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TitanFocus is Dead; Long Live TitanFocus!

Aug 06 2014 09:55 PM | mynsc in Meta - Website, Community

I've started this website approximately 3 years and 3 months ago (time sure flies!), with the goal of covering Blizzard's upcoming "next-gen MMO". As a gamer focused mainly on MMOs and a wannabe web dev / syadmin, it was an ideal part-time hobby.
 
Well, it still very much is, however a small problem occurred meanwhile. The game went missing.
 
As mentioned in the previous article, all signs point to the fact that Blizzard is no longer looking at developing a grand-scale MMO, at least not in the immediate future. Not even a small-scale MMO, although they definitely seem to be focusing on smaller scale games, as both Overwatch and the other unknown project (Metal Arms?) are rumored to be projects similar to Hearthstone when it comes to time / resource investment.
 
While I'm still very much interested in Blizzard's upcoming projects, the company behind a game does not matter that much to me, as long as the project sounds interesting. Not to mention that I'm not a huge fan of Blizzard's latest developments regarding their 3 big franchises, or in the case of Starcraft, the lack of any developments (shots fired).
 
 New Direction
 
Taking the above into account, I'm officially looking for a new MMO to sink my teeth in and focus on. If Overwatch somehow will fit the bill when announced this year, then great! If not, no problem, I'm sure something else will come up. Tips and suggestions are always appreciated regarding this. The criteria for this new game would be the following:

  • MMO or highly multiplayer-focused game.
  • New Franchise.
  • Freshly announced, however not vaporware. Titan was enough tyvm.

 Meanwhile...
 

Until we find this new magical game, the website will be in a transitional period. What this means exactly:

  • Getting ready for the release of IPB4. This is the software the website is based on and it is about to receive a major upgrade. I've already moved the website onto a more robust and better maintained server, however once the software is upgraded I'm also planning a major redesign. ETA for this is until the end of the year, depending on when IPB4 launches (the devs are almost worse than Blizzard when it comes to sticking to deadlines).
  • While still keeping an eye out for any relevant Titan news, unless anything spectacular pops up, nothing of this sort will probably get posted. You may see articles regarding post-Titan conclusions, new MMOs, or other MMO related content. As always though, anything goes on the forums.
  • The Twitter feed will become much more active, regarding MMO and gaming news. It will also be the easiest way to stay up-to-date with any website developments, so do follow if you are interested in what's next for TF or just hand-picked MMO news.

This transitional period also means that I'm even more open to suggestions than usual, no matter how crazy. Drop me an email, a private message or just leave a comment if you have any on your mind.



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

Apr 24 2014 08:30 PM | mynsc in News

Last updated - 25.04.2014
 
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, Hyperion 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.
 
Update #1 - It's also worth keeping in mind that this job section may include postings form multiple unannounced projects. It would be the natural thing to do if they have multiple new games under development. Something that is probable, considering small hints such as the one below (projects):
 


 
  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 at least some of 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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