News broke today that in an interview with Polygon, Blizzard has officially called it quits with its “next-gen” MMO, Project Titan, after seven years of work. I keep hearing it's big news, but then again my news feeds yesterday were full of the story about a woman who decided a third boob would make her less attractive to men, rather than fulfilling all of those Total Recall fantasies out there. I live in Florida, so that kind of logic doesn't shock me. What does shock me is that Project Titan being canceled is big news.
For me, I saw it coming. Blizzard are the kings and queens of the hype train. They're not ones to shy from making a small detail into a huge news piece, and they do that on the daily. Considering that lately I've almost completely forgotten about Project Titan, but every now and then come across a hushed whisper of the name, along with nothing else following, bringing it back to my memory. “Oh, yeah, almost forgot that one,” I often say to myself as soon as I remember that Project Titan was going to be not only Blizzard's new MMO, but also new IP. Blizzard is good at releasing new games and stories for its established IPs. Blizzard hasn't shown that it launches new IPs in some time. This isn't necessarily a dig on Blizzard. I enjoy their games. But let's be honest here when I say that hearing about Project Titan's cancellation doesn't shock me one bit. My roommate, also a Blizzard fan, didn't even know it existed until I was telling him the project was canceled.
Like this stray wolf, Project Titan is officially dead
In the Polygon article, Blizzard's CEO Mike Morhaime says that Blizzard never officially announced Project Titan, although they sure did like to talk about it a lot, especially when it was fresh news. It must have been the high of World of Warcraft's success we were all experiencing in some sort of group gaming hallucination that made us think that Project Titan was announced in an official capacity. It is, however, officially canceled. Morhaime explained that World of Warcraft made Blizzard set out to create something overly ambitions – a something that just never really came together. Eventually, they reevaluated the project and realized that they were creating something they had no interest in playing.
I can respect them for wanting to call quits on a project that had no passion behind it. When you are passionate about what you're doing, you pour tons of energy and everything you have into it. When you're not passionate about it, it's more like you're trying to dig through twenty feet of concrete slab with a spoon, only to find an iron wall behind it. Sure, you'll eventually get through – eventually get the work done – but all that time spent only adds up to one huge pile of resentment. Having a team resenting their work kills morale and in the end, creates a place where no one wants to work. I imagine that they kept at it for so long because they had been at it for so long.
Durotan is super sad
Chris Metzen, a senior vice president at Blizzard says in the Polygon article that while it can be heart breaking canceling projects, “the discipline of knowing when to quit is important.” Sometimes, you have these really grand ideas, but they just never end up working. Admitting that to yourself is hard, but in the end, when something doesn't work, it is better to let it fall to the wayside. Blizzard says that they feel like they lost perspective. What exactly is that perspective? They wanted to evaluate whether or not they're an MMORPG company or not. While they say they don't want to “identify [themselves] on a particular genre,” but they are in the multiplayer game business at least.
"In many ways, Titan was that for us," Metzen said. "We took a step back and realized that it had some cool hooks. It definitely had some merit as a big, broad idea, but it didn't come together. It did not distill. The music did not flow. For all our good intentions and our experience and the pure craftsmanship that we brought together, we had to make that call."
Will these “cool hooks” mean that we'll see some of the successful parts of Project Titan eventually come to World of Warcraft? I headed over to my gaming multi-reddit to see if the Polygon article had been posted yet, so I could see what the community was saying. Jokes and pun threads aside, people are bummed about it. Far more bummed than me, but I've only been playing Blizzard games for ten years. I likely do not have the time investment that a lot of other people out there have. One thing that I am seeing, though, is the hope that yes, we will see some of Project Titan's hard work come to WoW; that not all of this work will be lost.
What's your feelings in all of this? Are you disappointed that Project Titan is canceled? Do you feel underwhelmed like I do, since we never really had much information to go on? Do you feel hopeful like others do, with the possibility that we could get to see the successful parts of Project Titan come to an established Blizzard game? Do you want Blizzard to put out a new IP or are you happy with their selection?