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How relevant is the codename, Titan, to the actual game? [speculation]

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#1
Eremite

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Activision Blizzard To Release Q3 2012 Results On November 7 - Preview & live-report thread.

Small but important note before going into the actual article. This is the first of hopefully many front-page posts written not by me but by the readers of this fan-site, in this case the newly-joined Eremite. With Titan Focus, my aim is to create a true community for the people that share this hobby and this means that one person shouldn't always hog-up the front-page and that anyone with an interesting and intelligent opinion should be given as much "air-time" as possible.

So without further babbling from me, here's Eremite's take on what the codename for Blizzard's new MMO, Titan, might stand for.

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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.

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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.

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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.


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#2
mynsc

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What do I think? I think I want to promote this forum post to a front-page article, with all credit given to you of course and with minimal editing. Would you be OK with this? I mean seriously, all you wrote here is just too good to not be given more exposure.

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#3
Eremite

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Thanks mynsc. I have a feeling we'll all be laughing at one another and none of this stuff will bear any resemblance to what we actually see come release, but it's still fun trying to figure out what's going on.

But yeah, go ahead and post away. That's totally fine with me.

#4
mynsc

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Now on to the actual subject, another theory, although less probable than yours, is that the codename refers to World of Warcraft's Titans. In a way though I think the WoW titans and the Greek mythology titans are much alike, so no matter the case your conclusion stands up.

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#5
papaz

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I like the write-up.

I always thought they named it Titan because they wanted to send a message for game developers out there they were working on some kind of sci-fi mmofps to get the best in the business to Blizzard without saying too much.

Since Titan was the code name for the Halo MMO that was cancelled I thought Blizzard used the name very much deliberately to "spread the word" in the business.

#6
Sarnakyle

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Great theory Eremite :D I love it when a thread/post/whatever comes along and clicks enough with me that it adds to my perception of what this game is. Yours has been applied :) and congrates for making it to the main page! That is awesome! Looking forward to hearing other thoughts you might have

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#7
Eremite

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Thanks guys.

@ papaz - You could be completely right. I remember Blizzard wanted to send that message out about a sci-fi mmo, although I can't recall who said what back then or when it was said. Anyone help me out here?

The storyteller in me would like to wish it was a deeper connection, but it may just be something as simple as trying to get as much hype generated as possible, and has no deeper meaning. But when we saw that it was going to be an MMORPG and not an FPS, that got me to thinking that maybe there is more to the name than just copying it over from the HALO MMO.

#8
BanzaiJoe

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(replied in the forum cause there was no front page reply) http://titanfocus.in...-in-a-codename/ (don't know if this shows up on the front, test, 1,2,3)

A long time ago...I think it was 2002, I went to E3 and interviewed some Microsoft guys. It was the most golden year of MMOs, so many launch ideas. MicroSoft was doing an MMO callled Mythica. From their words, "a norse-themed MMORPG that casts you in the role as an immortal..on the way to godhood... " (Here's a dev chat with them)

Much like my beloved SMITE where we play gods, Mythica was the same way. You were a god who came to intervene in the lives of mortals. This is not too different from Emerite's conclusion.

This gets me thinking about the antagonist. Who will be fighting against? There are some hard core lore junkies and there are some people who need a bit of something and most people who just need pretty graphics and fun mechanics. If time travel is an integral part and I think it is, then there must be someone or something that has caused a problem. Who are we fighting? Well, it must be other immortals or people who have the ability to affect time and time-travel.

This would address the "all of the above" and would be an awesome way to address leveling. Instead of level 1 to X. You start at the beginning of time and the difficulty scales as you go forward in time. Getting your ass kicked in the 1500s, try the 1400s. What do you guys think?

#9
Eremite

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From their words, "a norse-themed MMORPG that casts you in the role as an immortal..on the way to godhood... "


I hadn't considered the possibility that players would be cast as more powerful than humans, but it's a neat idea. Most MMOs have the players being the mortal or the human, or the underdog in some way.

This gets me thinking about the antagonist... If time travel is an integral part and I think it is, then there must be someone or something that has caused a problem. Who are we fighting? Well, it must be other immortals or people who have the ability to affect time and time-travel.


I've been wondering this too. Assuming my initial speculation is true about drawing inspiration from Greek Titans, there are still sooo many ways to base content off the meaning of Titan that it's really hard for me to make the next logical leap into who we are going to be and who we're fighting. But I would love it if it turns out to be something like you said.

#10
Odysseus

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About the Diablo-Hydra codename...
http://www.diablowiki.com/Tathamet
http://i.imgur.com/VfNcG.jpg (from the CE artbook)

So, odds are pretty decent Titan's codename could be relevant as well. =]


Spoiler


#11
Eremite

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Nice find Odysseus! I love the lore they embed into the Diablo series.

I'm off to do some more digging into the Titan mythos...

#12
Sarnakyle

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"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."
- Eremite

"

About the Diablo-Hydra codename...
http://www.diablowiki.com/Tathamet
http://i.imgur.com/VfNcG.jpg (from the CE artbook)


So these would both suggest that the codenames given to the games are associated with the antagonist of the game, rather than a series of events. Could Titan also refere to the "boss"?

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#13
Falloubst

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Good job Eremite, this is a good read. :) I also think that Titan is going to include some form of time travel. It could solve several problems:

1. Time travel will allow players to visit very unique places. If there was only "one" environment where everything looks the same, the game would become boring. Look at WoW - we got so many different places to visit - forest, jungles, snowy landscapes, alien zones like Outland and finally some Asian themed zones. With the idea of time travel the appearance of those zones would make more sense.

2. Time travel makes the world feel more persistent and more "realistic" from a story standpoint. Again - look at WoW. You can create a Death Knight character and talk to Arthas who gives you quests etc. But from a story standpoint, Arthas is dead already. Blizzard explains it that way that when you create a Death Knight, you're "in the past". But that's where I'm asking myself - shouldn't an MMO be persistent? I think that time travel could solve problems like such too.

:)

#14
Suvic

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Titan in my opinion is a description of the size of the enemies you will encounter like for example
in Shadow Of the Colossus. If they decide to integrate bosses that resemble gods it would make for really good game mechanics based on their powers. (I am referring to GodOfWar btw). And finally if there heading for a game changer they might put all the “Ages” together.
Thus pleasing the scifi/medieval/modern crowd which would bring in more people in conclusion more money.

#15
papaz

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Titan in my opinion is a description of the size of the enemies you will encounter like for example
in Shadow Of the Colossus. If they decide to integrate bosses that resemble gods it would make for really good game mechanics based on their powers. (I am referring to GodOfWar btw). And finally if there heading for a game changer they might put all the “Ages” together.
Thus pleasing the scifi/medieval/modern crowd which would bring in more people in conclusion more money.


Welcome to the forums buddy :)

@Sarnakyle Nice catch. You are right. The codenames have been the antagonists of the game. Didn't think about that at all but yet so obvious :)

#16
Obadiah333

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Good read. Funny that no one considered that Titan is also one of Saturn's moons. Would have a sci-fi setting there maybe. Could include time travel. Who knows?

#17
rs10rs10

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I have never heard the theory that Titan could refer to Saturn's moon Titan, but it is definitely a possibilty.

Btw, welcome to the site Obadiah333!

"Rogues guard the secrets to poison-making carefully, lest magi start incorporating poison into their spells. Poisonbolt? Rain of Poison? Poison Elemental? Nobody wants that."


#18
mynsc

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Good read. Funny that no one considered that Titan is also one of Saturn's moons. Would have a sci-fi setting there maybe. Could include time travel. Who knows?


If you look at the site's background and also Twitter avatar, you'll see that the thought crossed my mind. :D I don't really think it's an option though, it would be too obvious and also, Blizzard already has an outer space universe, Starcraft.

Oh and welcome to the site! :)

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#19
rs10rs10

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/facepalm....Never realized that the background of the site was Titan :ermm:

"Rogues guard the secrets to poison-making carefully, lest magi start incorporating poison into their spells. Poisonbolt? Rain of Poison? Poison Elemental? Nobody wants that."


#20
papaz

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If you look at the site's background and also Twitter avatar, you'll see that the thought crossed my mind. :D I don't really think it's an option though, it would be too obvious and also, Blizzard already has an outer space universe, Starcraft.

Oh and welcome to the site! :)


Mind blown o.O

I always wondered what the background image was.