Activision Blizzard and NetEase have cancelled a World of Warcraft mobile MMO game after three years in development, according to a Bloomberg report. The project, which was being developed by a team of over 100 people, has now been canned and the studio disbanded. The game was set to follow in the footsteps of Diablo Immortal in bringing one of Blizzard’s major IPs to mobile platforms, alongside the Blizzard-developed Arclight Rumble.
Bloomberg reports that the title, codenamed Neptune, was planned to be an MMORPG in the World of Warcraft universe, but was cancelled following disagreements between the two studios. The game would have been set during a different time period than Blizzard’s hugely successful ongoing MMO, which is set to receive its latest expansion, WoW Dragonflight, by the end of 2022.
While Diablo Immortal arrived to much backlash from hardcore fans upset by its microtransaction model, the mobile and PC game co-developed between NetEase and Blizzard has proven rather successful. Recent reports indicate that the RPG game has been installed 30 million times after its launch in China and has raised over $100 million USD in mobile player spending alone.
This latest news, then, throws doubt over the relationship between the two major companies. NetEase, which is the second-largest gaming company in China, also publishes Blizzard’s other games (including World of Warcraft) in the Chinese market. Both Activision Blizzard and NetEase representatives have declined to comment on project Neptune.
Blizzard already has another mobile project based on the Warcraft universe in the pipeline – Warcraft Arclight Rumble, a tower attack mobile RTS game which bears close resemblance to popular Supercell title Clash Royale. However, another recent Bloomberg report revealed that a second mobile project styled after Pokémon GO was also shuttered at around the time Arclight Rumble was released.
This news comes during the ongoing $70 billion deal that will see Activision Blizzard acquired by Microsoft. Rival Sony recently claimed that no publisher could rival Call of Duty for popularity in the game industry.