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A Titanic Question: What Will Blizzard's New 'Next Gen MMO' Be?

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Titan. This one word is sending ripples through the gaming industry. No, it’s not just those big creator giants in World of Warcraft. It’s also the codename for Blizzard’s new ‘next gen’ MMO, the MMO they wouldn’t even officially acknowledge until late last year.

Blizzard has always focused on its holy trinity of intellectual properties: the Warcraft universe, Diablo and, of course, on StarCraft. But now, with the first official mumblings about Titan theyÂ’re looking to expand into new territory with an MMO which isnÂ’t set in Azeroth. Even better, we know next to nothing about it which means there's still plenty of time for speculation.

So what do we know about Titan? Well the speculation is that it might just be announced officially at this yearÂ’s BlizzCon. It also might not, Blizzard is like that when it comes to major announcements. ItÂ’s well worth remembering though that Titan is just a code name. Diablo III, for example, was once codenamed Hydra while Starcraft II was originally just called Project Medusa. Yes, Blizzard just loves those allusions to Greek Mythology and while you can draw allusions between the projects and their codenames, itÂ’s not worth doing it.

But the exciting thing about Titan, for me at least, is that itÂ’s fresh and new. This is the first time Blizzard has said it's working on something new, rather than something expanding upon one of its classic franchises. This really is breaking the Blizzard mould which means the game will have been in development for several years before they even officially announce it.

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Titan is unlikely to be StarCraft: Ghost either. Sorry folks.

But where there is excitement, there is also frustration. We know nothing about the game other than it exists and itÂ’s not WoW 2.0 (that was Cataclysm). Blizzard have been recruiting for jobs within the Titan team for several years but none of those give us any info. We know itÂ’s an MMO, thereÂ’s a good chance it might be ported to consoles as well as just running on PC and Mac but we donÂ’t know. For Blizzard to even answer questions about the game, well, the wind must be blowing in the right direction and the stars aligned just so.

Some of the best rumors though, well they come from within the industry. These are the rumors that your average WoW fan often donÂ’t even hear about. For example, the craziest most insane, never-gonna-happen rumor I came across was that Titan is some kind of weird steampunk first person shooter MMO. IÂ’m not even sure if itÂ’s possible to mix the two genres and still come out with a playable product at the end.

If Blizzard does reveal Titan at this yearÂ’s BlizzCon - and there is a small chance they might - it going to send waves through the industry. Every other company has made its money on certain franchises but few have worked on the same ones for so many years. The thing is, the people at Blizzard do their job very well, theyÂ’re one of the few developers who take time to work on games. Look at Diablo III, it was officially announced in 2008; itÂ’s now 2011 and we still donÂ’t have an official release date, even if itÂ’s likely the game will release in Q4 of this year or, at a push, early Q1 2012.

Only time will tell what Titan will bring and we donÂ’t have too much longer to wait. The wheels are turning, the cogs rumbling and the great hype machine gearing up. By my reckoning, this year is going to be the Year of Diablo, next year is probably another WoW expansion and the next SCII expansion, Heart of the Swarm. This means weÂ’re primed for that official announcement which will introduce a new addition to the Blizzard family of titles and itÂ’s hard not to be excited.

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