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Titan the platform, Titan art team members + portfolio


Titan, more than just a game? 

Stumbled upon an interesting theory. Some people call it a leak, but even after finding the original source, I fail to see how it is more than just someone theorycrafting. It has some valid points though even if it's not supported by actual facts.

Titan refers to two things: It’s an new IP MMO AND a development platform (or building framework).

The big deal is not the new MMO (I’ll come to it after), the big deal is the TITAN platform and Blizzard is willing to bet his future on it.

To be clear, when I’m talking about the TITAN platform I don’t refer to an addon system or a user generated extension.
TITAN the MMO is written from the ground up with the TITAN platform.
TITAN the MMO is the showcase of the TITAN platform to promote its adoption.

The TITAN platform will be open to third party developers. You’ll be able to create any kind of game (MMO, RTS, etc) and Blizzard will take a reasonable cut of the profits.
In exchange Blizzard will provide the platform, a world editor, NPC editor, its clients base, all kind of services from group matching, security, communication and social features, inventory management, achievements and screenshots tools, cross-game housing, etc.

To find an analogy, Blizzard will attempt to do the same as Apple did for smartphones with the Appstore. A kind of portal to virtual worlds with a gaming social network around.

“It’s a game changer.”.

What are the arguments to support the above?

1) Codename TITAN

Not a point but the start of an itch. A codename is not chosen randomly by developers, often it refers to the project or the spirit in which the project is done.

So what could “TITAN” mean for a Blizzard developer?

In Warcraft lore, the Titans are a god-race of creators. They create new races and new worlds. For a developer Titan means an awesome builder (raising terrain, adding buildings, creating life to inhabit the new lands...). The big emphasize about Titan is CREATION.



For the rest of the argumentation, check out the original post.

I'm not sure what to make of it yet. It sounds like a concept Blizzard is heading towards for quite a while, but would they really place such a powerful tool in the hands of their competitors?
If you read the entire article, the author compares this move to Apple creating the Appstore, but he's wrong. A TITAN platform for creating complete and next-gen MMOs would be the equivalent of Apple giving everyone access to its production facilities and allowing them to be used for making other types of smartphones. To be the same as the Appstore means just allowing 3rd party stuff in your game, something which already exists in WoW, SC2 and will most surely be available in Titan too.

So the entire platform idea seems a bit far fetched to me at this point, but anything's possible. In the end, we might get something that's situated somewhere in the middle of the platform concept and the current addon / API system.


Artists working on Titan and some of their portfolio 

Inspired by yet another awesome article of Daeity from the DigCast blog (RIP), I created a list of people recently recruited by Blizzard to join the various Art teams: concept, character, environment, props, etc.

When Frank Pierce said almost a year ago that Blizzard is going to use Titan to lure in talented people, HE WAS NOT JOKING. Only in the last 3,4 months, looking at the art side, they recruited some seriously gifted individuals. I have no clue how the game is going to play, but I can tell you right now it's going to look fantastic! :)

Before we dive in, an important note: these pictures and anything else you'll find on their sites right now have nothing to do with Titan.

The only possible exception is that of Bram Eulaers, the first one listed here... he has some work posted on his site from an "unannounced project" that also has "covermechanics" and as far as I can tell it's stuff posted AFTER he joined the Titan team. It very well might be a personal project of his, but there are no hints towards this. Check out the photos and tell me what you think!


Update: As David pointed out in the comments, the pictures seem to be from an unreleased GRIN game, that was in production when the company went under. Here's a tech demo of it and as you can see, the setting is very similar to these pictures: Youtube link

Bram Eulaers - Environment Artist - Full Portfolio

forest1.png forest3.png mansion1.png mansion3.png

mansion6.png mansion7.png mansion9.png forest5.png

Thiago Klafke - Environment Artist - Full Portfolio



thiago_le1.png thiago_sleek1.png thiago_zest0.png thiago_zest6.png

Josh Singh - Character Artist - Full Portfolio





game%203d%20art.png m%20rex.png oki%20wip.pngscifi%20chick.png

Joshua Anderson - Prop Artist - Full Portfolio


console.png detail.png froglp.png grenlentex.png

Laurel Austin - Concept Artist - Full Portfolio


4%20max.png 238%20max.png hogger.png 716%20max.png

Matt Taylor - Character Artist - Full Portfolio


deamon1.png domwari.png promotheus.png ratking.png

Michael Vicente - Environment Artist - Full Portfolio


1.png 6.png kronk.png shotgun.png

Nick Carver - Concept Artist - Full Portfolio


100horsepower.png cairne.png cathedral.png dustrum.png

Paul Richards - Concept Artist - Full Portfolio


horror.png nazi.png quake4fat.png quake4grunt.png

Philip Klevestav - Environment Artist - Full Portfolio


bc_fissure.png bc_park.png scifi1.png scifiext.png

Renaud Galand - Character Artist - Full Portfolio


112.png 376.png 402.png 911.png

Rory McMahon - Prop Artist - Full Portfolio


burney.png cryopod.png dropship.png malik.png

Artem Volchik - Equipment Artist - Full Portfolio


car.png concept.png revenant.png scarab.png

Travis Castillo - Prop Artist - Full Portfolio


3quarterview.png quakedoor.png scifimodular.png tristramtunnel.png

Vadim Bakhlychev - Character Artist - Full Portfolio


513.png 588.png 671.png 890.png

Vitaliy Naymushin - Senior Character Artist - Full Portfolio


25.png beauty.png corum.png wingstick.png


For Bram Eulaers portfolio pictures, I had actually looked into those a while back (I got a little excited when I first saw them, but I needed to confirm if they were Titan related). I confirmed the dates to be those from GRIN Stockholm's next gen game, which I believe was going to be called "Final Fantasy Fortress."

So unfortunately, they look great but not from Blizzard. :)

By the way, I think there was a woman that was hired onto Titan and she had a bunch of dinosaur art (possibly on a secondary blog or art portfolio site). It was something she put in her portfolio for Blizzard before being hired. I can't remember the specifics, this was all months ago.
Hmm you are indeed right about the pics.

I looked into GRIN before writing the article but didn't find anything related to this cancelled game. Now that you mentioned its name, found this: http://www.youtube.c...luOhtGVg0#t=79s It looks exactly like one of the pictures on Bram's site. Will edit the article, thanks!

About the woman, doesn't ring a bell... will let you know if I stumble upon something.

P.S. What do you think of the Titan being a platform thing? Does it hold any water or is it just another case of people reading too much into stuff? :)
It's a wonderful theory, and they have built their own internal tools for world building (of course). But, the way Cameron described the game made it a very "solid" design - there's a world, a lore, a philosophy, and there are heroes and villains. That's not the description you would use for a game where players would create their own heroes or villains for example. Plus, Blizzard sticks with what they know.. they don't take risks and there's too much at stake for Titan (their new flagship franchise.) If there is any customization within the game, it would be player operated and Blizzard directly profiting. They're all about running things themselves (e.g. digital distribution), and licensing out game engines or allowing competitors to profit from their creations is not something they're ready for yet.
The post on Google+ was mainly indented to my developers friends and other software developers following me on the social network G+. The back-end concepts/reasons of platforms - and cloud computing - are not very intuitive for non-developers so i’m sorry about the “cloudy” confusions it could lead to. Also it was obviously just speculations as various hints shows (“ leaked sort-off”, “ ;)”, “if Blizzard don’t do it”...)

In a nutshell platforms are already everywhere even if users don’t see them. I’ve just used Dropbox for example, it leverage the Amazon platform (the exact same tools that Amazon uses for their services). What that means is that the most part of Dropbox is not maintained by the Dropbox team but by the Amazon platform (your docs are hosted at Amazon not at Dropbox, database too, etc). Leveraging an existing platform enable developers to concentrate on the heart of their application (the user experience, the front-end, the unique services it offer) while being the most time-effective, cost-effective and scalable-effective. Lambda developers are nowadays using platforms everyday and business angels stopped founding start-ups not using existing platforms without very valid reasons.

Even if video games development is very complex there’s no reason that Blizzard won’t follow in that direction (Valve is already doing it partially on Steamwork and Steam Cloud for developers). Having user data constrained to a given server for example is not the way it works in 2011 and they must have paid a lot of dev time to extract as much as they could (WoW LFG, LFR, etc). So, the speculation is that they are building a platform/cloud which will be common to all their games (even if you could plug different 3D engines but they could also go toward a unified engine). When you have the platform you’re sort of building your games on top of it much quicker and in a more interoperable/social way for the users.

It’s very possible - again if they effectively do it - that they would keep this platform for themselves. I bet not, mainly because I wish to play with it ;) and because Valve opened his platform to other developers, not even mentioning it make sens economically: developers have no choice but to make their application run on Blizzard platform where Blizzard takes a percentage and where Blizzard can cut the access anytime (like for the Appstore).

Also I don’t except AAA third-party full size MMO going out of it. The art team cost is the most expensive there and not accessible to indie devs. I would except to see all king of different games at a reasonable scale and all connected to Battle.net though.

I’m not sure I’ve been more clear than before, some concepts are difficult to understand without developing on a platform. There was an interesting memo leaked by a Google developer not long ago - a little dramatic - but it shows how strategic this kind of discussion are and why Amazon is so strong today:

Anyway, platform or not, the TITAN MMO should be beautiful: I just had a look at the portfolio of the different artists :)
Hello and welcome to the site.

Thanks for the long and very clarifying message.

I do agree with most of your reasoning and even part of the conclusion... we take different paths only at the end, where you say that the Titan platform could be used to build entirely self-reliant games. I don't think this fits Blizzard's style and history.

Not that Blizzard hasn't built any platforms so far. They have and they're pretty huge. B.NET is one example, having at least partially solved the problem you mention of data being isolated on a single server and also serving as a very rich resource for present and future Blizzard games to tap into. Another even better example is Starcraft 2's editor... it's currently the platform used by players to create hundreds of custom mini-games and will serve as the building block for the upcoming Marketplace. Same goes for WoW's API for addon developers.

All these are different, but share one important feature: they are all "internal", in the sense that everything created with them is contained within Blizzard's games. There is no equal sign between SC2 and any mod created with the SC2 editor. The Titan platform you're referring to would add this sign.

It might make sense for Valve to do it, but even if in theory both companies are in the video game business, Blizzard and Valve are extremely different. For starters, Valve doesn't currently have an MMO as its main source of income. Blizzard has and it also plans on increasing it further with the launch of another one, Titan. MMOs are different from regular games because the second category only needs to create hype once every 2 years and it also doesn't need to worry that much about competition because usually you'll play Dragon Age AND Mass Effect with no problems. Playing 2 MMOs is a less popular undertaking and if you're using the subscription model you also can't afford to have players active only 2 months / year or something like that. This is why so many MMOs have failed in the past and also why the F2P model is gaining so much ground so fast.

So what I'm getting at is that creating a MMO platform, as a company that has 2 MMOs in its portfolio can be a very risky and possibly lethal decision. Sure, you'll charge for licensing the platform and if a MMO gets created with it and becomes extremely popular you might even get "rich", but you'd become a service provider for devs and not a company that comes in direct contact with the players. Such a change for Blizzard would clearly be a demotion and also something that doesn't make any sense... I can't imagine Blizzcon becoming a dev reunion instead of the crazy fan gathering that it is now.

For these reasons and others (don't want to make this reply even longer than it is) I cannot imagine a Titan platform that produces entities which are not directly dependant to Titan the game. Even a direct relation to B.NET is highly unlikely in my view since this would introduce too many "foreigners" inside battle.net. For 20 years Blizzard has always been about making games and creating its own air-tight ecosystem around them... I might be over-the-top conservative but I do not see them throwing all this away and transforming B.net into Steam or Titan into a game engine.
"So what I'm getting at is that creating a MMO platform, as a company that has 2 MMOs in its portfolio can be a very risky and possibly lethal decision."

I didn't mean a platform to specifically create MMO ("I don’t except AAA third-party full size MMO going out of it. The art team cost is the most expensive there and not accessible to indie devs. I would except to see all king of different games at a reasonable scale").

Even SC2, a RTS engine is used to make an indie MMO (SC Universe). From a developer point of vue and in the current IT landscape there's too many common points to continue to develop games completely independently form each others. But on this I suspect we have a different culture and experience and therefore we won't be able to reach a mutual understanding.

Concerning the subs I can see Blizzard going the Spotify way model. Meaning for the price of what was WoW sub you could play any of their game. It's the only way I see for them to not compete with their own products and it's also more social (you can play any game with any friend paying the sub) and would complement that with microtransactions for additional services or third party games (if they go this way).

I also wonder why it took so long the just create the tool for a single game, maybe it's a little more than the tool for just one single game.

I didn't mean a platform to specifically create MMO. Even SC2, a RTS engine is used to make an indie MMO (SC Universe).

True, but this means that any platform they release, it might be used to make a competing MMO. :D I don't know, the SC2 model seems ideal to me... the platform is so incredibly rich and gives complete freedom to the wannabe devs (SC Universe is indeed a great example), but yet any creation is contained inside Blizzard's original game, basically adding to its features. Why would you not choose this model again, for Titan?

Concerning the subs I can see Blizzard going the Spotify way model. Meaning for the price of what was WoW sub you could play any of their game.

That's actually a very good idea and looking at the Annual Pass offer they recently launched, it's one that has a high chance of happening.

I also wonder why it took so long the just create the tool for a single game, maybe it's a little more than the tool for just one single game.

That might be it, but there could be a lot of other reasons too. Maybe until recently (2009, 2010) they didn't really invest a lot of time and resources in the project, maybe the project is daring and huge and so the tools need to have the same characteristics or maybe a little bit of both. :)

One thing's for sure though... we can only guess right now.

"Why would you not choose this model again, for Titan?"

To avoid duplicating the redundant parts of the development efforts on each game (having one big dev team for the engine(s)/tools/utilities/datastore instead of as many games they have)

To avoid to ship an original game to give access to the extension of what is now a complete new game (for example Dota Blizzard written with the SC2 editor).

To enable a better interroperablility within their games (for example with the Steam platform you can exchange certain objects cross-games http://store.steampo....com/news/6201/)

"One thing's for sure though... we can only guess right now."

He he we agree, they are damn good for keeping their sources with Titan but I bet we'll love it whatever it is :)
Francois Schnell said (read all of this here):

Titan refers to two things: It’s an new IP MMO AND a development platform (or building framework).

This is why I think that Titan will be a mix of Minecraft, Second Life and Mafia (illusion softworks) maybe with a tiny bit of comic-style art. Why?

Mafia - not playing in the 1930s, but much more in the modern days, say 2050. This adds the action/fighting part and territorial control to it (as I read somewhere there WILL be guns in the game. sorry, no link).

Second Life - adds the huge character customization option part to it (the game is playable since 2011, blizz coo sams said, and i read somewhere that an european ex GM said he was able to see the work and said "the characters had so much charisma, it was almost unbelievable!". so that indicates that it's pretty safe to say there are player-customized characters with very fine details and a lot of settings to make your char absolutely unique. although i have no link for this answer from the ex GM. I'm still looking for it, maybe you can help me out here if you have the link, it's here on titanfocus!) and in January 2007 Blizzard's vice president of entertainment, Itzik Ben Bassat, described Titan as "something innovative and new that really brings entertainment to another level." So for me, that sounds like we're getting also improvements for animations and emotes, not just text-emotes like in WoW. That would be a step ahead from now in terms of entertainment.

Minecraft - not as bulky as Minecraft, but far more detailed. This would add in the game aspect of the highly customizable feature for the outdoor world in titan (since the codename TITAN refers to "create something", and its a building framework, so this makes sense). This would be a great addition to this answer from blizz (Jeffrey Kaplan) because players could create ancient stuff or even sci-fi environments: "So is Blizzard's new MMO going to be sci-fi, near-future, post-apocalyptic or historical? "All of those combined!" he said, laughing.
Totally off topic but this thread will have to do :)

So I saw the post, from basically whole Internet :), about Bungies new IP Destiny and the leaked art. My favourite picture was something I could have seen coming from Titan. Well, I could honestly see every single one of them coming from Titan since the game is "near" future sci-fi pew pew. Looks totally awesome.

But there was specially one picture I really liked.

And since I hangout on the Polycount forums (the forum where lots of artists, Titan artists among others, from game development are) I saw the Destiny thread created over there. I don't know if I should be happy or sad by seeing one of the Titan artists also enjoying the same picture as me saying

Yes. F******g yes...yes please.

Here is the pic and his comment:

Anyway, I was like "what the hell do you mean yes please...you are supposed to be working on Titan which should look like that :) "

So anyone else enjoyed the leaked art from Bungie and could see Titan looking something similar to that?

So anyone else enjoyed the leaked art from Bungie and could see Titan looking something similar to that?

Thanks papaz, though I believe this art has nothing to do with project Titan. It doesn't fit into my imagination of Titan and what I found out about it. Yknow I could be wrong with my expectations, but I would bet it's something like a mix of Minecraft & Second Life with fighting parts. A building platform for everyone.

Let's come back over here when Titan is officially revealed, quote this post and say "DiveDown is a moron" if I was wrong here with my expectations. I would go for a bet like this ;) (and I want nothing for the case if I was right because then it's party time for me anyway)
Created an on-topic thread. Let's continue the discussion here.