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


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.






14 Comments

So nice to see a new front page article, it's been a while :)

 

Great article and together with all the hires of devs from various companies with fps background and now this it indeed seems like Blizzard is doing some kind of shooter with probably veichles and ships included.

I love reading your articles and studying how your mind works! However, it's hard to imagine "Titan's successor" having a Hearthstone team behind it. And I'm I the only one a bit turned off by the term "Overwatch"? It's a bit too CoD for me 

Well, it's obviously a shame that the Titan we were obsessing over probably doesn't exist anymore or Titan as a WoW replacement for that matter. With them refocusing their efforts on WoW again and making statements that they will support it for a very long time I wouldn't expect Titan to be the next big thing for them. The success of their f2p titles also took the pressure off.

 

We could abandon the site since the game is no more but with so much invested in it I am dying to know what project formerly known as Titan is transformed into and since it's a blizzard title I will buy it anyway so :p

 

Plans always change, though, and obviously this is all speculation :) but we were prepared for this radical change, especially with rapid changes to gaming landscape, weren't we? Everything is an mmo these days.

 

Hopefully they throw us a bone at Blizzcon, it's been a fun experience regardless, going nuts over something we knew nothing about (mostly).

Oh man, new front page article. It's these speculations that brought me to this site and eventually made me a contributing tin-foil hat member.

 

First off Mynsc (or should I call you Sherlock?), this was a great write up. I agree that if we had to pick a successor with our limited knowledge, Overwatch fits the bill. Let's start digging around and find some more answers!

 

Excited and confused,

 

Watson.

I really dislike the idea of an FPS. I think most Blizzard customers, including me, are sticking to their titles because they favor RTS and RPG games to FPS ones. I might be a bit extreme with this, because I particularly hate FPS games save for a few exceptional ones. It's not that I don't have faith in Blizz. I guess they could make a good FPS if they wanted. The fact is, if you don't like FPS games, you don't like them, Blizz game or not. Furthermore, I always thought shooters are small pass-times rather than online games lasting for years. (I always despised the CoD series for example, except for the first 2, then it went downhill for me, same crap over and over again) 

On the other hand, this could also be an attempt by Blizz to "appeal for a wider audience" (as they so often say), but then again, this would not be for a wider audience, but for another audience.

We could abandon the site since the game is no more but with so much invested in it I am dying to know what project formerly known as Titan is transformed into and since it's a blizzard title I will buy it anyway so :p

 

....

 

Hopefully they throw us a bone at Blizzcon, it's been a fun experience regardless, going nuts over something we knew nothing about (mostly).

 

You make it sound like it's over. It's only just starting! Unless Overwatch is a new MOBA. If that's the case, closing shop 2 seconds after the announcement! :whistle:

 

It may not be an MMO any longer, but as you say, everything is partially an MMO these days. Was just reading up on Dark Souls 2, which is supposedly a single-player game. Yet it has cutthroat PvP like PoE and players can leave messages on the map and you can also see their ghosts and stuff.

 

This does not make it an MMO, but it's just a single-player game. Since Overwatch seems to be focused on Online PvP, it should have more MMOish features as well. Hopefully. :) I highly doubt it will be just a CoD-like multiplayer lobby game.

 

Something like Destiny wouldn't be bad at all.

 

First off Mynsc (or should I call you Sherlock?), this was a great write up.

 

Excited and confused,

 

Watson.

 

Only piecing together what all you Watsons have brought on the forum. :)

 

I really dislike the idea of an FPS. I think most Blizzard customers, including me, are sticking to their titles because they favor RTS and RPG games to FPS ones. I might be a bit extreme with this, because I particularly hate FPS games save for a few exceptional ones. It's not that I don't have faith in Blizz. I guess they could make a good FPS if they wanted. The fact is, if you don't like FPS games, you don't like them, Blizz game or not. Furthermore, I always thought shooters are small pass-times rather than online games lasting for years. (I always despised the CoD series for example, except for the first 2, then it went downhill for me, same crap over and over again) 

On the other hand, this could also be an attempt by Blizz to "appeal for a wider audience" (as they so often say), but then again, this would not be for a wider audience, but for another audience.

 

Can't say shooters are my favorite genre either (although I used to lose countless days playing Quake 2 / Half-Life Deathmatch / CS 1.6), however I doubt they will be making a pure shooter. It will most likely have strong RPG elements, such as meaningful character advancement. I would also be surprised if it wouldn't allow or even favor 3rd person combat, instead of the classic first-person.

 

All these, and others, combined might make it go down easier even for non-FPS players.

Here is what my "prediction" is for Overwatch (aka the Unannounced Title):

With Blizzard's shifting focus to smaller games with shorter development times, they are on the look out for fun games that they can simply acquire rather than conceiving and building from scratch. They found one that had great gameplay, some Blizzard employees enjoyed playing in their spare time, and it already had a good name to boot. The intellectual property was purchased from a Mr. Guillen, a Flash developer who never registered the name but it was in active use for some time which assists legally in their claiming and keeping of the name.

It's not a FPS or 3D shooter. It's a real time tactical top-down military multiplayer game for PC, tablet and mobile device users. Blizzard expects that the brunt of players for this game will eventually be mobile and tablet users. It will be a free game with microtransactions similar to Hearthstone. Blizzard likes this mobile territory and have another small game like Hearthstone & Overwatch planned.

Imagine a top-down Lemmings with rifles and shotguns. Using your touchscreen, you select and issue commands to soldiers, engineers, flamers, rocket troops, etc. They target and autofire for you while you issue commands to this cannonfodder to rush, take cover, place turrets/mines/bombs and other forms of traps. They traverse through building complexes, mazes, jungles, streets, and other large arena style combat zones fighting other players. There will be different game modes available, such as the classic Flash style, tower defense, defend your base, capture, free for all, teams, etc.

 

Control is easy and smooth, autofiring and death animations are great. It will be a fun distraction, with some fast paced action making the game a short playtime like Hearthstone. Contests and tournaments are planned with prizes. The game will be announced prior to Blizzcon 2014 and it will be playable at the convention. There is a Map Editor where players can create their own battlegrounds and content, and will be available in a Blizzard "Arcade storefront" for other Overwatch players to rate, review, and download. I might be forgetting some other things, but I trust you have a solid picture of what this game is now.

I have to ask. Are you basing all this on more than just the fact that the trademark has the same name as an already existing flash-game?

It's not based on the registration alone and much of what I wrote cannot be found in the trademark.

 

Here's a video of the basic game concept in case anyone was interested.

 

Except, Blizzards new version will have vastly improved graphics, sound, animations, gameplay, more units, more weapons, unit/player upgrades, game modes, matchmaking, have a Map Editor, and it will be for Android, iOS, tablets, etc.

 

Many are expecting something Starcraft related, but this is a "new" IP with new units and new merchandising opportunities. Like when Valve created the new Scout and Heavy units. Now you can get peripherals and clothing with those unique characters displayed proudly.

 

Of course, knowing Blizzard they will be throwing in some easter eggs from their more famous franchises.

World of Starcraft, but, now minimized.

 

It always was World of Starcraft (in essence only), but now that they have shrunk the game, they are probably going to firmly adopt the name "Starcraft" and make it very similar to WoW.

 

It will probably have FPS elements, as well as a melee combat similar to Elder Scrolls games.

 

And obviously, vehicles and ships are necessary for any Starcraft game!

It has never been about getting things right on this website, it has been about our enthusiasm and hope for something that is revolutionary and something that can adeptly devour our free time.  We're going to follow the trail, we're going to keep the effort going and eventually we'll be rewarded with something - none of us have any accurate idea what that something might be, though.

 

Here's to our watch. 

It sounds to me like Titan may have been an an entirely different engine and concept than what WoW is. It may have been too ambitious with too much risk attached to it. And why not iterate on the MMO engine you already have. Once WoW runs it's course with this last expansion and movie, they can retool the engine for a StarCraft MMO which will be much more evolutionary than revolutionary. Meanwhile they will be on to to other things with their other projects.

Pandora, Prometheus, Rhea, Atlas, Hyperion or whichever other Saturn moons Blizzard decided to pick next. 

 

Atlas is not possible. Their internal ticket / GM system is called Atlas. :) 

Hmm, does anyone think one of the unannounced games could be Nomad reborn? I'm kind of getting an 'aliens, guns, and mechs' vibe from the job descriptions, which albeit could mean anything, but Nomad came to mind tonight. Nomad was a squad-based sci-fi game they were messing with pre-WoW, but the team was split, unable to figure out which direction to take it. (It ended up being 'drop everything and start making World of Warcraft')
 

http://www.joystiq.c...i-fi-rpg-nomad/

http://www.shacknews...rld-of-warcraft

 

"World of Warcaft didn't start as such. The team originally conceptualized a squad-based game based on a tabletop war-game called Necromunda," Craddock said. "In the game, codenamed Nomad, players would build up squads of soldiers, upgrade their abilities, find new guns, and go online to challenge other players' armies. Others on the team favored an adventure/RPG more in the vein of Final Fantasy. Many of the team members were growing frustrated. Some wanted to settle on a direction and hit it hard, others didn't care for one direction or another and wanted to do something else."

 

"Nomad was illustrated with a screen of two giant zeppelin airships in a cloudy sky."