Activision Blizzard and Chinese publisher NetEase have reportedly cancelled an unannounced World of Warcraft MMO following a disagreement between the two parties.
As reported by Bloomberg, the unannounced project – internally known as Neptune and in development for three years – wasn’t a direct adaptation of the existing WoW MMO, but rather an MMORPG spin-off set in the same universe but during a different time period.
However, despite the project’s already lengthy development period, NetEase is now said to have disbanded its creative team – consisting of more than 100 developers – after a disagreement with Activision Blizzard “over financial terms” resulted in both parties pulling the plug.
While no World of Warcraft MMO has been officially announced, controversial Activision Blizzard boss Bobby Kotick confirmed back in 2021 that the publisher had “multiple mobile free-to-play Warcraft experiences” in advanced development.
One of these, a free-to-play “tower offence” game titled Arclight Rumble, was announced in May, but its unveiling was accompanied by another Bloomberg report claiming a separate project – a long-rumoured Warcraft-themed take on Pokémon Go – had been cancelled.
Today’s news of a second Warcraft mobile cancellation is said to cast uncertainty over Blizzard’s ongoing partnership with NetEase – which publishes World of Warcraft and a number of other Blizzard properties in China – despite both companies having recently enjoyed huge success with the free-to-play Diablo Immortal.
That game has come in for significant criticism from fans over its monetisation model, but that hasn’t stopped it from making over $100m USD in just over two months since its launch.