As Blizzard continues to restructure the long-term planning of its various IPs, the Second-Quarter 2019 Financial Results released today all but confirm that the StarCraft series is dead in the water with no current plans develop any projects.
The news may come as a surprise to die-hard fans of Blizzard games, but the writing has been on the wall for quite some time now that the vision of Activision-Blizzard is different from what it might have been even a few short years ago. In the report, we can see clearly the intention and long-term plan under “Selected Business Highlights," which states:
“Across Call of Duty, Candy Crush, Warcraft, Hearthstone, Overwatch, and Diablo, we are expanding our development teams so that we can accelerate the delivery of content in our pipeline, pursue new business models, broaden our communities, and delight our players.”
As of last year, we knew that Heroes of the Storm was no longer a priority following the gutting of the development team in charge of the game and canceling its entire esports program for the year. Starcraft has faced similar issues, and honestly, it is a bit surprising that it has taken this long to formally exclude the series from the official documentation of future projects at Blizzard.
In 2016, Blizzard officially discontinued the Proleague, which was the competitive scene for StarCraft II, after years of mediocre performance in Korea. Far worse, Blizzard dropped the ball in that scene for before the league was canceled, and readers can click here for an in-depth review of exactly how that came to pass, along with a discussion on the prospects of their esports in general.
While most players familiar with the StarCraft series will think of the Real-Time Strategy mode of play, twice now Blizzard has explored the possibility of creating a first-person game in that Starcraft universe, and twice it has canceled the project, which we also discussed at length here.
It is fascinating to consider why this might be, because while the obvious answer is that resources were perhaps needed elsewhere to develop projects in Overwatch, Hearthstone, and World of Warcraft, there is no doubt that such a first-person shooter game would have sold, and sold well.
Imagine, for a moment, all of the millions of StarCraft fans that have played the game over two decades, suddenly offered the change to purchase a first-person shooter in that universe, with perhaps some form of episodic release every few months, as Blizzard would likely want to do. The fanservice in itself would likely drive sales.
Instead, the series is being abandoned for the time being in favor of their other projects. At least Diablo is mentioned, hopefully referring to the development of Diablo 4, but possibly that could refer to the mobile “game” being prepared at the same time.
In any case, one can only be so upset at the news, because with Blizzard, the mistreatment of the Starcraft series is anything but novel at this point. We expect so little that there is only a tiny bit left for disappointment.
At least we can look forward to more Candy Crush content, which is apparently more deserving of development resources.