There’s a lot we can extrapolate from what’s already been announced regarding Blizzard’s next MMO. For those of you who don’t know, “Titan” is the official Blizzard code name for the new MMO they’ve been working on for the past several years. If you think back to the early days of WoW, certain names pop up that haven’t heard in awhile… names like Rob Pardo and Jeffrey Kaplan. Where did they go? They’re working on Titan. As for the game itself, two things can easily be surmised. The genre… and the release date. I’ll tell you both. First, let’s talk about genre.
For the genre, we need to focus on one specific fact from Blizzard: Titan will be an entirely new franchise. That tells us a lot. In fact, it pretty much tells us the genre.
First off, let’s face it– We alraedy know it’s either going to be science fiction or fantasy. It’s not as if Blizzard is going to release a Wild West MMO. Science fiction and fantasy are what they do and they’re sticking with it.
Fantasy is a genre you can divide in to two halves: high fantasy, and low fantasy. For high fantasy, think of Tolkien… or even more so, think of WoW. High fantasy is all about the fantastic. Prevalent magic, over stylized-armor, and countless humanoid races. Low fantasy is much more down to Earth. Think Conan the Barbarian, or Greek Mythology. Magic and monsters exist, but they’re rare. Human’s are effectively the only humanoid race.
Now… I’m going to make an educated guess here, and I’m going to stand by it. I don’t think Blizzard is going to have two franchises that use the same genre. There’s too much cross-over. It’d damage both games’ originality. You’d have two teams of artists creating virtually the same art every week. It just doesn’t work.
WoW is high fantasy…. *very* high fantasy.
Diablo is low fantasy. Granted it’s pretty high on the scale, but for Blizzard, a team that loves to lean towards “high”, yeah. Diablo is Blizzard’s version of a low fantasy.
And so we turn our attention to Science Fiction. Now– is there such a thing as high science fiction and low science fiction? Sure. It may not be as popular a divide as it is in fantasy, but it’s certainly there. So, what is high science fiction? It’s a space opera, like Battlestar Galactica or Star Wars. The fictional science is fantastic, yet so commonplace it isn’t even revered. Space ships look used and beat up. Confederations are made up of planets instead of countries. Spaceships are as accessible as airplanes. Does Blizzard already have a game like this? You bet they do… StarCraft.
So… that leaves us with only one choice… and there’s your answer. Low science fiction. What is low science fiction? Think “Blade Runner”, “Snow Crash”, Cyberpunk, or heck even Steampunk. It’s the future, everything is much more advanced, but man is still very much planet bound. And that is what Titan will be. Low science fiction
As for the release date? I’ve made this guess before, but I’ll make it again. 2015. Yep, four years. And yes, I’m aware that a recent leaked document from Blizzard pegged the release for sometime in late 2013. So what? Blizzard never meets their deadlines. Instead, they release each of their products “when they’re ready”. Sure, they’ve also officially stated that WoW will still be going on when Titan is released. But that really doesn’t mean anything. Heck, “Dark Age of Camelot” is still going on. This might sound cynical, but I think it’s true… When we ask, “When will Titan be out?” what we’re really asking is, “How far will Blizzard go over their internal deadline.” My guess is 18 months. 2015.
So there you have it. Four years from now, in 2015, Blizzard will be releasing their low science fiction MMO.
…Thank god the beta will be starting much sooner.