Blizzard's New Survival Game/Universe Will Be Huge

Activision-Blizzard survival game concept art
Credit: Activision-Blizzard

Activision-Blizzard survival game concept art
Credit: Activision-Blizzard

In the wake of endless scandals and the recent news Activision-Blizzard is being acquired by Microsoft, Blizzard has announced an entirely new game in a new genre for the company set in a brand-new universe. Not many specifics about the game are known just yet, but there's good reason to think this project could be the next big thing in gaming. In this article, we'll explain why and tell you everything you need to know about Blizzard's latest IP.

Blizzard's Making A Console Survival Game? And There's No Warcraft Connection?

Activision-Blizzard logo
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Credit: Activision-Blizzard

Blizzard is making a survival game. It's their first survival game; it's coming to PC and console; and it's set in an entirely new universe. Right now, Blizzard is hiring for this project. You can find listings for these jobs on their website, if interested. This is the entirety of what we know about this game.

There's no release date, name, or anything else to read into beyond the announcement Blizzard is working on a new project that came alongside some concept art. Still, there's a ton of reason to be excited about this project, even if it's years away and we don't know much of anything about it. Let's get into why.

Related: WoW Is Coming to Console/Xbox

What Blizzard Is Good At

Activision-Blizzard survival game
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Credit: Activision-Blizzard

Blizzard hasn't been an innovative company for a long time, maybe ever, but this isn't a bad thing. Blizzard has built its reputation off of polish and scope. World of Warcraft wasn't the first 3D open-world tab-target MMORPG, but it was the best one out when it was released. Heartstone isn't the first digital card game, but it was the best digital card game around when it was released such that it's the Magic of the digital card game world today.

Even Overwatch, a game that spawned the entire modern hero shooter craze, wasn't the first team-based hero shooter, but it was the best one around when it came out. Whether you love Blizzard's games or hate them, what they do best is take mechanics already out there in other games and refine them.

When there's a gap in the market where a particular genre or style of game is super popular but hasn't spawned its mega-hit just yet, Blizzard thrives. This was the case for MMOs in the early 2000s, digital card games in the early 2010s, and hero shooters in the late 2010s. Today, in the early 2020s, we're at another one of these crossroads.

Related: Call of Duty Will Be an Xbox Exclusive

Why Blizzard and Why A Survival Game?

Activision-Blizzard survival game concept art
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Credit: Activision-Blizzard

Survival games have been explosively popular for nearly a decade, but ironically, there hasn't ever truly been a hugely successful survival game. Games like Minecraft or Terraria are absolutely hugely successful, but these games are more about sandbox freedom and player creation than they are about actual survival.

A game like ARK: Survival Evolved, mired in controversy and perpetually plagued by technical issues, was still more of an MMO-survival hybrid. Games like Grounded or Valheim are awesome and continue to be well-received, but they aren't finished and are smaller in scope. And even once they eventually are released, the developers behind them probably don't have the resources to continuously push out big updates on any kind of regular schedule.

There have been thousands of successful survival games, but never a big, huge success. Why? Because the survival genre has been dominated by smaller teams and indie projects. That's why it's been so popular and so innovative: passionate developers in small teams building what sounds interesting to them, taking risks, and creating new styles of gameplay.

Related: How Microsoft Can Fix Call of Duty and Why It Might Happen

A side effect of this is that most survival games are janky. They might have great ideas, but they don't have the time or budget behind them to polish each mechanic as much as they could or build each area with the level of detail gamers come to expect from the biggest games around. You generally have to forgive survival games their quirks in exchange for a genuinely exciting, immersive, and player-driven experience.

This isn't a bad deal, which is why the genre enjoys an enduring popularity, but it's also why there hasn't been a Fortnite of survival games. There hasn't been a Warzone in the genre. And considering the genre has been popular for over a decade, it's pretty surprising there haven't been bigger successes.

Enter Blizzard. As discussed above, genres in such a state are where Blizzard does its best work. What works and what players want out of a survival game is pretty well-trodden ground at this point in the genre's lifespan, so there isn't much innovation necessary.

Related: Is Call of Duty: Vanguard Zombies Good?

What the genre needs is a huge, ambitious game backed by a big team of developers committed to supporting the game with regular updates for years to come. It needs a game that won't spend years and years languishing in early access and years and years more adding features asked for years prior.

Blizzard has the resources, ability, and teams to accomplish this goal, and what's more is that this precise thing is what the company is best known for. Another great reason for Blizzard to make a survival game is that these games are not known for their worldbuilding or writing, so setting one in the Warcraft universe probably wouldn't attract a lot of Warcraft fans. Thus, the developers over at Blizzard have the opportunity to flex their creative muscles and try something new without risking all that much.

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