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Blizzard > StarCraftJun 6, 2024 4:00 pm CT

Blizzard is hiring for an unannounced game — so what new game is Blizzard working on?

It hasn’t been that long since we learned that the untitled survival game did not survive Blizzard’s transition to Microsoft ownership. Despite its cancellation and the sheer volume of layoffs in February, Blizzard has started hiring for a new unannounced project over the past couple months.

It’s important to note that large game companies are constantly iterating on “unannounced” games. However, the nature of the positions that are currently being hired indicate that it’s further along than a handful of people throwing out ideas — someone with over a decade of experience (which some of these listings require) is not going to take a job that’s still in the early stages of development. That’s no guarantee of a release either, though, as the team on the untitled survival game could attest. Still, there’s a reason to believe that there’s something major coming from Blizzard in the next few years.

While the job listings don’t give concrete information, there’s some general details that can be sussed from them. It’s definitely a game with some form of NPC combat as there are several positions listed in that area. The presence of listings for a Narrative Director, Creative Director, and a World Design Director means there will be a larger story involved regardless of the gameplay (the phrase “Open World” appears at least once). Overall there’s a sense that what’s being developed is a major AAA title — this isn’t a mobile game. So what is it?

Could it be time to return to StarCraft?

The  likeliest property that this unannounced project is for is StarCraft. There are a couple reasons to believe this. First, it’s been almost four years since StarCraft 2 development ended, meaning that starting it up again would require many hires, especially on the leadership side of things. In addition, Phil Spencer, the head of gaming for Microsoft, is on record for wanting to revive the franchise and he name-dropped it twice during his appearance at the BlizzCon ’23 Opening Ceremony. Spencer’s support isn’t a guarantee of course — a lot has happened since these remarks were made.

Still, StarCraft feels like the most natural choice here even if that doesn’t necessarily mean StarCraft 3. It would be weird for the game to move away from its RTS roots, but World of Warcraft was able to do so — why couldn’t StarCraft? While an MMO seems farfetched, the development team could learn lessons from recent games like Starfield and Helldivers 2 to craft a new StarCraft experience.

Since “most likely” is not the same as “definitely” there are other possibilities that should be considered. Warcraft 4 and a return to the franchise’s RTS roots is always a popular prediction, however one would think that major leadership positions would come from in-house staff rather than hiring outside. Of course the existing World of Warcraft directors have to focus on the retail and classic versions of that game so perhaps the plan is to put new people in charge of a WC4 and supplement from the existing team when necessary. An Overwatch spin-off would be in a similar situation, but as that would likely be a new genre of game in the OW universe it may be too risky a bet for Microsoft.

There’s also the possibility of a brand new IP entirely. The cancellation of the untitled survival game would seem to contradict this assertion, but there are several reasons the project could’ve been ended besides the risk of launching a new IP. That said, it would be pretty shocking for a new IP to be the first major project crafted by Blizzard under Microsoft. While we shouldn’t assume that a new StarCraft is definitely coming, it seems likely that the next game in that franchise is a matter of when, not if.

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Filed Under: Unannounced Project

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