Blizzard-NetEase financing dispute leads to canceled Warcraft mobile MMO ‘Neptune’


Blizzard has apparently canceled an in-development MMORPG. Bloomberg, which first broke the news, says the game was code-named Neptune and was a “massively multiplayer online role-playing game set in the same universe as World of Warcraft” – not a direct port but some sort of spinoff in a different time period.

Bloomberg’s Jason Schreier and Zheping Huang report that a “financing dispute” between Blizzard and NetEase over the “financial terms” for the game is the proximate cause of death here. According to the site’s source, NetEase “disbanded a team of more than 100 developers” working on the title.

NetEase, of course, has been a long-running Chinese partner for Blizzard’s mobile games (as well as for other companies’ mobile MMORPGs, including CCP Games). It also partnered with Blizzard on the recently launched and deeply controversial Diablo Immortal, whose Chinese launch was significantly delayed.

Activision-Blizzard released its Q2 2022 financial report on Monday; Diablo Immortal’s initial incomes outside of China, while substantial, weren’t enough to offset the Blizzard segment’s continuing quarter-over-quarter revenue decline.

Just to set your mind at ease, this is not the same game as Warcraft Arclight Rumble; that mobile strategy title is still in production. It’s also not the same game as the Warcraft MMOARG Orbis; that was canceled earlier this year.

Source: Bloomberg
Activision-Blizzard is considered a controversial gaming company owing to a long string of scandals over the last few years, including the Blitzchung boycott, mass layoffs, labor disputes, and executive pay fiasco. In 2021, the company was sued by California for fostering a work environment rife with sexual harassment and discrimination, the disastrous corporate response to which compounded Blizzard’s ongoing pipeline issues and the widespread perception that its online games are in decline. Multiple state and federal agencies are investigating the company as employees strike and call for Bobby Kotick’s resignation. As of 2022, the company is being acquired by no less than Microsoft.
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