Well, it's official: the next few years are going to be extremely interesting for Blizzard. World of Warcraft is still enjoying its success atop the MMO genre, and StarCraft 2 is still raking in plenty of cash. Blizzard hasn't made it a secret that they are hard at work on a brand new MMO, codenamed Titan, but with so many high-priority properties on the go, it's hard to imagine what could be earning so much of the team's energy. According to a recent interview, Blizzard feels that Titan is the future of the company, and will not only meet but exceed the commercial and critical success that World of Warcraft has enjoyed to date.
We don't yet know much about Diablo III besides the fact that it will hopefully be released in 2011, but if there is any truth to the rumors of a console release, that date is in serious danger of being pushed back.
A leaked copy of Blizzard's plan for the next 5 years revealed that Titan's 2013 release is the last event that the developer has scheduled, and the latest details on the new property may offer an explanation.
In a recent interview with Gamasutra, Blizzard COO Paul Sams explained that the developer doesn't just have high hopes for the game, but a belief that Titan will mark a brand new era for the company and the gaming world at large:
"I believe [it's] the most ambitious thing we've ever attempted... And I feel like we have set our company up to succeed on that. We have some of our most talented and most experienced developers on that team. Many of the people that built World of Warcraft are full time on that other team.
"We've spent a lot of time over the last number of years transitioning those people off [of World of Warcraft], and having great people below them that were trained up by them to run World of Warcraft... Those people have been doing it for the last couple of years without the assistance of those people that created it.
"So, I think we've effectively protected that business as it relates to our development resources and capabilities... and at the same time taking some of those other folks that had all that experience and unleashed them on this new thing."
Fans of WoW will be happy to hear that the game is being left in more than capable hands, but the fact that any property could take Blizzard's best minds from their golden goose is a major sign of things to come.
Whether or not Titan turns out to be World of StarCraft, fans of MMOs and captivating experiences will have another game to look forward to whenever Blizzard decides to pull back the curtain.
While Sams believes that WoW still has many years ahead of it, his latest comments imply that Titan may soon have gamers everywhere forgetting all about Azeroth:
"As it relates to that other [MMO], we think that it's going to be very impactful in our industry and, we hope, very impactful to the world... We think that that will be, after Diablo III, the next big thing from us. The thing that we hope will happen is that it will not stop World of Warcraft but we believe will eclipse it."
"We're very confident in that product. It's an awesome one... We're playing it already. It is a total ball to play. We think that the reach of that product is greater than anything that we've done before. We're very excited about that. I believe that it's the type of game that will have a very long life, much like World of Warcraft has."
"So, hopefully in 10, 15 and 20 years, that [new MMO] will still be growing strong and will have set a new mark in the industry for that type of product."
We enjoy speculating on the future of various game projects as much as anyone, but the comments being made about Titan are taking things to a whole new level. With World of Warcraft, StarCraft, and Diablo in their past, Blizzard has proven time and again that they understand superior game design, so when they make statements about the future of the industry, people listen.
The fact that employees are already playing the game shows just how far along Titan's development is, although Blizzard's dedication to releasing perfected properties could mean that a 2013 release is just a pipe dream. But even if it takes them the better part of a decade for Titan to see the light of day, it seems that the finished product could be even more worth the wait than ever.
What's your take on the recent increase in discussion coming from Blizzard? Do you think that they're simply trying to take some of the MMO buzz away from Bungie, or could Titan really be that good?
We'll keep you updated on Titan as more details arise, and look forward to hearing any and all theories you may have. Massively-multiplayer-live-action-role-playing, perhaps?