Blizzard Entertainment’s survival game, which was codenamed Odyssey, has been canceled following a large number of layoffs at Microsoft. While the Xbox and Zenimax teams have been impacted by the layoffs, the majority of the 1,900 roles lost fall within the Activision Blizzard teams.
Odyssey spent six years in development
Odyssey was to be a survival adventure game set in a brand-new universe. The game was revealed through a job listing in 2022 but had been in development for over six years. Thanks to issues with the game’s Synapse engine, the game was still several years away from completion and was targeting a 2026 release date.
Ultimately, Blizzard decided that Odyssey wasn’t worth pursuing and Blizzard spokesman Andrew Reynolds told Bloomberg that the game was canceled “as part of a focus on projects that hold the most promise for future growth.” Blizzard will “move some of the people on the team to one of several exciting new projects Blizzard has in the early stages of development.”
The majority of the people working on Odyssey have been made redundant today. Windows Central’s Jez Corden also reported the layoffs also include the vast majority of Activision’s internal customer support teams, which will now be outsourced to external companies. Meanwhile, Microsoft’s departments dedicated to bringing Xbox games to physical retail have reportedly been shut down too, fuelling rumors of the digital-only Xbox console that is supposedly in development.
Microsoft previously had a team of 22,000 employees between its many studios. According to a memo from Phil Spencer, seen by IGN, the layoffs have been made across Activision Blizzard, ZeniMax, and the Xbox teams and represent approximately 8% of the workforce. As a result of the decision, Blizzard Entertainment President Mike Ybarra announced that he was also leaving the company, as is Blizzard’s chief design officer and co-founder Allen Adham.