While Microsoft's Phil Spencer has said that games such as Call of Duty will continue to come to PS5 even after Microsoft spent $68.7 billion to buy Activision Blizzard, he's been more coy regarding new IP. For example, Starfield, the new IP from Bethesda, will be an Xbox and PC exclusive after Microsoft's bought Zenimax Media for $7.5 billion in 2020.
Well, Blizzard Entertainment, the entity behind World of Warcraft, Diablo and Overwatch, has announced that it's working on a survival game set in a completely new universe. It's the first new IP announcement from the embattled studio since the Microsoft acquisition last week.
"Blizzard is embarking on our next quest. We are going on a journey to a whole new universe, home to a brand-new survival game for PC and console," Blizzard Entertainment announced in a news post. "A place full of heroes we have yet to meet, stories yet to be told, and adventures yet to be lived. A vast realm of possibility, waiting to be explored."
2021 was an especially difficult year for Activision Blizzard. The company became embroiled in a series of state and federal lawsuits regarding labor malpractice, first brought on by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing. This included widespread harassment, favoritism, sexism and one suicide. This "frat boy" culture spread across both Activision and Blizzard, made it especially difficult for longtime fans of the Call of Duty and World of Warcraft franchises to reconcile with.
According to the Wall Street Journal, it was stumbling stock prices and loss of confidence in CEO Bobby Kotick that allowed for Microsoft to make a multi-billion-dollar gamble on the storied games publisher.
Not much is known about this new survival game, including a release date or window. But Blizzard says it's hiring artists, designers and engineers to aid in the title's development. Whether game developers feel safe pursuing jobs at a now Microsoft-owned Blizzard remains to be seen.