Blizzard Cancels Its Ambitious Online Survival Game Odyssey After Six Years


Blizzard has officially pulled the plug on its long-in-development multiplayer survival game Odyssey.

The cancellation comes amidst mass layoffs at Microsoft’s gaming division after acquiring Activision Blizzard.

Odyssey had been in the works for around 6 years but was plagued by technical issues and no clear path forward.

Rather than keep investing in the struggling project, Blizzard decided to cut its losses.

Odyssey’s Rocky Development Journey

Odyssey was conceived as an online multiplayer survival game that could support up to 100 players together on a single huge map.

Early on, development utilized the popular Unreal Engine.

However, the team eventually hit limitations with Unreal’s ability to handle Odyssey’s ambitious scale and transitioned to using the Synapse mobile game engine instead.

But this switch led to major technical hurdles.

With no optimized engine to power the game’s vision, development stalled.

The team was reportedly divided on how to proceed.

After 6 long years without a clear trajectory, the axe finally fell on Odyssey amidst broader layoffs at Microsoft’s gaming division.

Cancellation Part of Larger Microsoft Restructuring

Microsoft recently completed its $69 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard after a protracted legal battle.

This week Microsoft announced nearly 2,000 layoffs across its newly acquired studios.

The cuts aim to eliminate redundancies and refocus resources after the merger.

Odyssey fell victim to these cost-saving efforts as an experimental project without a solid foundation.

Other casualties included the mobile Diablo Immortal team and projects at Halo developer 343 Industries.

What Odyssey Could Have Been

While details are scarce, early reports indicated Odyssey was envisioned as an open-world survival game blending PvE and PvP elements.

Set in a sci-fi dystopian setting, players would cooperate to gather resources, build shelters, and defend against enemy NPCs.

However, they could also compete over limited supplies and participate in player-vs-player combat.

The promise of high-stakes survival across sprawling maps with up to 100 players per server was an ambitious undertaking.

Unfortunately, the technical realities did not live up to this grand vision.

What’s Next for Odyssey’s Team

Though Odyssey wasn’t meant to be, Blizzard indicated team members will transfer to new projects.

In a statement, Blizzard said taking risks on ambitious ideas like Odyssey is part of its heritage.

Though difficult, canceling Odyssey will let Blizzard focus on games with more potential.

The team’s valuable experience and creativity will likely contribute to Blizzard’s next big hit.

The company is reportedly in the early stages of developing multiple unannounced AAA games.

Source – Bloomberg

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