Blizzard fans are well aware of the company’s lengthy but quality development cycle and their internal definition of the word “soon”. Both generally signify years or even decades of waiting for the release of new titles and sequels, as was the case with Diablo 3 (set to release this May) and Starcraft 2, which spent years in development. Because of this, the natural assumption surrounding Blizzard’s new next-generation MMORPG, , code-named “Titan”, was that we could be waiting for a proper release — an assumption supported by Blizzard’s eerie silence since initially teasing it in Blizzard Job Openings listings years ago.
Blizzcon 2011 marked another nail in the coffin for any hope of upcoming Titan announcements. Company representatives took to the official convention stage to discuss their current upcoming projects: World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria, Diablo 3, and Starcraft 2: Heart of the Swarm. Little mention was made of Titan, and the discussions that did crop up revolved around assuring fans that there was no new information to report on that front. In fact, the developers went as far as to allude to the fact that the game is still in very early stages of development (hinting at concept art and early outlining stages). Blizzard further crushed fans’ dreams with their announcement that there would be no Blizzcon in 2012, where many speculated the title would finally be officially announced.
More recently, Blizzard laid off almost 400 staff members — not the best sign for the company, although they did assure their fans and shareholders that these layoffs would not affect game development on any title. Still, some were left wondering if this hush-hush next-gen MMO title got scrapped as part of the sweeping budget cuts.
Rob Pardo, once Lead Designer on World of Warcraft and now Executive Vice President of Game Design, has ignited a new wave of speculation with a rather brief Tweet on his official Twitter page today, reading:
“[J]ust got to do a playtest in Titan – pretty rough still, but lots of fun too!” – @Rob_Pardo
This confirms two things:
- Titan is still in the works and appears to be an active part of Blizzards future title development cycle
- Titan is certainly not in the pre-development planning/concept stages alluded to at Blizzcon 2011
The above is big news for Blizzard fans and fans of the MMORPG genre. While World of Warcraft is certainly still the largest MMO on the market, many new MMOs are on their way promising systems as good or better than World of Warcraft’s, which continues to age. We don’t see World of Warcraft dying any time soon, as the game continues to attract nearly ten million monthly players and works toward its next expansion, Mists of Pandaria. But we’re also excited to see what the company who brought us the world’s most successful MMORPG can do with next-gen systems and ideas.
Blizzard has clearly taken a lot from the various successes and occasional failings of their hit MMO, and we’re sure they’ve studied their competition at the same time. If one team is able to keep this level of momentum going on a seven year old title, imagine what they can do to breathe life and success into an entirely new MMORPG running on next-gen systems.
All we know this far is that the game is now in a very early playable state. We also know that the Titan MMO will be an entirely new intellectual property for Blizzard, crushing the hopes of Starcraft and Diablo fans for a space or hell-themed MMO. We’ll keep our eyes peeled for new information, but today’s tweet is a great first step in what is sure to be an exciting future for Titan and for Blizzard fans.