A rumor states that Blizzard has canceled a first-person shooter game set in the Starcraft universe that had been developed for the past two years. Kotaku writes that three people who were familiar with the projects in development at the studio provided the information, stating that the cancellation was to shift resources into both the Diablo and Overwatch franchises.
Code-named Ares, the project was to be “like Battlefield in the Starcraft universe,” according to one of the anonymous sources. All three of the people who spoke to Kotaku expressed similar feelings of shock that the project had been canceled, where the team had established assets such as a Terran Marine that could gun down Zerglings, with players to have the Protoss playable as well.
Blizzard was asked if it would comment on the matter, to which they replied with a generic and non-specific statement about how these decisions are often made towards what they believe makes sense for the company. Ultimately, the news is business as usual for a developer with many popular franchises that all demand resources to update their current games and develop upcoming sequels. There simply are not enough people to go around, and some projects are cut to bolster others.
The news that resources have shifted towards Diablo should come as no surprise either, after the poor reaction to BlizzCon 2018’s announcement of Diablo: Immortal, rather than a proper sequel or expansion for the Diablo series on consoles and PC. With BlizzCon 2019 a mere five months away, there is likely pressure to have something prepared to show fans in an effort to regain faith in the company.
That said, the shifting of personnel to the Overwatch series is rather mysterious. As far as we know, Overwatch does not have any major projects in the works that would necessitate more developers than it already has. We have recently received a new character and map in the game, so what could Blizzard be working on there?
In any case, this is not the first time that Blizzard has shelved a single-player game set in the Starcraft universe. In 2002, Nihilistic Software was contracted by Blizzard to develop Starcraft: Ghost for the Nintendo Gamecube, Xbox, and PlayStation 2 consoles. Several delays occurred, and in 2006, the project was shelved indefinitely after leaks revealed that the project had shifted significantly in scope, first as a stealth-action video game to a more direct, first-person shooter type of game.
If Blizzard needs a sure-fire way to empty the wallets of Starcraft fans around the world, they should quietly pour resources back into a development team, keep it a complete secret, and announce a new Starcraft: Ghost game at BlizzCon 2020.
The joyful cries of a million people would echo in the skies for days to come. That may be an exaggeration, but still, imagine it!