And just like that, the sound of birds chirping in the parks of Irvine were silenced.
Citing an unnamed source, GamesBeat is reporting that development of Blizzard’s next-gen and unannounced MMO – known around these parts as Project Titan, of course – has been “reset.” And by reset, we mean most of the developers are being re-assigned to other Blizzard projects.
“Mike Morhaime, the head of Blizzard (a division of Activision Blizzard), told employees a few days ago that Blizzard is very “iterative” in how it creates games and it never hesitates to do the right thing when it comes to developing games.”
As fans are well aware, this approach is nothing new for Blizzard. They’re notorious for delaying projects due excessive iteration, even late in the process. StarCraft: Ghost, which was fully playable and which yours truly got his grubby little hands on at the first Blizzcon in 2005, was ultimately cancelled completely. More recently, they decided to re-tool the PvP system in Diablo III
With this news, it will also be interesting to see what Blizzard has in store for Blizzcon later this year. With the show’s absence last year, and Morhaime proclaiming it would be “back with a vengeance” in 2013, we’re left to wonder if Project Titan will be part of the agenda as rumored. Or if it ever really was planned to be in the first place.
So what can we, the Titan-starved players, make of all this? Well, according to GamesBeat, we’ll be waiting until at least 2016 to find out which leaves is plenty of time to speculate.
UPDATE:After posting this initial news, Blizzard has made an official response via the Battle.net forums, addressing and confirming the rumor.
We’ve always had a highly iterative development process, and the unannounced MMO is no exception. We’ve come to a point where we need to make some large design and technology changes to the game. We’re using this opportunity to shift some of our resources to assist with other projects while the core team adapts our technology and tools to accommodate these new changes. Note that we haven’t announced any dates for the MMO.
What are your thoughts? Is this a good move by Blizzard to build the best game they can? Or will you have forgotten all about Titan by 2016?
Tickets for BlizzCon 2013 will go on sale in two different batches, April 24th and April 27th!
BlizzCon 2013 is approaching quickly and today via the official BlizzCon 2013 website we found out that tickets will be going on sale this month! Tickets will go on sale in two batches the first of which will be on Wednesday, April 24 at 7 p.m. PDT and batch number two will be on Saturday, April 27 at 10 a.m. PDT. Tickets will be available via the official BlizzCon website. There will also be a limited number of tickets available for an exclusive pre-BlizzCon Benefit Dinner that will go on sale Wednesday, May 1 at 7 p.m. PDT.
BlizzCon 2013 is taking place November 8th and 9th at the Anaheim Convention Center and tickets to the two-day show are priced at $175 each. Tickets to the Benefit Dinner (which includes admission to BlizzCon) are priced at $500 each (proceeds benefit Children’s Hospital of Orange County).
For fans who can’t make it to the show you will need to look into the BlizzCon Virtual Ticket, which will offer live coverage of the event via a multi-channel Internet stream. Further details on the Virtual Ticket, including pricing, availability, and programming information, will be announced at a later date.
Are you planning to attend BlizzCon 2013? Let us know in the comments below or talk about it on our forums!
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!
Blizzard announces the return of its annual convention in 2013; Titan speculation abound!
Last year, Blizzard co-founder and CEO, Mike Morhaime, declared that BlizzCon would be “back with a vengeance.” So far, he’s holding up his end of the bargain!
There was some speculation as to if the show would be held at its usual venue – the Anaheim Convention Center – when it appeared the entire month of October, when BlizzCon is usually held, was already booked. Was it to finally make a move to Vegas, as speculated years ago and again recently?
As if taking a cue from the speculation, Blizzard swooped in to announce that the show would be held November 8th and 9th this year, a little later than usual, but sticking to the Anaheim plan:
BLIZZCON!!!!!! The seventh BlizzCon is coming to the Anaheim Convention Center Friday, November 8 and Saturday, November 9, 2013. Those who join us for this epic community gathering will experience two solid days of hands-on time with the latest Blizzard games, in-depth developer discussion panels, intense eSports action featuring some of the top players in the world, and a variety of other exciting activities and events. Further details on the show, including ticket pricing and availability, will be posted here on BlizzCon.com at a later date.
Needless to say, we here at Titan Everything hope beyond hope that we will finally get a reveal of Project Titan. As a friend pointed out, next year’s BlizzCon will fall on World of Warcraft’s 10th anniversary, so they probably wouldn’t want to deflect attention from that, making this year more likely for a Titan announcement.
We can also expect the usual slate of Blizzard-related goodness to be present, including:
- Hands-on play time with the latest versions of Blizzard Entertainment games
- Global finals for Blizzard eSports, featuring top pro gamers from around the world
- In-depth discussion panels with Blizzard game developers and artists
- Competitive and casual tournaments for players to showcase their talents
- Community contests with great prizes
- Commemorative merchandise based on Blizzard Entertainment’s game universes
With our without Titan, we’ll still be there buying drinks for every Blizzarad developer we can find…you never know what they might tell us!
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