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Titan, Overwatch, New Unannounced Game - Making Sense of Them All

Apr 24 2014 08:30 PM | mynsc in News

It is very hard to solve the puzzle created from Blizzard's current unannounced project(s), however this is exactly what this article will be attempting. Please keep in mind that it is meant to be an ongoing report, as such it may get updated if we stumble upon new info or anyone has any new details to share, that have not been included in the initial version.
 
  Titan
 

As far as Blizzard is concerned, this codename does not exist anymore. I think Mike Morhaime made this quite clear at Blizzcon, where he also avoided calling it an MMO any longer. The idea that Titan is no longer an MMO had already been suggested, at one of Activision Blizzard's financial Conference Calls.
 
So it's clear that the project has been reset and most likely given a new codename: Pandora, Prometheus, Rhea, Atlas or whichever other Saturn moons Blizzard decided to pick next. Any would be fitting, since Titan is by far the biggest one, and the impression is that they are now aiming for something smaller, more sustainable and that can actually be finished within our life-time. :)
 
Considering all this, it seems that it's time to leave Titan behind and focus on the new projects that have been popping up. One of them is most likely the spiritual successor of Titan, in the sense that it would be a huge pointless waste to discard all the lore and video / audio assets that have been created in the last few years for Titan. This most likely applies to a good chunk of the engine / gameplay code as well.
 
So far, the below two candidates have lined up for this position.

 
  Overwatch
 


It could be a new The Dark Below farse, or it could be the real deal. The fact that the application was filled on April 1st (April 2nd in EU) does not increase its odds of being real, however until it disappears, it needs to be taken into account. The trademark was been filed twice in the US (for separate categories) and once in the EU, so considering there is a fee associated with this process, someone would have to be wasting several hundred dollars to make a joke that has already been made recently. I would not want to be that guy's financial counselor. Or maybe I would.
 
The details of the trademark do not offer any spectacular reveals. It is included in the same standard categories as most of Blizzard's prior titles and as of now is still under examination.
 


The only additional info at the moment we can extract is from the name itself. Looking on Wikipedia, the term is defined as below:
 

In modern warfare, overwatch is the state of one small unit or military vehicle supporting another unit, while they are executing fire and movement tactics. An overwatching, or supporting unit has taken a position where it can observe the terrain ahead, especially likely enemy positions. This allows it to provide effective covering fire for advancing friendly units. The term overwatch originates in U.S. military doctrine.

It is incredibly hard not to think of some kind of modern co-op shooter when reading this.

 
  "Unannounced Game Title"
 
This is the name of one of the Job sections on Blizzard's official recruitment page. This has replaced the previous "Next-Gen MMO" section, which disappeared a few months after the Titan reset was announced.
 
Below I've highlighted some of the more interesting lines from within the job posts currently active. Please keep in mind that these do not necessarily make a direct reference to the game itself and they are mostly guidelines for the requirements or responsibilities of the job itself.

 

Lead Producer


with Hearthstone, Blizzard has revived its tradition of creating small and nimble game teams and we are following in those footsteps.

experience shipping at least one top quality online title in a senior or lead producer role

 

Level Designer


passionate level designer with experience building compelling multi-player gameplay spaces.

replayable gameplay experiences within your levels

competitive multi-player games

you have a strong sense for what makes a map fun to play

 
For the other mentions, make sure to check the Blizzard Jobs Directory page.
 
Some things stand out of course, such as the numerous references towards replayable levels, in a multi-player setting and also the fact that this team is intended to be a small and nimble one, similar to Hearthstone's. It's hard to believe it will really be that small, especially since the game seems much more complex, however this can hint at the fact that many of the assets for it are being taken from Titan.
 
The other piece of info we have on this new unannounced project is that Michael Booth is its Game Director:
 

 

Who is Michael Booth you ask? Good question! Turns out he is the founder of a company called Turtle Rock Studios, which before being bought by Valve, created Left 4 Dead and contributed to Counter-Strike: Condition Zero.
 
  Conclusion


At the moment, this is the extent of the non-speculative information we have on Blizzard's new project(s).
 
It's clear that both the Overwatch name and the Unannounced Title's open jobs and director hint towards a new online, co-op shooter. This also makes the chance that they are the same project quite high. And in order to stick to the Occam's Razor's fewer assumptions rule, it's also safer to consider Overwatch the successor of Titan. Especially since Titan had also been rumored to be a FPS at one point.
 
This may not be the case though and unfortunately, as always when it comes to Blizzard's unannounced projects, no clear conclusions can be drawn. However do keep an eye on this article, as we will be doing our best to update it with new info! If you have any, please leave it in the comments or contact me directly through email or PM.



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Titan @ Blizzcon 2013 [updated]

Nov 08 2013 10:57 PM | mynsc in Blizzcon

First day, first mention. Nothing big, however it is good to know that Titan is still in the works, even in whatever new form it is. New for Blizzard of course, since it can't be new to us since we never met the old one, unfortunately. Maybe someday, at another Blizzcon, they'll tell us what they initially had planned. :)
 
Anyway, here's Mike Morhaime talking a bit about Titan. Hopefully more to come, although it's clear they don't have any plans to really talk about the game at this year's event.
 

 

Update: With Blizzcon now over, It seems that this was the only Titan update they planned on giving and as such got it out of the way quickly, right from the start, in order for everyone to focus on their 5 other games for the rest of the event. Can't really argue with the logic, since it's obvious they didn't have anything real to share about the game.
 
From Mike Morhaime's few words we can draw the conclusion that they do not fully support the Titan codename any more, as he made sure to avoid it and only refer to the game as their "Unannounced Project". They're also avoiding the "MMO" term as well.
 
Hard to say what this means, however at this point I think it's safe to say that the new "Unannounced Game Title" section on their Jobs Directory page is connected with Titan, since there was no other project hinted at Blizzcon and the name of the section fits with their new naming policy.
 
Jeffrey Kaplan is still MIA unfortunately, as such I think it's also safe to presume that he is still in charge of Titan The Unannounced Project. That's good news I guess, although I'm sure we were all really hoping to hear a status update on his situation at Blizzard and what has he been working on.
 
This clearly was not the year of Titan, however if this new direction they've taken proves more sustainable, hopefully starting with next year's Blizzcon Titan will not be the black sheep of the Blizzard family any more and the Blizzard folks will start to mention it more openly. The reset seems to have indeed made serious changes to the project, however I'm sure that most of the foundation was kept, as such this new optimised direction should bring it to a marketable state soon enough. I mean, right?

 

Update #2: Not exactly a Titan mention, however during an interview with Gamespot @ Blizzcon, Blizzard COO Paul Sams addressed the company's availability to launch new franchises. Worth a listen, as it also addresses Blizzard's relation with consoles and the Warcraft movie. New franchises part starts at approximately 5:25.

 



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Titan @ Blizzcon - Short Analysis and Predictions

Oct 13 2013 03:28 PM | mynsc in Blizzcon

 

With Blizzcon less than a month way, I think it's the perfect moment to assess Titan's chances of making an appearance. I'll start by taking a look at two of the major hints we have related to this. 
 
First of all, it's important to revisit the last Blizzcon, from two years ago, and see what happened then. The "show" actually started a month before the convention, as news sites started speculating that we'll see an official announcement during Blizzcon. At that point, Bashiok decided to step in and mention that no, there won't be any Titan unveiling, which in the end proved to be true. 
 
During the event itself, no mention of Titan was made until the very end. In the absolute last interview shown on the live stream, Rob Pardo finally approached the subject and gave us a few phrases of info. Not much, however enough to keep the ball rolling and keep us occupied for quite a bit. :) 
 
The second factor that might play an important role in how much air-time Titan receives is the amount of space that needs to be reserved for the already announced games. And looking at this, it's probably going to be the busiest Blizzcon in history. 
 
Two of the major three franchises have expansions to show-off (Diablo and World of Wacraft). And that's not to say Starcraft 2 won't make an appearance, as there is a "small" tournament called the WCS Global Finals which will take place throughout the entire weekend.  
 
However, there is even more! I wouldn't be surprised if HearthStone will have its official launch during Blizzcon or at least having a date announced for it. Regardless of this, since the game is already hugely popular, everyone will want to ask questions about it and I'm sure the Blizzard folks have already put time aside in order to answer them.
 

 
And if this was not already enough, the mysterious Blizzard All-Stars is screaming to get out (or rather we're screaming for it to come out) and even by Blizzard time, its announcement is way overdue. With the "Heroes of the Storm" trademark confirmed, it's really looking like the info gates will finally be blown open on this project. 
 
These two factors considered and also adding to the equation the elephant in the room, unfortunately the chances are not good for Titan to make a noteworthy appearance at this year's Blizzcon. The pre-show period is already much more calm than two years ago. Nobody is even bothering to ask if Titan will be there as the answer is pretty clear in most people's minds. For all we know, the game is actually in a less advanced state than two years ago, "thanks" to the recent reset.
 
That being said, looking at the optimistic side as well, there are hints that development on the project might have restarted. Blizzard also "owes" us a better explanation as to what exactly happened to the project and when we'll hear about it again. It's in their best interest I believe to keep Titan on everyone's radar, as it adds a certain degree of hope and excitement in relation to the company's future, so they should be looking to clear the surrounding waters a bit. 
 
With the analysis out of the way (let me know in the comments if you have something else to add), it's time we jump to the fun part! Predictions! :o

Below you can find mine. If you have any others to add or don't agree with the chances, let me know in the comments and I'll input yours in as well. It's not a full-on contest, however it will be pretty fun to see how wrong we were after Blizzcon passes! :)

Titan @ Blizzcon predictions (0 - not going to happen, 10 - sure thing)
AuthorPredictionChance
mynscTitan officially announced0
1- jezbelle
mynscStatus update from Rob Pardo, just before the end8 - me, Venald

10 - Valkata, papaz, jezbelle
5 - Eremite, ThunderGod

mynscAlpha / beta / launch estimate2
0 - Valkata, jezbelle, ThunderGod
1- papaz, Eremite
mynscClarification on some of the rumors we've heard this year:
not a brand new franchise, will be out on consoles, Jay Wilson working on it, etc.
5 - me, jezbelle
3 - Valkata, ThunderGod
2 - papaz, 1 - Eremite
5 - Venald
mynscA sign that Jeffrey Kaplan is still alive.9 - me, papaz 

5 - Valkata, 1 - Eremite
8 - Venald, 0 - ThunderGod

mynscConcept Art2
0 - Valkata, papaz, Eremite, ThunderGod
1- jezbelle
mynscAny other tease4

0 - Valkata, papaz
1 - Eremite, 8.5 - Venald
3 - jezbelle, 5 - ThunderGod


 
Also guys, TF will be represented at Blizzcon, thanks to some of our awesome members that managed to snag tickets: EremitejonnyshizSarnakyle (and special "guest" appearances from sayaf and Velocity). They've been kind (and awesome) enough to put themselves at your disposal so do let them know if you have any requests in mind. They don't even have to be remotely reasonable! If not, wish them a splendid weekend and tell them how much you envy them! :)



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