Blizzard’s cancelled survival recreation, Odyssey, reportedly killed because of its engine

This has not been a great week for recreation builders on the whole, however that’s very true for the 1,900 employees (8%) Microsoft laid off from its video video games division. The cuts affected a number of studios and labels, together with Activision Blizzard, which is simply three months into the Microsoft group following a prolonged acquisition journey.

Among the many video games and groups affected was Odyssey, a survival recreation in growth at Blizzard. The whole Odyssey crew was let go, and president Mike Ybarra left alongside chief design officer Allen Adham.

Right this moment, new details about the state of the sport, and what finally result in its cancellation, has emerged.

Due to a brand new Bloomberg report, we now know that Odyssey spent over six years in growth, which, because the report factors out, is longer than all of Blizzard’s beforehand cancelled tasks.

This was seemingly a serious challenge for Blizzard, with a core crew of greater than 100 builders (which later grew even bigger), and the studio noticed it as one thing contemporary that might flip into its personal franchise that sits alongside World of Warcraft, Hearthstone, Overwatch, and Diablo.

In keeping with the report, Odyssey had a easy pitch: to be a survival recreation with the polish, high quality, and a spotlight to element Blizzard is thought for. Based mostly on a 2017 pitch by World of Warcraft veteran Craig Amai, the sport was stated to have huge maps that may help as much as 100 gamers without delay.

Sadly, the tech powering the sport is the place its troubles started, and it’s what ultimately result in growth ceasing. In keeping with the report, the Odyssey crew began out constructing prototypes utilizing the Unreal Engine.

Epic’s extremely in style engine reportedly couldn’t help the crew’s 100-player ambitions, so Blizzard executives made the choice to change to Synapse, an in-house engine that had been initially developed for cell.

The one piece of idea artwork launched for the sport. | Picture credit score: Blizzard Leisure

That change introduced by itself set of issues, as individuals engaged on the challenge merely couldn’t get Synapse to do what they wished it to do rapidly sufficient, which result in recreation artists’ continued reliance on Unreal to prototype content material, figuring out it might should be later discarded.

Reporter Jason Schreier additionally revealed that some on the crew remained dedicated to creating the sport on Unreal Engine, and hoped Microsoft’s acquisition of the studio would provide them the liberty to proceed engaged on Epic’s engine reasonably than change to Synapse.

Microsoft has had a reasonably hands-off method with the studios it acquired, which incorporates letting every crew select the tech that is smart for the challenge, reasonably than mandate using sure engines to chop prices. Sadly, this wouldn’t come to move for Odyssey.

Though it was very deep in growth, and playtested effectively, the sport was nonetheless fairly removed from launch, with some builders even believing a 2026 launch goal was “overly optimistic”. Sadly, the developer realised Synapse merely wasn’t prepared, and determined to cancel the sport because of this.

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