overwatch 2.
The news came via a report by Kotaku, citing three sources who are familiar with the on-goings of Blizzard. According to Kotaku, the StarCraft-based shooter project was allegedly codenamed Ares and a source described it as “like Battlefield in the StarCraft universe” while another stated that the game was “looking quite good” and news of the cancellation came as “a massive shock”.
Kotaku notes that there were no layoffs as a result of the cancelled project. Instead, Blizzard has shifted the manpower and resources to Diablo 4 and Overwatch 2, two sequels which have yet to be officially confirmed. Though both are expected to have a big presence at 2019’s BlizzCon, with new reports claiming that Overwatch 2 will allegedly have a “large PVE element”.
It is worth noting that Blizzard has never officially acknowledged the existence of the cancelled StarCraft shooter, much less its cancellation. In a statement sent to Kotaku, Blizzard only stated that it had multiple projects in the works that it does not talk about publicly due to the fact that “anything can happen over the course of development.” As was evidently the case with the cancelled StarCraft shooter.
“There is always the possibility that we’ll make the decision to not move forward on a given project. Announcing something before we feel it’s ready stands the risk of creating a lot of frustration and disappointment, both for our players and us, not to mention distraction and added pressure for our development teams,” Blizzard said in an official statement.
“We pour our hearts and souls into this work, and as players ourselves, we know how exciting it can be to see and know with certainty that a new project is coming. Knowing that changes or disappointments can happen doesn’t make it any less painful when we have to shelve a project or when an announcement doesn’t go as planned,” Blizzard continued.
“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.”
According to the report by Kotaku, Ares was far enough into development to have a prototype built where players controlled a Terran marine fighting Zerg aliens. There were also plans to work on a playable Zerg.
Longtime StarCraft fans will know that Ares is not the first StarCraft shooter to meet an early end. A third-person stealth shooter titled StarCraft: Ghost was also cancelled a few years after it was announced in 2002. Blizzard later explained that StarCraft: Ghost was cancelled in order to move staff to World of Warcraft, much like the situation now with Diablo 4 and Overwatch 2.