Blizzard is infamous for having high internal quality standards, though these exacting standards sometimes come with a price. It often takes an unbearably long time for sequels and new IP to hit store shelves, but they have traditionally proven worth the wait. Blizzard's titles generally achieve exceedingly strong Metacritic scores, and years-old games like StarCraft 2, Overwatch, and the reigning MMO champion, World of Warcraft, continue to be extremely popular in 2019. Nevertheless, many would argue this ethic translates to a fear of branching out, preventing Blizzard from experimenting with existing franchises and taking chances on edgy offshoots. According to a report from Kotaku, a proposed StarCraft shooter spin-off is the latest casualty of Blizzard's internal review process.
According to the report, the StarCraft spin-off was in development for two years before getting canned. The original StarCraft debuted in 1998, and the series remains one of Blizzard's most popular franchises. Though StarCraft is generally seen a cornerstone in the real time strategy genre, this cancelled title switched gears to provide a first-person shooting experience built on the Overwatch engine. The report's sources describe the cancelled title as StarCraft meets Battlefield, which certainly makes us all wistfully bittersweet regarding what could have been.
Though there are a million reasons any game could get cancelled, the report suggests the entire team moved to development of Diablo IV and Overwatch 2, two games which are not yet officially announced; this also means nobody lost their jobs as a result of the StarCraft cancellation. As for the prospective Diablo and Overwatch sequels, fans expecting to see either game at E3 shouldn't hold their breath; they are instead rumored to make their debut at BlizzCon in November, at the earliest.
Countless video games get cancelled every year, but this one, in particular, hurts more than most. This isn't the first StarCraft spin-off to bite the dust; back in 2002, issue #115 of Game Informer announced StarCraft: Ghost, a PlayStation 2/Xbox/Gamecube spin-off of the ever-popular sci-fi RTS franchise. Sadly, after years of delays and development troubles, the game all but disappeared by the end of the decade. Still, it wasn't until 2014 that Blizzard co-founder Mike Morhaime confirmed the game had been, indeed, cancelled.
Despite being cancelled, StarCraft: Ghost remains canon in the larger StarCraft storyline, and the novelization of the game, written by Keith R.A. DeCandido, was published in 2006. It's unclear if the cancelled StarCraft shooter was far enough into development to have a comprehensive storyline yet, but one has to wonder if any ideas from the game will make their way into future projects from Blizzard.
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