Lore Focus: Titan, Earth and Mythology.
"I want us as a company to really begin to look at opportunities to create really simple stories that everyone can relate to, so that sometimes it's not about mastering or getting lost in all the minutiae, but the simple points of human connectivity."
Chris Metzen - (EUROGAMER 2012)
Pro-tip: If you feel lost, read some of the links embedded in the post and come back afterwards.
The aim of this article is to discuss the likelihood that Titan will be set on Earth, but I will also talk a little bit about which specific mythological themes or stories we can expect to see in Titan. I'd just like to mention that this is far from a deep-analysis, it's an article that is here to present some good talking points for speculation and hopefully get peoples' minds thinking in new places. Let the games begin!
What mythologies will Titan use?
Before I get into talking about Earth, I would like to quickly mention what mythologies will be used in Titan, and to a lesser extent, how they'll be used. We've had some light shed on this by both tweets from Blizz employees and a direct leak to our website that stated there will be:
"Heavy use of Greek, Roman and Viking myths"
Using this as a platform for a bit of speculation, here's what I came up with:
Greek And Roman Mythology
Think Demi-Gods and Gods, Heroes, Pandora's Box, Persephone and Atlantis.
Greek and Roman mythology are one in the same, the main difference seems to be that Roman mythology picked and chose bits of Greek mythology to use. I think that Titan will have a spine of Greek mythology running through so as to provide a familiar story at the heart of the MMO. So what do we get if we make Greek Mythology simple and clear? The four or five ages, two of which are: 'Age of Gods and Mortals' and the 'Heroic Age'. Not only do the names sound suiting (as players are often positioned as heroes), the actual content to these ages sounds applicable to what we think we know about Titan. Go and read up on it and see what you find, report back in the comments below!
Think World Tree, Runes and Gods of aspects of nature.
Norse mythology is something Blizzard also love and have used extensively in WoW. The great thing about Nordic tales and myths is that they blend so well with ideas behind Greek myths and this really allows Blizzard to amalgamate the two without too much difficulty to create something that is both new and familiar. However, I also feel that because Blizzard has included so much (the majority) and such a direct chunk of Nordic tales in WoW, I find it unlikely that they'll want to cover this base too much again. So, if we still abide by the rumour that it will include 'Viking myths', I think we have to temper this with the idea that Blizz have already delved really deep into this lore and if we do see any of it in Titan, it will be limited in depth.
Pieces from other cultures
As I've mentioned previously, there were lots of little pieces of Blizz games that came from all sorts of old stories, cultures and so on - WoW perhaps being the most obvious with this. We are likely to see many different real-world cultures and environments being inspiration for those in Titan just as in the past.
Titan: 'It's Based on Earth's history'?
So, a little while ago we got a small leak (ok, not so small and yes it went viral) that mentioned that Titan lore would be 'based on Earth's history'. This is something we have speculated heavily on before and since and I think is something worthy of our time to think about! I've thought up three broad ideas around this rumour of which I am 99.9% it will be one:
Set on Earth before or after 'current' lore
Blizzard might have decided to explicitly use Earth as the core planet of their game, and this is perhaps why StarCraft lore has referenced Earth directly but never expanded very much on the history of it. The presence of the Zerg in StarCraft also draws similarities to 'The Flood' in Greek Mythology, food for thought. Not only is the mention, but the absence of Earth in StarCraft is interesting and perhaps indicative of the planet being used in Titan. The idea fits in with other clues we've had from Blizzard employees themselves, such as the tweets of (recently ex-) writer Cameron Dayton which reference the following:
- "Shifting tectonic plates, raising Atlantis, and reviving Teotihuacan. Damn I love my job"
What we can take from this is that, these specific events mentioned above are all in the past - does this make argument for Titan taking place before our real-life 'lore'? Or, does it mean it's very far in the future and ancient mysteries are being explored? Similar to what the new MMO The Secret World has done; which goes by the slogan 'Everything is true' in relation to ancient stories.
I would argue for Titan being set on Earth after our current lore. Setting it in the future not only allows players to partake in a fresh new sci-fi genre, it provides the familiarity and mystery of ancient stories - a successful concept employed in the now saturated fantasy MMO market! This allows Blizzard on a business level to both keep their audience while not competing directly with WoW and also have the capability to capture a new audience (the Halo players, perhaps?).
Halo Artwork by Bungie
Set on a planet based on Earth
Using Earth as the core planet of Blizzards' upcoming MMO comes with its limitations, and while some might argue limitations breed innovation, others might argue that too many limitations just restrict creation. This is why I suggest that another option is that the planet this MMO is set on is a fictional one with many huge pieces of real-Earth lore thrown in and perhaps wrapped up in a different way, such as Blizzard did with WoW with their inclusion of Norse lore, or in Diablo with folk-lore and religious themes that I explored in my previous thread.
But Euph, StarCraft mentioned Earth and didn't delve into it directly. I thought you said this is an indicator that they want to use it for Titan?
I did say this, and I still think it's a strong argument. However, I also think the argument can be drawn two ways. I think Blizzards' lack of inclusion of Earth in StarCraft perhaps shows an unwillingness to set their games in a setting that they can't control every aspect of, you see... if they carbon-copy Earth but stick a new name on it, they can do whatever they want and this allows for both narrative and business-model freedom in the future. Plus, it would be a whole sticky mess trying to explain and shoe-horn their own lore around our 'current' Earth lore if they set it in the future or even the past.
I feel like Blizzards' previous behaviour of wrapping everything up in a layer of Blizzard skin is the most compelling argument and indicator that they will do the same with Earth in Titan. Essentially, they're going to wrap up the good old planet Earth we love into their own pretty shaped wrapping paper so that they have freedom to deliver whatever they wish. How did I get onto the subject of wrapping paper again?
Not based on Earth at all
Titan might not be based on Earth at all. In fact, the tweets from blues and 'leaks' from random people on the internet might all turn out to be a big load of poppycock, or we've just completely mis-interpretted the true stuff and absorbed much of the untrue stuff.
However, if the planet is not based on Earth at all there are countless possibilities for the setting. To name a few, it could be set on a giant spaceship millions of years from now, it could be set in a planet for the gods or it could be something completely different. What we know for sure, is that we don't actually have a clue what Titan will be set on - it could be anything, but we're here to discuss, dream and think up things based on the little bits of information we have.
Eremite has done some really great speculation work in the past on the codename 'Titan' and how it relates to what the main theme of the game will actually be, he looked at what previous codenames were and what the core of the game was to help decipher what 'Titan' meant. He came to the conclusion that the MMO will be heavily based on Greek mythos and that the codename is just one step shy from the concept of the game. Going on these assumptions, I pose you this question:
- How would the codename Titan be relevant to a setting not based on Earth?
I hope you enjoyed the read, and do PM me if you see any problems or want to discuss anything at length. Otherwise, leave feedback - good or bad - below!
As a minor disclaimer: This thread is purely speculative, and yes it is based on lots of rumours that I and (I believe) the rest of the community find to be pretty solid in their likelihood.
Thanks for making it this far down the page,