Gaming Secrets: What's Up With Blizzard's Project Titan?

What's Up With Blizzard's Project Titan?

On their resume, a Blizzard staffer states that they "are working a top-secret project to be unveiled sometime in 2014." The most likely candidates are probably another World of Warcraft or Diablo expansion (Blizzard recently polled fans about the latter), but I have to wonder if we might finally see something from the mythic Project Titan.

While initially intended as a followup MMO to World of Warcraft, Blizzard went back to the drawing board on Titan -- which has been in the works since 2006 or so -- and restarted the game's development last year, culling the Titan team's size from 100 to 30. Blizzard CEO Mike Morhaime later admitted Titan was no longer a subscription-based MMO like World of Warcraft.

At last year's BlizzCon, Morhaime told IGN the current version of Titan "is pretty different from what [Blizzard] originally set out to do," which makes me suspect the game may no longer be an MMO at all. In today's marketplace, developing and launching a capital-intensive massively multiplayer project is a much more precarious proposition than it was a decade ago. Following the decision to rescope Titan, the longtime "Next-Gen MMO" category on Blizzard's job page disappeared, but soon thereafter an "Unannounced Game Title" category appeared.

A lead producer opening currently in the "Unannounced Game Title" category curiously contains the copy "With Hearthstone, Blizzard has revived its tradition of creating small and nimble game teams and [the unannounced project team is] following in those footsteps." A level designer opening on the team talks up "competitive multi-player games" and "game maps," suggesting a game at least more like Heroes of the Storm than Hearthstone. Although Blizzard's existing AAA brands are not going away anytime soon, there seems to be a trend at Blizzard toward less costly, smaller future projects, and my suspicion is that Titan, assuming it is still in development in some form, might have transformed to a title on the scale of Hearthstone or Heroes of the Storm.

What's Up With Blizzard's Project Titan?

Last month, Ben Kilgore, a corporate vice president of Xbox program management at Microsoft, quietly left the software giant to become Blizzard Entertainment's chief technology officer, according to his LinkedIn profile. Kilgore was "Responsible for development of Xbox One client platform including operating system, development tools, and platform user experience" and reportedly "one of the chief architects" of the Xbox One. Prior to being promoted to a corporate vice president at Microsoft in early 2012, Kilgore served as a general manager on Xbox development, overseeing work on the Kinect and New Xbox Experience.

What's Up With Blizzard's Project Titan?

Beyond: Two Souls developer Quantic Dream might be continuing their status as a two-project studio. On their CV, a designer at the Parisian studio lists two unannounced projects.

A Quantic Dream domain registration hinted the studio was working on a PS4 project titled "Singularity," a name that very much evokes the influences and ideas of the firm's decidedly futuristic tech demo Kara.

Additionally, Carle Côté, who was AI lead on Eidos Montreal's Thief reboot, joined Quantic Dream in March to serve as AI lead on an unannounced project. Côté also has a PhD in engineering and wrote his doctoral thesis on "an architecture for integrating heterogeneous software components for the development of mobile and autonomous decision-making systems in robotics." Quantic Dream's job posting for an AI lead said the studio wanted to have AI technology that exceeded industry standards -- perhaps their next projects might be slightly more emergent experiences?

What's Up With Blizzard's Project Titan?

The portfolio of a former presentation director at one-time Need for Speed studio Black Box reveals a previously unknown and cancelled title in the car racing franchise called "Need for Speed 10" (the number referring to either fiscal or calendar year "2010") that was in development circa 2008. The portfolio page says the "goal" of the game was to answer the question "How can large scale street races take place in a post 911 US city?" Images on the page depict a group of street racers named the "TerrorFive" and a concept art mockup of gameplay wherein players seemingly hacked into police cars, things that sound more like Watch Dogs than a street racing game. Concept videos of prototype game's UI elements (one of which is embedded below) -- created in collaboration with production houses Buck and Imaginary Forces -- depict a lo-fi security camera aesthetic far removed from the polish typically associated with a Need for Speed game. However, it is unclear if Black Box's "Need for Speed 10" ever progressed beyond the prototype stage.

Superannuation is a self-described "internet extraordinaire" residing somewhere in the Pacific timezone. He tweets and can be reached at heyheymayday AT gmail DOT com.


    a Blizzard staffer states that they “are working a top-secret project to be unveiled sometime in 2014.” The most likely candidates are probably another World of Warcraft or Diablo expansion (Blizzard recently polled fans about the latter), but I have to wonder if we might finally see something from the mythic Project Titan.
    Blizzard just announced Warlords of Draenor last year (for release at the end of this year) so it won't be that, also Reaper of Souls just came out so again that's not going to happen. The obvious answer would be Starcraft 2: Legacy of the Void...
    Project Titan was originally expected to be announced around this year but it's apparently be taken back to the drawing board so who knows, might never happen.

      Legacy of the Void is hardly a "top secret project" though. We've known about it since Blizzard announced the trilogy, probably around 5 years now.

        Yeah but then a year or 2 ago they planned to announce a 'totally new and original IP, not just another Warcraft, Diablo or Starcraft.' That game ended up being Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft, obviously something new (and personally I love it) but it's still essentially a Warcraft-based card game (something that already existed in physical form).

        As the last paragraph in the article says, there is another small dev team working on a secret project and that's probably what this is all about. I really didn't expect that to be announced for a while though, I thought they only started working on it around the time Hearthstone went into beta. Perhaps they're further along then that though?

    I strongly suspect all this time spent on 'Titan' has probably been a giant economist/psychologist think-tank on exactly what will survive in the modern MMO space to get more players psychologically more on-the-hook than WoW does.

    I actually think Titan might not actually exist in the form of a game, and that the whole project exist solely to scare away any potential competition.

    A top-secret project, ey? That's lost all meaning coming from them. At Blizzard that could mean anything from a StarCraft/Lost Vikings crossover MMO to sending someone to the shops to get lunch. They're probably not going to finish the project, they're probably not going to tell us when they cancel it and if they do manage to stick with it they're almost certainly not going to give us the slightest bit of practical information until it's ready to be released.
    The absurd level of secrecy was annoying but intriguing ten years ago, but now it's just obnoxious. =(

    Now there's no financial pressure to release anything except World of Warcraft content they need to actually start talking about these projects so fans can pressure them into releasing. They need pressure from somewhere or else they'll just keep sinking money into having a huge team working on a project for far too long, then hitting reset because they spent so much time working on their own schedule aiming for perfection that every second rate developer caught up and got ahead.

    I for one can't wait for Starcraft: Ghost to come out.

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