The folks over at Titan Focus have uncovered quite a treasure trove of leaked information regarding Blizzard’s upcoming Project Titan. As always, the veracity of any leaked information is always suspect so all we can do is wonder at the actual truth behind the leaks. Anyone who has followed the gaming industry for some time knows that some facts always find their way to the masses before official reveals are made. So whether any, all or none of what is being supposed in the leaks is true I’d like to take a few minutes of your time and opine on a few of the points.
For the sake of argument I’d like to assume that all the leaked points are true. Looking at the list over at Titan Focus you can see that it wasn’t a mere tidbit or two but a rather in-depth group of rumors that provide some actual framework to the game. I’d like to break it down loosely by the categories it was mentioned in the original post.
Third Rock from the Sun
The first point is perhaps the most important in a subtle, yet potent, manner by suggesting that the game takes place on Earth. Blizzard, long a studio for creating vibrant fantasy and sci-fi worlds for us to explore has rarely used our own planet as anything but a momentary backdrop, so this is a piece that caught me pleasantly by surprise. Also it’s being said that established authors-including Richard A. Knaak – are being coopted to help write the storyline for the game.
The rumors go on to answer some questions that arise. Earth? When? Where? How? The answers seem to lie in the fact that Blizzard will borrow heavily from Earth mythology and, something that is a big staple of science-fiction but has yet to find its way prominently into the MMO landscape, time travel. And with that revelation will supposedly come all the amenities of time travel, including everything from ancient magic to firearms, though it’s unclear whether Blizzard will stop at current day. I would think they would miss a huge opportunity there, so I’m assuming we will see energy weapons and power armor at some point.
What Are The Rules?
The leaks claim that Titan plays in a classic MMORPG third-person view which will support first-person during certain types of game events. Tab-targeting is on the list of things rumored, as well as the possible inclusion of facets of gameplay from World of Warcraft. While the current word is that it will launch on PC the rumors also indicate that next-gen consoles are being considered as well.
The information surrounding Titan’s visuals are vague at best and leave me scratching my head. It uses a brand new engine, which isn’t something that’s rare to hear these days, especially for a major studio on a triple-A project. It also claims that the graphics will be traditional “Blizzard-style” which leaves me to wonder exactly what this means. I’m not saying that I’m not intimately familiar with Blizzard, because I am, but that can be taken a few ways. It can either mean that they are going with their typical cartoony style which they’ve used extensively in games like Warcraft III and World of Warcraft. Alternatively it could point to the fact that Blizzard always strives to play a bit of visual trickery by using great color palettes and excellent engine design to run their games on a wider range of systems than almost every other game launched on PC. Personally, I hope for a solid mix of graphics and system range. Though Blizzard games undoubtedly age better than almost any other out there the visual qualities of newer MMOs like RIFT, SWTOR and The Secret World have raised the bar. If I’m going to be traveling through some of Earth’s richest time periods I want the “wow!” factor…not the WoW factor to come into play.
Now I’d like to address what is surely my least welcome Titan rumor, the focus on eSports. Though the reasons are enough to fill a column of their own I will sum up by saying that I am not a fan of eSports attached to MMOs. It just seems that eSports attached to MMOs stifle character depth and always end up limiting character development in the name of “balance”, which in turn homogenizes many games that would otherwise have much greater depth. I’d really prefer to not see this happen to Titan as the premise of time traveling is brilliant and offers one of the widest possible ranges for content and story.
While I didn’t address every last tidbit of information I spoke to the ones I felt were most poignant in the game’s development. While the information is a mixed bag, I can now say with confidence that I am more excited about Titan than I was a couple of days ago. As more pieces of the puzzle become clear I have every hope that Blizzard will shake off the recent years of near-misses and shake us to the core with a new phenomenon.
To read up on all of the new Project Titan leaks and rumors head over to the Titan Focus website, here.
There is no doubt that Blizzard has been one of the most instrumental companies in bringing gaming to the masses. Don’t believe me? Ask a random sampling of World of Warcraft players what’s the first MMO they ever played was. Then ask them how many they’ve played since. I’ll wager that you’ll see a trend form.
There is no doubt that anything that Blizzard touches turns to gold, even when critical reception of more recent titles sometimes falls short of the hype. Even though Diablo III met with its fair share of rebuke from the playerbase it was still one of the most outstanding success stories in gaming history, selling well over 10 million copies in short order.
I think it would be wise for Blizzard to attempt a brand new IP, but I question whether they will make the plunge. Currently left with nothing but speculation we have little choice but to opine on what we think Project Titan may be.
Is Titan a MOBA?
Some of the more recent buzz indicates that Titan may be Blizzard’s first foray into the MOBA genre. Ironically, Blizzard was indirectly responsible for the ascendancy of the MOBA. Warcraft III brought several evolutions to the RTS genre such as RPG-style heroes and one of the most robust map editors to ship with a game to date. Those two features were sort of like the Reese’s peanut butter cup for RTS gamers back then by creating two game elements that worked well together. The combination was the foundation for some of the greatest player-created content ever seen.
One of the custom maps that was created was entitled Aeon of Stife, which was actually a mod that was first implemented in Starcraft a few years earlier. The original map included many of the core features of what would come to define today’s MOBAs, such as singular powerful units controlled by the player and computer controlled armies. With the inclusion of hero leveling in the Warcraft III engine the game became much more dynamic and an idea that had seen its seminal days in one of Blizzard’s earlier titles came to full realization in another.
Today the genre that sprang from some of my favorite Warcraft III mods (SMOTA, Age of Myths and Battle Tanks) has taken the gaming population by storm. Many major studios are vying for a piece of the pie with games like DOTA 2 by Valve, Smite by Hi-Rez Studios and Guardians of Middle-earth by Monolith Productions naming only a few of the contenders. None compare with Riot Games’ title League of Legends which has gone on to become the most-played video game, which managed to clock in over 1.3 billion hours of gameplay in the same window that second place title, Blizzard’s own World of Warcraft, clocked in a “mere” 600 million.
Looking at the history of the MOBA and the current landscape of gaming I think that the possibility of Blizzard wanting to capitalize on something that they inadvertently helped to create can be considered a fair guess.
Is Titan an MMO?
There was a time in the late 90s and early 2Ks when you said “MMO” and the “RPG” part simply was assumed and went unsaid. Today the MMO genre has branched out into RTS, FPS and nearly every other major game type you can imagine. While bigger isn’t always better, MMOs have a proclivity to help companies entertain their customers by allowing the players to do much of the work themselves.
To be clear Blizzard is on the record as stating that Titan is, in fact, an MMO; but of what sort? Is it an MMORTS based in the great world of Azeroth? Is it a Starcraft-based MMOFPS where my space marine character gets to scream “Go go go!” as I rush a bunch of Zerg players? We simply don’t know at this point.
The recent industry trend has been to get away from “theme park” content delivery and begin delivering more system-based content so that players can take the tools given them and play the game the way they wish. Blizzard is well-known for its content and so it begs the question whether they will venture away from their comfort zone with Project Titan, delivering a game very different from what players enjoy in World of Warcraft. It would seem wise to offer something different, thus attempting to reach a different fanbase than their current audience while potentially enticing Blizzard fans to try something new.
Is Titan a New IP?
One of the few pieces of information we have from Blizzard is that Project Titan is a “new” intellectual property. While at first glance this seems to indicate that we will not be revisiting the Worlds of Warcraft, Starcraft or Sanctuary this may not be the case. The wording and laws surrounding intellectual property are vague in places and labyrinthine in others. It’s entirely possible that a spinoff could be considered a new IP. There is also the chance that Blizzard is simply fibbing for the good of the project and you know what, I wouldn’t blame them.
At the same time, I want to see something new. While I have played and own every Blizzard game since Warcraft: Orcs and Humans (except MoP, which I haven’t picked up) and enjoyed the Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty campaign immensely, the company has been fleshing out the same worlds for years. Blizzard was once a pioneer in both story and game design, and I think it would go a long way towards reinvigorating a company that seems to be stuck within a redundancy born of their own success.
I want to state plainly that I don’t think Blizzard should relent or even lessen their vested interest in their established properties. As Disney has made clear, if you can do one thing well, you can do two and three…ad infinitum. Blizzard became an industry name with Warcraft, a power with Diablo and cemented their empire with Starcraft. When they stepped into the MMO world they made their past successes seem lackluster in comparison. What I think will make the game truly great is not what world is used as a backdrop, but what gameplay Blizzard conjures forth to bring it to life.
So what are your thoughts on Project Titan? What do you think Blizzard has hiding behind the curtain? And, more importantly, what do YOU want them to have hiding there? Let us know in the comments below or on our forums!
We take a shot at calling what might be coming out of Irvine in a few short years
We here at Titan Everything take great pride in having journalistic integrity. We want to make sure that our facts are checked, and that we provide accurate, well-sourced news and information for fans of Blizzard’s upcoming MMO.
But, none of that is even remotely possible at this point. So, let’s dive into some good old fashioned speculation — powered by nothing but egos and fanboy dreams!
Below is a list of my top 10 predictions for what Titan will — or won’t — be. Some of these might be right. Most of them are almost definitely wrong. And a few of them are sure to cause a bit of a stir.
Take a look… see if you agree or disagree with them, and let me know. Better yet, let us know your own predictions in our forums or in the comments below!
- Titan will not be the spiritual successor to World of Warcraft. I do not believe that players of World of Warcraft will automatically be fans and players of Titan. Sure, Blizzard has a reputation for quality and fun so players will come, but for gamers that are fans of WoW’s gameplay, they won’t find the next iteration of it here.
- Titan will be a different genre than you think. Maybe even a new genre. It might even be genre-less. Don’t expect an MMORPG. Do not look for an MMOFPS. Rather, a mashup of all of those and none of those. Think “games-within-games.” Likely, a game world where you’ll be able to log in and play different things, in different genres, with your character being the common denominator between them all.
- Titan will be casual. With the mainstream success of online gaming, Blizzard will look to tap into the social and casual gamer base, which is an order of magnitude larger than the current online “core” gamer base. One quote I’ve gotten from someone in the know said about Titan: “If you want to play the entire game as a chef, then that’s what you can do.”
- Titan will be hardcore. Despite what I mention above, Blizzard will also cater to their core base. They’ll do this through the “game-within-the-game” construct that will proivde pockets of high challenge and required dedication for these players. However, it will not be “featured” as the pinnacle of gameplay in the way that raiding is in World of Warcraft today. It will take the experience of online cooperative and competitive gameplay to a new level.
- Titan won’t be Halo. Despite the conspiracy theory my esteemed colleague has constructed, I just don’t see Blizzard as a studio that takes on someone else’s IP, even one as epic as Halo. This thought also goes back to the idea that they want to keep it mainstream accessible. Halo is legendary in gamer circles, but not a wide-reaching enough property to peg mainstream familiarity.
- Titan will be single-server. Well, the infrastructure may be more than one physical server, but to the players, it’s all going to appear as one big world. You can log in and play with anyone at any time, anywhere. Blizzard has already taken steps with the tech behind WoW to test this to some extent, so you can be sure Titan will be designed with it in mind from the ground up.
- Titan will be “multi-channel.” What do I mean by this, exactly? Well, it means that Titan will offer entry points from any device at any time. This won’t just be access to chat or the auction house… you’ll be able to log in from your iPad and get a part of the real game experience. Using World of Warcraft as an example, we might see an iPad version of pet battles, which ties directly to your game account. You can’t play WoW from the iPad, but you’ll be able to fully participate in pet battles. Keeping you connected, no matter who you are or what device you use, will be a priority.
- Titan won’t have a subscription. This might sound like a no-brainer at this point, given the state of the industry where the recent pattern for subscription games has been 1) Release, 2) Bleed, 3) Convert, but I also don’t necessarily think it’s going to be be micro-transaction based. It’s going to be Free-2-Play The Blizzard Way©! See #9 for explanation.
- Titan will have a real-money economy. Many of the technologies Blizzard has been working on for their other games are tests for Titan. The one at the top of this list is the real money auction house present in Diablo III. Yes, there were problems with the launch of it, however what it represents is something much larger. That’s why Blizzard preferred to work out the kinks and learn about the system before introducing version 2.0 in Titan. Except this time around, the entire in-game economy itself will function around real-money. It will be connected to the game in nearly every way, and will be the largest source of revenue for Blizzard.
- Titan will be released in 2015. What’s my basis for this? I feel strongly that Titan will be announced in 2013, probably at Blizzcon. But I don’t believe Blizzard will pull the typical 3-year pre-launch MMO hype/marketing cycle. That seems to have backfired in several recent instances, and I think going forward it will be more important to get the product to market and in the hands of consumers than to spin it up for years on end. Not doing so almost guarantees some form of backlash if the game doesn’t surpass everyone’s expectations. Even if you’re Blizzard.
Well there you have it! What are you waiting for, let the tinfoil hat parade commence!
Looking at the evidence that is out there so far, I predict Project Titan will be a Halo MMO or at a minimum set in the Halo Universe
*cue Halo music*
This, without a doubt, is my absolutely favorite rumor about Project Titan! Not only am I a huge MMO fan but I am a huge Halo fan as well. I’ve probably put more hours into Halo games over the past decade than I have put into all the MMO’s I’ve ever played in the same time frame…and that’s a lot of freaking hours!
I think this rumor requires a little bit of history to fully understand so I’ll give it my best shot.
Ensemble Studios and the Original Project Titan
From 2004 to 2007 Ensemble Studios was working on an MMO project referred to as Project Titan – which was later discovered to be a Halo MMO. At the time Ensemble was owned by Microsoft and Microsoft was trying hard to break into the MMO space with a hit game. What better way than to try and ride the wave of success they already had with the Halo franchise? Makes sense to me.
Now fast forward to 2009 and Ensemble Studios was officially closed down /sadface. Many of Ensemble’s key team members from Project Titan were then in turn hired by Blizzard. The most notable hire at the time was Greg Street, who many of you know better as “Ghostcrawler” on the official WoW forums. Street just happened to be the Lead Designer of Ensemble Studio’s Project Titan MMO and he is currently the Lead Systems Designer on World of Warcraft. Along with Street several other prominent team members also came to Blizzard from the art and programming departments that were working on the Titan MMO project. Coincidence? Maybe.
Bungie & Blizzard Friends…For at Least 10 Years
Not long after Ensemble closed its doors Bungie, the creators of Halo and the Halo Universe, signed a 10 year partnership with Activision. The partnership was to “bring Bungie’s next big action game universe to market”.
Now at first glance this may not seem like much, just two huge forces in the gaming industry coming together to make even more money (keep in mind Activision has since merged with Blizzard to form Activision | Blizzard). But, if you start to look at what we know (or think we know from rumors) about Blizzard’s Project Titan you can start to see a bigger picture forming.
Putting the Puzzle Together
Project Titan is a “new franchise” for Blizzard, that’s supposedly set in a Sci-Fi Universe, and it’s rumored to be an MMOFPS. Just for clarity, we know it’s MMO but the FPS portion is still 100% rumor mill. Blizzard is now partnering with arguably one of the leading Sci-Fi game developers in the world to build a “new action game universe”, who also just happen to be the creators of Halo – one of the most successful Sci-Fi FPS franchises ever created. Add to this that Blizzard is also hiring former senior staff who worked on the previous Project Titan, which in fact turned out to be a Halo MMO. Coincidence? Again, maybe.
Now to be fair, I am a believer that Blizzard’s new project will be an MMO set inside the Halo Universe in some form or fashion, but even I know that all of the items listed above are still not proof. However, I am meagerly attempting to form a connecting-of-the-dots scenario.
30 Rock and Blizzard?
This next bit of information is, for me, what really starts to tie all of the above together. In February of 2007 (the year that Blizzard’s Project Titan was first mentioned publically and the year that Ensemble Studio’s reportedly stopped working on their Project Titan aka the Halo MMO) on an episode of 30 Rock entitled “Hardball” in the credits you will see “Promotional consideration furnished by Blizzard Entertainment”.
The funny thing about it is if you watched that episode of the show there was no mention or playing of any existing Blizzard games. No World of Warcraft, no StarCraft, no Diablo – literally no Blizzard products were in the episode.
What was the game that was featured in that episode? Halo! Coincidence? Again, maybe, but keep in mind this was in 2007, almost three years before Bungie signed a partnership deal with Activision. How or why would promotional consideration be provided by Blizzard Entertainment at that time? The company, at least publically, was not involved with Bungie, Halo, or anything Halo related. They were however working on a “next generation” MMO and posting job openings for Sci-Fi texture artists on a “Next-Gen MMO” in the careers section of their corporate site.
Add it all up and it seems to me that Blizzard’s Project Titan will end up being some sort of MMO set inside the Halo Universe if not a fully fledged Halo MMO. The gang from the Legendary Podcast on GameBreaker.tv seems to be in agreement as well, check out the video below!
Tin foil hats for everyone!
Let the journey begin…
First, let me start off by welcoming you to Titan Everything! I’m incredibly excited to get the site up, running, and fully launched this week! *cue applause*
Where to Begin?
As a life-long gamer and avid (some would say “hardcore”) MMO player I’ve been in a weird space the past few years. After almost 7 years of playing World of Warcraft, I finally cancelled my account just a few months after Cataclysm released. It was a tough decision for me at the time. I had many friends who still actively played but my old guild was gone, I had moved to a different server, and the game just didn’t feel the same anymore. Sadly, it’s been almost a year and a half since I’ve set foot in Azeroth.
At the time, Star Wars: The Old Republic was supposedly launching in Q2 of 2011. I figured I would casually play some other titles while I waited for SWTOR to launch. I bounced around a few MMOs, mainly I was playing EVE Online but I also dabbled a bit in Age of Conan. Neither of which held my attention for very long.
After a few months the SWTOR release was officially announced but it had been bumped out to the end of 2011 *tear*. With my attention waning in EvE and AoC I decided to take a break entirely from MMOs so I could come back fresh for TOR. A sincere thank you to my Xbox 360 for getting me through that time of my life!
When SWTOR did finally release it launched to all of the hoopla you would expect a highly anticipated AAA MMO title to release to. I, along with 2 million other people, happily dove in head first. Within 8 weeks though, the game was already stale and becoming incredibly boring. I found myself logging in less and less and when I did actually play I was doing one of two chores: grinding credits on Hoth or running the same 10 or so daily missions. Needless to say, I cancelled my account not long after and surprisingly I have not missed playing the game one bit.
That Brings us to Today
So here I am, once again MMO-less. I’m waiting for a game to come out that will hopefully bring me back to the feeling I had when I played WoW. I want something epic, mind-blowing! What better game and company to put some hope into than the ones who gave me that feeling the first time? Blizzard and their super secret “Next-Gen MMO” Project Titan, this is what Titan Everything is all about.
Now, I will freely admit that I currently know next to nothing about Project Titan. Blizzard has been historically tight lipped about the project barely making mention of it over the past several years. Currently Project Titan has no official name, no official release date (although there have been leaks that say Q4 2013), no official anything – I don’t even honestly know what the game is or will be at this point (although I do some have some educated guesses). Again…this is what Titan Everything is all about.
I want to know more about the game. What it is? Who’s working on it? What kind of lore will this new universe hold? What will the gameplay be like? I could go on and on. I’m excited at the prospect of new Blizzard MMO – they’ve clearly learned a lot with World of Warcraft and now all of that experience can be (and is being) put into Project Titan. I have faith that Blizzard will once again captivate millions of players with a new game, a new MMO, Project Titan.
With Titan Everything I plan to cover everything pertaining to Project Titan. Including…
…and so much more. I look forward to learning more about the game and helping to build a solid community around it with all of you!
Let the journey begin…
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