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Blizzard's new game cancelled after six years amid Microsoft layoffs

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New Blizzard game cancelled amid Microsoft layoffsSOPA Images - Getty Images

Blizzard has cancelled planned title Odyssey amid a huge wave of layoffs at Microsoft's gaming division.

Microsoft completed its incredibly costly purchase of Activision Blizzard King late last year after a lengthy legal battle, and this week cut nearly 2,000 jobs across ABK, ZeniMax Media (Bethesda) and Xbox Game Studios.

Last week, it was reported that around 3,000 people working in the games industry had lost their jobs in 2024 already. Between Microsoft and other confirmed layoffs at places like Riot Games and Embracer Group, that number has almost doubled.

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SOPA Images - Getty Images

Bloomberg, in its reporting of the situation at Microsoft, explains that Odyssey had been in development for about six years, but was still ages away from launch.

It was previously being developed on the popular Unreal Engine, but there were concerns over whether the engine could handle the game's ambitions to support 100 players online together on a single map.

At some point in time, development had switched over to the Synapse engine, but as it was an engine designed for mobile games, technical problems arose and staff were reportedly divided on how to carry on.

Rather than continue to invest time and money into this struggling new IP, the decision was made to cancel it and let most of the team go, but a statement from Blizzard spokesman Andrew Reynolds revealed that the company will "move some of the people on the team to one of several exciting new projects Blizzard has in the early stages of development."

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[Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer]

"As difficult as making these decisions are, experimentation and risk taking are part of Blizzard's history and the creative process," he explained, calling Odyssey's cancellation "part of a focus on projects that hold the most promise for future growth...

"Ideas make their way into other games or in some cases become games of their own. Starting something completely new is among the hardest things to do in gaming, and we're immensely grateful to all of the talented people who supported the project."

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