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Everything We Know About Blizzard's New Survival Game

Blizzard Entertainment, the studio behind "World of Warcraft," "Diablo," "StarCraft," and "Overwatch," was recently purchased by Microsoft. This marked a monumental shift in the gaming sphere, but the change in ownership doesn't seem to be slowing down the studio's production. Just days after the shocking announcement about the 68.7 billion dollar acquisition, Blizzard announced that it is hiring team members in order to create a new survival game. "Blizzard is embarking on our next quest," the announcement stated. "We are going on a journey to a whole new universe, home to a brand-new survival game for PC and console. 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."

Needless to say, news of the new IP had fans going wild, but it also raises a lot of questions. What kind of survival game will it be? What kind of setting will it have? What will the characters look like? When will it come out? The game doesn't even have an official title yet, but there are still bits and pieces of information out there that help paint a picture of what this game might be. Here's everything we know so far.

It's been in development for almost 5 years

Big games take a long time to make. It could be the better part of a decade after a studio announces it's started working on a new AAA title before gamers get to actually play it, depending on the scope of the project. Even though fans are just now hearing about this project for the first time, it seems that Blizzard has been working on it for a lot longer than most people realized.

Craig Amai is the Project Lead for the untitled survival game. He announced his involvement with the project on Twitter, where he wrote, "Once upon a time this dream project was [a] humble pitch deck on my desktop. Now it's a team full of caring and passionate people sharing a vision I couldn't be prouder to be part of." Amai has been working with Blizzard for over 17 years. He is a former Lead Quest Designer for "World of Warcraft," but according to his Linkedin page, he began working on this new game back in 2017. If that's accurate, that means that this game is already nearly five years into development.

Head of Blizzard Entertainment, Mike Ybarra, also Tweeted, that he has "played many hours of this project with the team," implying that the game is far enough into development that it is in a playable state. It may still be years before discs hit shelves, but probably not nearly as long as fans might have thought.

It will probably have a fantasy setting

Survival games typically involve a harsh landscape that players must explore in order to gather resources, collect weapons, and build a defensible shelter, but what sort of aesthetic that landscape will have in this new game is anyone's guess. Blizzard's four main IPs are split between fantasy ("WoW" and "Diablo") and science fiction ("Overwatch" and StarCraft"). It's impossible to say for certain at this point, but this new game seems to be leaning toward the former.

Combing through the job postings provides a few subtle hints as to what kind of project Blizzard's new employees will be working on. One posting for an Environmental Artist states that the position will require the employee to be good at "assembling highly creative environment art assets, including natural environments and architecture" and "Working closely with level designers and other artists to develop unique spaces and captivating environments that players love spending time in." The Senior Character Artist must be good at "[creating] a unique visual style for characters and creatures." And then there's the Technical Artist: FX Pipeline listing. Blizzard wants this employee to be good at "teaming up with FX Artists to develop workflows for FX creation for spells, environments, characters, combat, and special game events."

So, we've got creative natural environments, unique creature designs, and spells? Sounds like fantasy!

Hints in the concept art

While the concept art on Blizzard's announcement has not been confirmed to be from the game, it seems to suggest a fantasy setting as well.

The first image features two people peering through a wooded gap, across an idyllic valley, toward a floating castle. They're both dressed in contemporary clothes and there's a modern looking bicycle parked against a rock off to the side. In the top left corner, viewers can spot the peaks of skyscrapers in the direction away from the wooded gap. It could be that this new game will be a sort of isekai fantasy, similar to "Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch," where people are pulled from the real world into a fantasy world. Of course, this image might not be any indication of the game itself. It was merely posted on the hiring announcement, after all. Another possibility is that these contemporary characters might represent the developers Blizzard is seeking to hire — stepping out of the "real world" and into the world of Blizzard's game development team.

The second image is more solidly grounded in a traditional fantasy setting. It features a woman wearing armor decorated in fur and bones. She wields an axe, a knife, and a quiver of arrows. She also appears to be tracking a set of glowing footprints through an overgrown ruin. This could indicate the sort of mechanics the game might have and how the survival and fantasy genres might be married.

It will likely be first person

Most survival games have a first-person point of view. There are a few exceptions, like "Don't Starve" by Klei Entertainment and "This War of Mine" by 11 Bit Studios, but "Rust," "Ark: Survival Evolved," "7 Days to Die," "Minecraft," and most of the more popular games in the genre put the players in the character's shoes. This makes sense. A first-person POV can often make desperate moments feel even more frantic. That tension is the bread and butter of a good survival game. Well, it seems that Blizzard's new game will also be following this format. Camille Sanford is an Associate Game Producer for the untitled survival game. She also tweeted about the new game after the hiring announcement was posted and hinted at a little bit more information about it. She announced her involvement in the game and in a reply to her initial tweet, wrote, "To be working in a whole new universe, on a first person survival game that is certain to be top of the genre is a literal dream come true!"

While this isn't all that surprising, it is another detail that helps the picture of what this game will be as it comes into focus.