Blizzard Entertainment and NetEase have canceled an under-development World of Warcraft mobile MMO, according to a new report by Bloomberg. The title, codenamed Neptune, would have been a mobile MMO set in the same universe as Blizzard’s long-popular World of Warcraft, but the project has been set aside due to a financial dispute.
The Bloomberg report states that Project Neptune had been in development for the past three years as the developers worked on the MMO, which was not meant to be a direct copy of the current PC version, but rather a version set in a different time.
NetEase and Blizzard have a long working relationship, as the former publishes the Blizzard’s titles in China, including the recently released Diablo Immortal. As far as what shut down the World of Warcraft mobile MMO, Bloomberg cites a disagreement "over terms," seeing the companies put a halt to the MMO’s development. Bloomberg reports that NetEase disbanded a rather large development team in the fallout, with over 100 developers working on the MMO before it was shuttered. Bloomberg reports only some of these developers were given internal transfers to other titles.
Blizzard is currently working on the mainline World of Warcraft series, which NetEase also publishing in China, including the upcoming release of Dragonflight, as well as the September launch of World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King Classic.
According to the report, this isn’t the first Warcraft mobile title that has been canceled while in development. A Pokemon GO-style game had also been worked on for four years, codenamed Orbis, before also being shut down.
Project Neptune isn’t to be confused with the other Warcraft mobile title, Arclight Rumble, which is apparently still on track, as noted in this week’s financial report by the company. Activision Blizzard’s financial report saw some growth in Blizzard’s monthly active user count, no doubt thanks to the most recent mobile title, Diablo Immortal, but saw a decline in overall players and a drop in revenue compared year-over-year in Q2 2022.
The mobile Diablo has seen gobs of money come in, with over $100 million in player spending since launch in June. However, apparently spending too much in Immortal can make it hard to find anyone to play with.
Joseph has been writing or podcasting about games in some form since about 2012. Having written for multiple major outlets such as IGN, Playboy, and more, Joseph started writing for MMORPG in 2015. When he’s not writing or talking about games, you can typically find him hanging out with his 10-year old or playing Magic: The Gathering with his family. Also, don’t get him started on why Balrogs *don’t* have wings. You can find him on Twitter @LotrLore