World of Warcraft mobile game canceled after three years in development: report
The World of Warcraft mobile game has reportedly been cancelled. Internal disagreements between Activision Blizzard and NetEase led the two parties to end the smartphone project three years after its development. The WoW mobile title, codenamed “Neptune”, was billed as a massively multiplayer online role-playing game (RPG) (MMO) set in the Warcraft universe. According to Bloomberg, the WoW mobile game was a spin-off project, separate from the PC version and featured a different timeline. It was to be released on Android and iOS platforms.
To date, the only mobile experience based on the Warcraft universe was Hearthstone, a tactical card game that builds on existing lore. But in March, Blizzard confirmed two new Warcraft mobile games on the horizon. One of them was confirmed to be Warcraft Arclight Rumble, a Clash of Clan strategy game using a vertical screen approach, while the other was slated to be the PC version’s mobile counterpart. The unnamed game – now revealed as Neptune – went through three years of development before being cancelled.
Chinese game distributor NetEase has laid off more than 100 development staff, with only a few members receiving internal transfers. The two companies have been partners since 2008, working on Hearthstone and handling game publishing in China. The cancellation comes at an interesting time, as Blizzard tries to enter the Asian mobile games market, via their recently launched Diablo Immortal. The game, though laden with a dodgy microtransaction model, has managed to maintain a healthy playerbase since day one – topping $100 million (roughly Rs. 793 crore) in in-game revenue.
The Bloomberg report also notes a third Warcraft mobile game that has been canceled — an augmented reality (AR) title similar to Pokémon Go. The game was internally called Orbis and had been in development for “more than four years.” Bloomberg says the cancellations have cast uncertainty over the ongoing relationship between Activision and NetEase. Blizzard is also conducting internal alpha testing (friends and family) for an early build of Diablo IV right now. “Gamers are under NDA, but I’m mostly hearing positive buzz,” said gaming reporter Jason Schreier. said on Twitter.
Warcraft Arclight Rumble, the tower defense game, is still set to release on Android and iOS devices. Not to mention that the publisher has its next World of Warcraft (PC) expansion, Dragonflight, set to launch later this year.
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