How relevant is the codename, Titan, to the actual game? [speculation]
Activision Blizzard To Release Q3 2012 Results On November 7 - Preview & live-report thread.
So without further babbling from me, here's Eremite's take on what the codename for Blizzard's new MMO, Titan, might stand for.
What's in a Codename? - by Eremite
With the dearth of news regarding project Titan, we've all had to use our imagination to feed ourselves in between the table scraps Blizzard has given us. It's frustrating knowing that the next big MMO is being played internally, while we on the outside have next to no information with which to build communities around. Personally, I would love the tiniest glimmer into what my character is going to look like, feel like, move like, talk like, and fight like. Most of all, it would be nice to know some story and what kind of game experience awaits me and my friends. So like everyone else around here, I've managed my madness by making logical (and not-so logical) conclusions on what the game might be like based on quotes, meetings, financial forecasts, timelines, horoscopes, magic 8-balls, Ouija boards...
Mostly I've been pondering the meaning of "Titan," if there is any meaning, ever since the codename was announced for the new MMO project. Along the way a popular notion (with some good support [biased link brought to you by mynsc]) came about that this new MMO is going to somehow involve time-travel, so I tried connecting these two ideas to see if it would take me anywhere.
I found that people seem to not be doing much speculation surrounding the codename for the project itself, "Titan." If anyone discusses the title at all these days, they mostly call it a trivial reference to Greek mythology and say not to read into it. This has always struck me as too much of a dismissal in the case of Blizzard, and here's why.
Code names are often chosen based upon some relevance to their subject, and Blizzard has a track record of doing this for previous game developments. Looking back at their last two big releases, they also chose Greek mythological figures as codenames for their development projects. Starcraft II was named "Medusa," while Diablo III was named "Hydra." While this might not seem relevant at first, think about the meaning of these words today and what these two games were all about.
First off, the predominant villain of the Starcraft series ever since Brood Wars has been Sarah Kerrigan, basically a bad-ass looking version of Medusa. The entire story from the first expansion onward revolves around her. Now if Kerrigan doesn't remind you of a sci-fi take on Medusa, I don't know what would. As far as Diablo III goes, the choice of "Hydra" as its codename arguably has an even greater connection to the overall theme and content of the game. The Hydra in Greek mythology is a giant monster in the form of a serpent with many heads. The word 'hydra' is sometimes used in writing today to reference a persistent evil that can't be eradicated in a single effort, and more significantly, the serpent is directly associated with the devil and early creation stories. Diablo connections much?
Blizzard's choices for codenames thus far have not been some abstract correlation to their games, but actually a direct connection to their content and theme! Blizzard hires some of the best writers and talent in the industry, and you can bet that their people can come up with some clever codenames regarding their projects. Personally, I think these codenames are far more than simple references; I think they're actually inspiration to the staff on what a project's true focus is.
Let's get to what this all has to do with "Titan." Feel free to put on your tin-foil hats at this point, 'cuz I'm about to go crazy.
I've read discussions and talked with people on what they think "Titan" means when it comes to this upcoming MMO, and most say something akin to "It's going to be large and grand in scope" and/or "You're making way too much out of the name, it doesn't mean much". Given Blizzard's past two titles, I have to disagree - it means a lot, certainly a lot more than a gesture of grandness.
So let's take a look again at Greek mythology and what a Titan is in that universe. It's one of a race of gods that were descendants of Gaia (Earth) and Uranus (Heaven) that ruled during the Golden Age. In more generic terms a titan is a person or thing of great size and power. Taking Blizzard's fondness for more direct Greek interpretations, I think it is quite likely they are using the Greek Titans as inspiration for thematic content for their upcoming MMO.
Assuming you're on board with the more specific idea of deities, I'd like to tie this idea into something that is synonymous with the Titans, and that is the idea that before their downfall there was a Golden Age, followed by many other ages, known collectively as the 'Ages of Man.' In most versions of this mythology, each successive age is worse than the one before it, which incidentally can lead to some cool apocalyptic storytelling on the back end. Anyway, just bare with me - this idea of different ages is important and what ties "Titan" to everything we've speculated about thus far!
Now if you've been following the rest of the rumor mill on the internet, you'll have come across two popular notions based upon quotes from Blizzard employees. First is the belief that "Titan" is not going to be set in the traditional high-fantasy setting, and the second is that it is going to somehow involve time travel. The best basis for this idea comes from a quote by Jeffrey Kaplan when he was asked if Blizzard's new MMO is going to be sci-fi, near-future, post-apocalyptic, or historical. He responds by saying "All of those combined!" Assuming my interpretation of "Titan" and Greek mythology actually has any relevance to the game, using the Ages of Man as a basis for the framework of the game is an incredible way to tie in time travel, different worlds, concepts, gods, titans, you name it! You get history, you get sci-fi, you get the future, you get apocalypse, you get everything. With this framework you could conceivably cater to almost every type of gamer because you can create worlds with vasty different feel, gameplay, and rulesets.
Now before you go saying that Blizzard won't make a game with Greek gods, Ages of Man, and stargates, I don't literally mean Prometheus or Pandora are going to be in the game, that we'll be waving at Titans, or that we'll be taking time portals to the 'Bronze Age' or the 'Iron Age.' That seems ridiculous and way too derivative for Blizzard. But they have a wonderful way of taking classic myths and legends and making them their own, and I believe they'll use the inspiration of Greek mythology and the ages of man to build their own MMO that has incredible variety and encompasses many things speculated to be true.
I realize that I've basically come to the same conclusion as others, that this game will involve time travel or some similar mechanic, but I think this is one possible way in which Blizzard could actually incorporate it into lore that makes sense with what they've given us in the past. This may not be the way Blizzard is interpreting "Titan," but no matter how they are, I believe the connection between the word "Titan" and the content is going to be just as strong as the connections between Medusa/Kerrigan and Hydra/Diablo. The only way Blizzard could have been more blatant in the past would have been to codename those projects respectively "Zerg" and "Devil." I think that "Titan" is the same - just one step shy from a direct description of the game.
Let me know what you guys think, and especially if you think I fell off my rocker!
Mynsc here again. Just want to say thanks to Eremite for taking the time to write this and I hope you guys have enjoyed reading it as much as I did.