Blizzard may not have offered any details yesterday in their cancellation announcement, however this seem to have triggered quite the news surge. Never thought I'd have the chance to do an actual news round-up for Titan, on a non-Blizzcon day!
For a quick summary on the official cancellation announcement, in video form, see just below (or if you like walls of text, see my previous article). However the meaty parts come right after this clip, starting with an actually believable and consistent leak!
Here's What Titan Actually Was [Kotaku seems to have multiple sources confirming some of Titan's main features, which makes this one of the most trustworthy "leaks" we ever had on the game] - Kotaku
For starters, according to three people I spoke with, it would have taken place on a near-future version of Earth, in a science-fiction depiction of the world where mankind has successfully fought off an alien invasion. Players would join one of three factions waging a cold war over control of the planet, and zones planned for the game ranged from the west coast of the United States to Europe, South America, and Australia, according to a source. Blizzard's plan was to make the game world huge, and to keep adding areas with expansions in the years after launch.
The main concept was this: you, the player, would maintain a mundane job—butchering, engineering, entrepreneurship—during the day, while waging clandestine warfare against opposing factions at night (or between work hours).
Players would be able to select from classes with names like Reaper, Jumper, Titan, Ranger, and Juggernaut, each of which had its own special combat abilities and items, according to a source. Jumpers, for example, would be agile scouts with a teleport ability and the ability to quickly leap in and out of combat. Titans were tanks, while Rangers were snipers with cloaking and other abilities (think Nova from StarCraft II and the ill-fated StarCraft Ghost).
All of the people who described the game to me made a lot of Team Fortress comparisons both in terms of aesthetics and gameplay. ... Your perspective would switch between first- and third-person based on whether you were heading into combat or hanging out in a city,
Not only would players have been able to run their own businesses and shops, according to one source, they could maintain relationships with non-player customers and retail staff, even starting families thanks to a complicated AI system that Blizzard hoped to implement. (One source told me that Blizzard had hired a number of former Maxis staff who worked on The Sims in order to help put all this together.)
The goal, according to one person who worked on the game, was to construct cities that felt like living worlds, full of businesses, shops, and NPCs with schedules and behaviors based on what was happening at any given time.
It's really interesting stuff and I can definitely see how development on this could have gotten out of hand. It's no joke trying to build a realistic Sims-like AI scaled to MMO size, meant to cover an entire city / society. You're also forced to make everything massive and detailed when you go for the option of using real-life Earth as the game world.
What's funny about this info is that it confirms a leak that appeared all the way back in 2010, on a french website. It was one of the first leaks regarding Titan and it turns out it was the most accurate one as well. I talked about it in one of the first articles of this website, if you're interested in the english version.
There's also a bit of optimistic news at the end:
One person connected to Blizzard told me that "a good handful" of the Titan team is actually still intact, despite yesterday's news that the game has been cancelled.
"They changed the code-name after that reboot," said that person. "So the project that was 'Titan' did die last year."
I'd definitely recommend to take this with more than a grain of salt, as just yesterday Mike Morhaime clearly mentioned that at the moment they are not looking into developing MMOs. So whatever some of the ex-Titan team members are working on, it's probably highly edited and simplified.
Titan cancellation cost Blizzard $50m or more [various estimations made by analysts regarding the development cost of Titan. $50M seems to be the lowest number, with another bidding up to $140M] - Gameindustry.biz
"Development costs for Titan may have amounted to tens of millions, perhaps $50 million or more. This is not an unusual event, however. Blizzard has cancelled several games in various stages of development in the past. Costs for unreleased games can be significant, but launching substandard games can harm the reputation of a successful publisher such as Blizzard. Expenses for development can be considered R&D, and benefits can include invaluable training, IP and technology that can be applied to other games," explained independent analyst Billy Pidgeon.
"They realized that unless a big MMO is out-of-this-world unbelievable it won't work in today's market where it competes against a bunch of low cost options. If they felt that it just wasn't getting to that point it makes sense to cut your losses," he noted.
I don't necessarily agree with the second quote, as Titan seems to have been ideal for being a F2P game with endless possibilities for vanity items, thus making it very accessible for low-budget players. Hell, I would have been shocked if they didn't introduce a player-made workshop in the game, where players could craft their own clothes / furniture / jewelry and sell it for real cash, with Blizzard taking a cut.
Titan is Dead. Long Live Prometheus! [Seems like one of the several projects in progress in Blizzard's laboratories right now is code-named Prometheus] - MMO-Champion
However, it doesn't mean that the development team is no longer working on something. Multiple sources who seem to point towards a new unannounced project from Blizzard that would be codenamed Prometheus and could be another project built around a new license for Blizzard.
Keep in mind that this last bit is very much unofficial and unconfirmed.
This could very easily be the project that Kotaku mentions part of the Titan team switched to. It's hard and silly to draw any conclusions from the internal name, so I'll stop speculation here, however there's definitely something to it.
The original "rethinking" delay occurred because what had been developed was alarmingly similar to Destiny in theme and aesthetic. I'm guessing that Blizz tried to salvage it, but too much would have to be rebuilt to make it seem significantly different from Bungie's product (same parent company probably doesn't help).
We saw a very early build of it in 2010 and it did have some cool hooks, but that becomes "something I saw personally" and not "something someone told me after I left," so there's that old NDA again.
This seems to partially match with what we now know from Kotaku, especially the part about a future Earth which was invaded by aliens. The general idea behind the combat seems to also be approximately the same.
If we're to believe these new bites of info, then it's actually shocking that such a huge mix-up can happen at such a high level. Assuming the "rethinking" mentioned here is the one from 2013, then it means that they noticed the huge overlap between the 2 games only when one was a year away from launch and the other around halfway through. While Bungie may not be directly connected with Blizzard, Activision is with both, so they really should have avoided this conflict much earlier. Who know, we may still have Titan if that had happened...
Will update the article with anything else that pops up, however meanwhile I'm extremely curious to hear what you think about Titan and its planned features. As far as I'm concerned: too ambitious? Maybe; not fun? Are you kiddin' me?! I would have played it like mad.
"If we're to believe these, then it's actually shocking that this can happen at such a high level. Assuming the "rethinking" mentioned here is the one from 2013, then it means that they noticed the huge overlap between the 2 games only when one was one year away from launch and the other probably around halfway through. While Bungie may not be directly connected with Blizzard, Activision is with both, so they really should have avoided this conflict much earlier. Who know, we may still have Titan if that had happened..."
Blizzard must not get thier info from here then lolz, if they had they might have noticed sooner.
It really sounds like the early rumors that said that every player has two lives, one for combat and one for social interaction.
Here is hoping that the real mess was in the social part with the AI/cities and all meaning they have broken out the combat part of the game and that will be the base for a new game.
I just don't believe that after 7 years of work with a huge team like that they just scrap everything. I want to believe that there were good parts in Titan (overshadowed by the bad parts) and the good parts could be a solid base for a completely new small scale game.
I just don't believe that after 7 years of work with a huge team like that they just scrap everything.
This. Hopefully they got some smaller projects out of Titan and a lot of their work can be recycled into them. This would make Titan's cancelation less disappointing.
I can see how Titan would run into problems if they were relying on AI and trying to make the world large and interactive. Besides just getting the stuff to work, they'd have to be careful not to make the players burn out or give them the feeling multiple tiller farms brought to a lot of WoW players.
What papaz said. I'm sure they are taking scraps from Titan and using it in some way. We know they considered Titan to be "R&D" for them now(pr spin?) which leads me to believe that can use at least something from 7 years of work.