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Blizzard's Unannounced 'Titan' MMO Rebooted, Development Team Reduced

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the back-to-the-drawing-board dept.

Games 193

An anonymous reader writes "VentureBeat reports that the next-gen MMO Blizzard Entertainment has been hinting at since 2007, codenamed 'Titan,' is getting restarted with a drastically reduced development team. It was originally being built by a 100-person 'dream team' of developers that had their roots in other popular Blizzard games. Many people were expecting an announcement about Titan at this year's Blizzcon, but now that looks unlikely. 'Blizzard's development teams aren't known for their speed. The publisher often cancels projects that have been in the works for years if it believes that those games don't meet its standard of quality.' VentureBeat's sources say the game is now looking at a 2016 release at the earliest."

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193 comments

Where have I heard this before? (0)

Dutchmaan (442553) | about a year ago | (#43846565)

Didn't they already release Duke Nukem Forever?

Re:Where have I heard this before? (1)

flayzernax (1060680) | about a year ago | (#43846745)

Blizzard did not. But it was released and went silently into the night without much fanfare.

Re:Where have I heard this before? (5, Interesting)

Anubis IV (1279820) | about a year ago | (#43846845)

There's a bit of a difference between what happened with DNF, where the developer publicly announced the game and presented images and video for gamers to salivate over, along with promising an imminent release, before they sat on it for 10+ years as they twice (I think) scrapped the game engine in favor of something newer, and what Blizzard is doing here, where they're rebooting a game that's only been confirmed publicly to state that it is indeed an actual project in development and that it's an MMO based on a new IP with no release date ready to be announced. You can't have vaporware until something is first promised, but Blizzard hasn't promised anything at all here, unless you want to take things like that game release schedule that leaked a few years back as an implicit promise that they would carry through on their plans.

I'm not nearly the fan of Blizzard that I once was, but I've always respected their willingness to cancel projects, rather than push them out the door for a quick buck if they don't think that the games are fun or that they meet their standard of quality.

Re:Where have I heard this before? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43847703)

StarCraft 2 took 12 years and was great.

Re:Where have I heard this before? (1)

Luckyo (1726890) | about a year ago | (#43848135)

This is a game they didn't even announce. Can't really "delay" something you didn't even announce a name for yet, can you?

All in all, this is understandable. They laid foundation for this game when MMOs and social integration were the hottest thing. Neither is all that big now, and trying to shake their WoW gravy train at the time when it's slowly losing subscribers in the time of F2P MMOs is unlikely to result in anything good.

Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43846573)

So what happened with Diablo III? Because that was quality beta testing at its highest!

Re:Really? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43846591)

They tested the hell out of that real money auction house, thank you very much. Then they wrapped a game around it.

Re:Really? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43846719)

often cancels projects that have been in the works for years if it believes that those games don't meet its standard of quality

HAA AhAA AAhAhAAhAA AAhHHaHHaHHH HA HAHA

i played d3 free trial once for 20 minutes. prompted me to reinstall d2 again for the first time in years.

Re:Really? (5, Insightful)

smash (1351) | about a year ago | (#43846765)

I know its cool to hate on D3, but it wasn't actually a *bad* game. I got about 50 hours out of it, which works out to be about $1.20 AU per hour. Cheap entertainment. Sure, nothing like as much as I spent on D2, but I don't have the free time these days either.

Re:Really? (2)

ganjadude (952775) | about a year ago | (#43846841)

agredd. I played it and enjoyed it for a good amount of time, but I also can still put in D 2 and enjoy it, the same just isnt true with 3 thats where my issue is.

Re:Really? (4, Insightful)

spire3661 (1038968) | about a year ago | (#43846877)

Overall, DIII is a badly engineered game. It focuses way too much on a long tail of revenue. If they had not insisted on always online and a Real Money Auction House, the game would have been a better playable game.

Re:Really? (4, Interesting)

MachineShedFred (621896) | about a year ago | (#43848755)

I stopped playing when the money-for-bits scheme was patched in. It was obvious that all the good items were going to cost me real money that I'd much rather spend elsewhere, and all the sub-standard garbage items were going to end up on the in-game currency auction.

Between that, and the ridiculous balance issues that had one class easily wiping up the maps on the highest difficulty levels, and another class getting completely tooled in about 2 seconds by the exact same creatures, both equipped equally, I stopped playing and forgot D3 existed until just now.

Re:Really? (1)

halivar (535827) | about a year ago | (#43846979)

It was fun enough for me to play twice. I got to the highest difficulty, hit the brick wall, and called it quits. I definitely feel like I got my money's worth, though. And the gameplay was pretty frikkin' fun.

Re:Really? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43847547)

Not *bad* and good or excellent are very different level of standard.
Of course, "quality standard" doesn't equate to "good quality".
Does ISO9001 rings a bell ?

If I learned anything from Asheron's Call 2 (5, Interesting)

GoodNewsJimDotCom (2244874) | about a year ago | (#43846615)

Asheron's Call 1 was a great game and had an update every month. Players were very happy playing it. The developers(Turbine) wanted better graphics, so they decided to make an entirely new game: Asheron's Call 2. It was being developed at about the same time as World of Warcraft. The developers decided to rush it out because they were worried WOW would compete with AC2's numbers and whoever got the players first would retain them. The problem is that Asheron's Call2 was a failure in terms of game mechanics:Armor didn't work and there were ways to make sure you never got hit at all. Asheron's Call2 was rushed and as such, it took away most of the Asheron's Call 1 players :( People quit Asheron's Call 1 to play AC2.

So Blizzard should be careful not to make the same mistake. As long as you have the leading MMO on the block, keep updating that. Keep making content for WOW and expansions. All the while, make a great project on the side in case WOW gets dethroned. I almost got a game design interview for World of Warcraft, and my big suggestion was for them was that they make enough money to create a lot more content than they do now. Aside from content, what they could do is explore end game content such as player housing and kingdom simulation. If they're worried this will screw up their subscribers in case something unpopular happens, they should run WOW experimental beta servers with different rule changes they're working on.

I see no big problem with Titan being delayed. The longer a game takes to develop is generally a good thing. And the last thing Blizzard wants is a chunk of its WOW players to come to a sub par game, then leave for something else that is new.

Re:If I learned anything from Asheron's Call 2 (4, Insightful)

autocannon (2494106) | about a year ago | (#43846709)

I see no big problem with Titan being delayed. The longer a game takes to develop is generally a good thing. And the last thing Blizzard wants is a chunk of its WOW players to come to a sub par game, then leave for something else that is new.

I whole heartedly disagree with this statement. There is a sweet spot of time spent for game development. My guess on that is 18-36 months. Once game development hits 3 years, the graphics engine on which it is built is old enough to be noticeable compared to the newer content. Now, not everybody cares about that, but why does it matter so much? Because the original timeline was already within that time frame. That means the game is getting grossly overdue. Grossly overdue games are in that state because the devs cannot get it to a releasable state.

Most recent example in my head. TOR. You may have heard of that incredibly expensive, overdue boondoggle that EA put out. I bought it. Was excited to play it. Until I played it. There are many problems with that game. I won't even blame the devs for them, because IMO it's fundamental flaws in the game's design.

Duke Nukem is another. Or the recent Blizzard offering, Diablo 3. Look, once a computer program (any program really) goes too far over schedule there is something wrong with it. Titan being delayed and large scale developer changes means that game is fatally flawed and they're probably looking to push it to any functional state possible so they can sell a crappy ass game to as many unsuspecting fools as possible.

Re:If I learned anything from Asheron's Call 2 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43847175)

It probably didn't help that EA forced a buggy alpha version of Hero Engine on the dev team.

Re:If I learned anything from Asheron's Call 2 (2)

ravenshrike (808508) | about a year ago | (#43848001)

Or that the dev team couldn't even apply the updates directly to the servers. They had to send patches to the guys at HeroEngine, who would then look over them and 'correct' them before applying. Then there's also the fact that EA forced it out before they had gotten around to properly testing and designing large scale high-level PVP, which turned a shitload of people off.

Re:If I learned anything from Asheron's Call 2 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43848453)

"They had to send patches to the guys at HeroEngine" is false, you can read in interviews with the people from HeroEngine that they never saw the code after BioWare got their alpha version (and in separate interviews you can find that BioWare had about 100 developers working on their fork, which imo explains a lot).

Re:If I learned anything from Asheron's Call 2 (3, Insightful)

CodeBuster (516420) | about a year ago | (#43847177)

Perhaps this a dumb question by why not simply develop the parts of the game that aren't likely to change much during development, like data storage / retrieval, mechanics, and the like while saving things like graphics and sound until the game is in the final 6-12 months? In theory it should be possible to have the skeleton of the game pretty much templated out and ready to go for building out the mechanics and then working in the graphics and sound. Why do the window dressings take so much time in a game relative to the frame of the building and the wiring? Are they just doing it wrong?

Re:If I learned anything from Asheron's Call 2 (4, Interesting)

windwalkr (883202) | about a year ago | (#43847685)

Major problems can be found after the ramping-up stage that you mention. The team decides that they can fix the problem, but only by changing some fundamental assumption upon which the whole game is based. This causes a lot of rework and can blow budgeting and scheduling out of the water. Worse, gp is fairly correct about a practical life cycle for a game engine- so if you bump the schedule like this a few times, you may need to start making "upgrades" to your underlying tech before you've even released the product. That can be a vicious cycle (see DNF.)

"Data storage / retrieval, mechanics" are often the smallest part of a game. What's really expensive is often the art assets, sound, levels, and polish. And a change to any of these can mean updating everything else to suit (oh, we're going with an egyptian theme now?)

Re:If I learned anything from Asheron's Call 2 (3, Interesting)

mellyra (2676159) | about a year ago | (#43848685)

Perhaps this a dumb question by why not simply develop the parts of the game that aren't likely to change much during development, like data storage / retrieval, mechanics, and the like while saving things like graphics and sound until the game is in the final 6-12 months? In theory it should be possible to have the skeleton of the game pretty much templated out and ready to go for building out the mechanics and then working in the graphics and sound. Why do the window dressings take so much time in a game relative to the frame of the building and the wiring? Are they just doing it wrong?

that's exactly what they are doing - first they put a very small team on the project to develop the engine, backend technology, dev tools, ... while the game designers do their magic. then they ramp up the team size massively and start to develop actual art assets, start to write content, design levels, ... (which takes much longer than 6-12 months).

My understanding is that in this case Blizzard had already started production when they decided that they need to go back to phase 1 and rework the game design and the technical underpinnings. So they scaled the team back down (no point wasting money on creating e.g. art assets which later have to be laboriously ported to the rewritten engine, or creating dungeons that will have to be trashed because core game mechanics were rethought in the meantime, ...).

Re:If I learned anything from Asheron's Call 2 (1)

ShakaUVM (157947) | about a year ago | (#43847749)

>Or the recent Blizzard offering, Diablo 3.

Which blows out of the water their claim the delays have anything about waiting for games that set a high bar for quality.

Re:If I learned anything from Asheron's Call 2 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43847767)

Your timeline is generally alright, but your reasoning is completely wrong. The reason 18-36 months is optimal for most kinds of games is because if it's any longer than that it means your development is probably suffering from scoping issues or fundamental design issues. It means you weren't willing or able to cut down to the core of what was fun in the game and are just adding features for the sake of adding them, not to actually improve the game. You're also refusing to give up on features that seemed good in theory but didn't pan out in gameplay testing.

Games that bank on graphics generally only fall into two categories: ones that don't care about the gameplay or are just blindly iterating on a known successful gameplay paradigm, or ones that are having millions of dollars thrown at them anyway and can just afford to hire a billion artists.

Also, Diablo 3 is fine. It's better than most modern action RPGs, and better than most games in general that came out last year. It just wasn't the smash hit that Diablo 2 was. It's like a 8.5/10 game instead of a 10/10 game (and has risen to a 9/10 game in patches).

Re:If I learned anything from Asheron's Call 2 (2)

higuita (129722) | about a year ago | (#43848489)

ok, a good graphics engine is good to start selling, everyone likes eye candy BUT.... ... after some weeks, all what matters is the game, the history, how everything works... eye candy only last a few weeks (look at crysis games) , a good game last years (WoW have weak graphics for today standard but still a good game) or even never die (look at nethack, plain ASCII interface and its still one of the best game ever, with thousand of players)

Re:If I learned anything from Asheron's Call 2 (3, Interesting)

flayzernax (1060680) | about a year ago | (#43846783)

Sort of but not really. They should have focused on making AC2 as much like AC1 as possible. But updating the game engine and playability with better UI design. Like doing things they would have in hindsight if they weren't locked into the feature set that AC1 had only.

So the point I disagree on is having to have the same engine and client. If they can release content semi-annually. They can upgrade the engine and code semi-annually too. Beyond patches, or widget like features.

No MMO has done that though.

Though WoW could maybe use a core rewrite. The assets are not bad looking still. For the audience in question.

But the people who liked MMO's are done with them. The new generation is not inspired by last generations toy. I think we should give MMO's a rest for awhile as a species.

The next big thing will be a SIMULATION. That is multiuser. And user generated.

Re: If I learned anything from Asheron's Call 2 (3, Interesting)

O('_')O_Bush (1162487) | about a year ago | (#43846879)

Runeescap is actually one a more aggressive development cycle than the one you describe, which is why it still has millions of players (the vast majority fairly new) despite being over 12 years old.

Re: If I learned anything from Asheron's Call 2 (1)

flayzernax (1060680) | about a year ago | (#43846939)

Cool I didn't ever dabble with Runescape. Glad to know my idea is not completely unfounded =)

I was a die hard EQ player. Which updated from Directx6 to 8 with Luclin. And had a big client side UI update with Velious. Nobody much liked the Luclin content. But I think almost everyone universally liked the upgrades to the client.

And the Shadows of Faydwer client was another big re-write which was popular. So I think that might be where I got the idea in the back of my head =)

Re: If I learned anything from Asheron's Call 2 (2)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about a year ago | (#43847903)

In my mind, the jump the shark moment for EverQuest was when they changed the ogre and troll models from their cool designs and turned them into tall, mildly misshapen humans. And then turned that on as the default model.

Re:If I learned anything from Asheron's Call 2 (3, Informative)

fast turtle (1118037) | about a year ago | (#43846943)

Guildwars did that. Released new content and slight changes on a semi-regular basis until the GW2 release. Now it's in automatic maintenance mode and only critical issues (game stoppers will be fixed) but hey, at least they didn't shut the servers down so I have a chance to complete the damn thing.

Cause and effect (5, Interesting)

girlintraining (1395911) | about a year ago | (#43846617)

"VentureBeat reports that the next-gen MMO Blizzard Entertainment has been hinting at since 2007, codenamed 'Titan,' is getting restarted with a drastically reduced development team.

This wouldn't happen to be because World of Warcraft started hemmoraging cash and players recently, would it?

The cash cow is sick -- quick, buy more cows!

Re:Cause and effect (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year ago | (#43846897)

I'd be curious to know what, if any, shift in the makeup of the dev team occurred during the 'drastic reduction'. Was it roughly proportionate, just the hive tyrants at Vivendi responding to bad numbers by reflexivel cutting costs?

Was it the project getting more or less thrown away and rebooted? Was it the entire art team busy modelling pet zergling DLC for 'World of Starcraft' being sacked and the remaining developers told that they'll have to actually develop a new game, not a WoW mod?

Re:Cause and effect (3, Informative)

osu-neko (2604) | about a year ago | (#43846925)

If by "sick" you mean still the healthiest, fattest cow in the field, several times stronger than the next biggest cow, then yeah, you're right.

Re:Cause and effect (1)

halivar (535827) | about a year ago | (#43846975)

2007 was well before their peak of 12 million subs during Wrath of the Lich King, so no, it wouldn't.

Re:Cause and effect (1)

antifoidulus (807088) | about a year ago | (#43847129)

Huh? That statement makes no sense. They started out in 2007, when WoW was expanding rapidly and thus may have based a lot of the games mechanics on WoW. However WoWs sudden contraction over the past year should definitely give them cause to re-evaluate the direction Titan is going.

Re:Cause and effect (1)

LordLucless (582312) | about a year ago | (#43847373)

Except the OP is saying Blizzard is "buying more cows". It's not. It's cutting down its existing herd, exactly the opposite of what she said.

Re:Cause and effect (1)

Pubstar (2525396) | about a year ago | (#43847451)

Did you mean WoW was released in 2007? Because I remember it was released my senior year of high school (204-2005)

Re:Cause and effect (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43848469)

no, he means that news of Titan was released in 2007.

Re:Cause and effect (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43847253)

This wouldn't happen to be because World of Warcraft started hemmoraging cash and players recently, would it?

Has it? No, seriously, has WoW really been hemorrhaging cash and players?

I'm aware of the recent loss of a million subscribers, but as I understand it, that was a one-time event that can be almost entirely blamed on a Diablo III cross-promotion and a change in Chinese laws.

Even so, that leaves WoW something like five times larger than its largest competitor.

Now that doesn't mean that WoW isn't shrinking or anything like that, I just question the choice of the word "hemorrhaging." WoW may be shrinking, but it's not in any immediate danger, and Blizzard doesn't have to worry about only being four times larger than their nearest competitor any time soon.

Re:Cause and effect (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43847809)

AFAIK WOTLK was the most popular subscribed to expansion to date. The problem with looking at pure numbers is that they fluctuate greatly based on content patches.

You have a lot of people who will log on for a new content patch, play for a few months to smash their way through the top end content and then unsubscribe until a new patch arrives.

From what I have read, the most recent dip in subscribers was from the Asian market. It appears to be a combination of different playing styes (one of which mentioned above) and more competition in the MMO genre there.

Re:Cause and effect (2)

AlphaWolf_HK (692722) | about a year ago | (#43848247)

WoW is indeed losing subscribers. Not a little but a lot. It's still very profitable though, so I'm not sure where the "hemorrhaging cash" comes from, but indeed it IS hemorrhaging players, to the tune of about 1.1 to 1.3 million every quarter for the last 3 consecutive quarters (prior to that they were losing in the low to mid six digits per quarter.)

Eventually it will reach the point where it starts to become unprofitable until they scale down their servers, which they are still running as if their subscriber base was about 50% larger than it is now (presently at 8.3 million whereas it peaked at 12.7 million.) 8.3 million is a lot of revenue (I can't say how much exactly given that the monthly subscription cost isn't the same in every region, which is what this 8.3 million figure includes, and they don't provide that information in their quarterly SEC filings.)

http://www.cinemablend.com/games/Activision-Blizzard-Q1-2013-World-Warcraft-Loses-1-3-Million-Subscribers-55474.html [cinemablend.com]

Their SEC filings (which detail their financial status according to GAAP, as required by law) for both annual 10K and quarterly 10Q can be found here:

http://investor.activision.com/sec.cfm [activision.com]

I'm sure that if they could keep their subscription numbers secret from the players, they probably would (and I don't blame them, because if I were a games developer I would want to keep real-life issues out of the game itself for the sake of avoiding effects on the actual gameplay given that it is a social game) however that information is very pertinent to investors so it needs to be disclosed there. But if/when they start downscaling their servers, you can expect player drama, so I'm betting that they'll avoid that as long as they can.

Re:Cause and effect (2)

Pricetx (1986510) | about a year ago | (#43848639)

Whilst I'm not a very active WoW player, I can tell you that there is an increasingly large number of servers, or "Realms" as they're called, that are very empty (200 players online at peak time). This doesn't just have a negative effect on the social side of the game, it also causes a whole host of issues for the in-game economy, and the ability to party up for dungeons and raids.

I think from a player point a view, downscaling their number of actual game servers would be a welcome move (albeit tricky to carry out due to potential player name / guild name conflicts when multiple realms are merged).

Re:Cause and effect (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43847641)

WoW is still an incredibly profitable product.. Saying it is "hemmoraging cash" is not just a 'perspective', it's unequivocally wrong.

@2016 release date (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43846623)

Haha that's gotta be a joke.
This isn't even a simple RPG, MMOs are notorious for their development time...considering Blizzard. 2020 would be "soon"

They need something to replace WOW (3, Interesting)

Billly Gates (198444) | about a year ago | (#43846625)

I was really hoping SWTOR would be that next gen game as I actually liked the huge improvements over wow with companions, voice driven quests, choices, and companions doing the dirty profession work for you.

Wow seemed so primitive in comparison yet was bashed on slashdot for some unkown reason by Wow loyalists and other gaming sites. Sigh.

Of course I grew up but I want to see more than just wow but the fact of the matter is it is very very expensive to make a MMO. In time you run out of ideas like Kung Fu Panda in Wow. Man it rocked when Arathas was still around and Wow for me died when he was finally defeated.

Re:They need something to replace WOW (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43846811)

SW:TOR rushed to release. If they had just waited another 6-12 months to polish out their end game and pvp game play the game just might have done well. Developers really seem to only get one chance to release their game. It needs to do very well on release to get over that critical number of retained subscribers initially and then hope that those subscribers build enough hype to attract new players.

On topic: If Titan has any chance of success it will need to do something different and it will need to get it right the first time.

Re:They need something to replace WOW (4, Insightful)

halivar (535827) | about a year ago | (#43846963)

It was a perfectly serviceable KOTOR 3 single-player game. Then you got to level 50 and you were done. Not quite a replacement for WOW though.

Re:They need something to replace WOW (2)

ShakaUVM (157947) | about a year ago | (#43847759)

Yep, a lot of people don't give SWTOR enough credit. The level 40s drag for a bit, but it's a really fun single player game that just happens to be an MMO.

I don't think I bought more than one or two items on the auction house on my way up to 50, as opposed to Diablo 3, where spending even a small amount made your character six billion times more powerful and had a much worse storyline.

Re:They need something to replace WOW (1)

ildon (413912) | about a year ago | (#43848555)

It was a serviceable KotOR 3 with 60 hrs of MMO grind tacked on for no discernible reason.

Re:They need something to replace WOW (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43846987)

With your self diagnosed bawwtism I'm surprised you have time with all the Minecraft you surely play.

Re:They need something to replace WOW (3, Insightful)

flimflammer (956759) | about a year ago | (#43847645)

It always amuses me when someone comments on the latest expansion being "King Fu Panda in WoW," as if Blizzard actually didn't already have these creatures and their style many years before that movie was even a script being pitched to a studio.

Re:They need something to replace WOW (1)

runeghost (2509522) | about a year ago | (#43847771)

I'm a long-time Warcraft and Blizzard fan, and I don't recall the classic Wacraft Pandaren being bouncy food-lovers. Yet those attributes were given to them when they were included in World of Warcraft, well after the release of a certain film containing an anthropomorphized panada who was an elastic glutton.

Re:They need something to replace WOW (1)

Mike Frett (2811077) | about a year ago | (#43848567)

The same way people swore up and down that Guild Wars 2 would be the WoW killer?. Instead they turned it into a P2W Game and now people have just given up on the MMO Genre. If anything, 'Titan' will be a 'buy once, play for free' game with a shop; like GW2. Blizz has already mentioned the F2P model in their future plans.
To be quite honest, I can't see a success for Titan in the way WoW was. The best days for an MMO are gone, the market is too saturated.

Blizzard does/did make great Games, and I have much respect that they want to get it right and not throw it out the door unfinished. Me and my brother bought D3, I played for a few days and he played for about a week before realizing the huge role the Cash Shop played in advancing. It rendered the game unplayable and not fun for us. Thankfully Blizz admitted the Cash Shop was a bad idea, that doesn't mean we'll never see it again.

9 years? (1)

Brawlking (2590947) | about a year ago | (#43846631)

9 years in development by the time it comes out? People will have forgotten about it by then, the next piece of vaporware from Blizzard. With WoW going very stale, it's time for them to do something, something before 3 years from now.

Re:9 years? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43846759)

What exactly was their last piece of vaporware?

Re:9 years? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43846839)

Diablo 3.

Re:9 years? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43846889)

http://diablo.incgamers.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/I92NZOGURTC913690923826751.png

2.1 million players per day does not a vaporware make.

Re:9 years? (1)

Brawlking (2590947) | about a year ago | (#43847181)

They talked and talked about StarCraft: Ghost, never happened. I guess it's technically not vaporware.

Re:9 years? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43848271)

There were sneak-peak previews and gameplay videos released back in 2002/2003 and was expected to be a Gamecube release but it soon was forgotten and abandoned shortly after. I was spewing too, looked good to me.

Good! (0)

smash (1351) | about a year ago | (#43846687)

A "dream team" of 100 for a game is only going to mean design by committee, and you'll end up with something like the software equivalent of the MS Surface Pro. Something that tries to be too many things and is "meh" at all of them. And thus, crap.

R.I.P. Blizzard (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43846689)

R.I.P. Blizzard - never forget.

Re:R.I.P. Blizzard (2)

flayzernax (1060680) | about a year ago | (#43846803)

You mean Vivendi-Activision. Blizzard died a decade ago. It just took awhile to shake loose the last good employees they had.

Re:R.I.P. Blizzard (1)

seebs (15766) | about a year ago | (#43846819)

I would consider the death to be about the time of the Activision merger, so 2009-2010. Not really a decade yet.

Re:R.I.P. Blizzard (1)

flayzernax (1060680) | about a year ago | (#43846947)

You are right. I thought it was earlier. I never bothered to look up the dates. And thanks for the correction.

Re:R.I.P. Blizzard (1)

flayzernax (1060680) | about a year ago | (#43846965)

In December 2007, Activision announced that the company and its assets would merge with fellow games developer and publisher, Vivendi Games.

Well they were thinking of it as far back as 2007. But that doesn't mean the boat was rocking hard back then either. And that's still not a decade =)

Learning from their own mistakes... (1)

FlynnMP3 (33498) | about a year ago | (#43846863)

I hope this is Blizzard learning from their own recent mistakes. The cynic in me thinks that they are cleaning out the old blood, the ones who knew how to design games and what made them re-playable, and replacing them with developers who know and love the McWoW formula.

They've ruined their own market. (5, Interesting)

Seumas (6865) | about a year ago | (#43846967)

WoW is still the biggest MMO several times over, even a decade later. Because of every game's attempt to mimic WoW in every aspect possible, the genre has made almost no progress in the last decade. They're all just re-skins of WoW and because of that, few are successful. However, because developers feel only a WoW type MMO can be successful, they're not willing to take steps to make bold new MMO games that are not just re-skins of WoW.

So, a decade later, the MMO genre is gasping. Clones of clones of clones. People aren't tired of MMOs as a concept, but are tired of their execution. Unless Blizzard has something amazing up their sleeve, they're just going to wind up releasing yet another WoW (though in space or whatever). They'll just be appealing to the existing WoW addicts they already have who are somehow so brain-numbed that they'll sit and play the same thing for a decade, even after they've gone through all the content a dozen times.

Though perhaps not directly, Blizzard has spoiled the genre and the audience. Their game sucked the air out of the room, making it difficult for others in the business who can only be bothered to poorly mimic them. And now everything is drying up.

I won't be surprised if it is completely canceled. Or, at least, postponed long beyond 2016, ultimately.

Re:They've ruined their own market. (5, Interesting)

mark_wilkins (687537) | about a year ago | (#43847013)

There's always EVE Online, which is about as far from a WoW clone as one can get. It's not an alternative to WoW, but a successful, different MMO model, and I think there's a lot to learn from the differences between the two of them. For the record, I've played both extensively.

Re:They've ruined their own market. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43847285)

There's always EVE Online, which is about as far from a WoW clone as one can get. It's not an alternative to WoW, but a successful, different MMO model, and I think there's a lot to learn from the differences between the two of them. For the record, I've played both extensively.

Except that the EVE Online player community is not very helpful at all to newcomers and generally push them away. Just as braindead as most of the McWow players but a hell of a lot more meaner and nasty.

Re:They've ruined their own market. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43847635)

I am ashamed to admit that I fear Pathfinder Online will be just the same. It wants to be an EVE clone instead of a WoW clone. How embarrassing for Paizo. Oh wait, Paizo is an experienced cloner since Pathfinder itself is a clone of D&D 3.5...

Curse this age of risk-averse corporate-funded game design! Maybe the indies still have some hope of kindling innovation, but MMOs, due to their massive budgets, will never innovate again. At least, not in the foreseeable future.

Re:They've ruined their own market. (1)

ravenshrike (808508) | about a year ago | (#43848029)

And yet, so much better than 3.5. The world's brighter, the content crunchier, and not nearly as much ability inflation.

Re:They've ruined their own market. (1)

Tridus (79566) | about a year ago | (#43848477)

There was a big market for continued development on the 3.5 system, and Wizards decided not to provide it in favor of the much reviled 4.0.

Paizo got to walk right into an open market and take it over. Smart business, really.

Re:They've ruined their own market. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43847723)

Some people actually like mean and nasty MMOs. To hell with flowers and happy colors. I want a dystopic neuromancer style MMO where people are nasty and dying is permanent, or at least hurts a lot.

Re:They've ruined their own market. (1)

Tridus (79566) | about a year ago | (#43848487)

Sure, some people like that. Most people don't. You're not going to get to 10 million players with a game where the entire playerbase is jackasses that try to chase newbies out of their little private playground.

Re:They've ruined their own market. (1)

Pubstar (2525396) | about a year ago | (#43847799)

Can't leave out Tera's amazing combat system. That game was amazing. Stopped playing it because it was making me screw up in school.

Re:They've ruined their own market. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43848319)

I tried to get into EVE Online, but then I realised the whole game is merely about efficiency, combinatorial optimisation.... why am I paying a subscription to essentially do busy work? I can do that in reality now and get paid for it.

Re:They've ruined their own market. (1)

flimflammer (956759) | about a year ago | (#43847675)

I disagree with this assessment. Yes, there are an uncountable number of WoW clones out there, but there are many games that are trying to break the classic MMO mold that Blizzard essentially set the gold standard to, with varying degrees of success.

Now is an exciting time for MMOs with more and more of them taking on more action oriented combat and stepping outside of what we consider traditional.

I think Blizzard just created a target they are not even sure they can even beat themselves.

Re:They've ruined their own market. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43848021)

Yes, there are an uncountable number of WoW clones out there, but there are many games that are trying to break the classic MMO mold that Blizzard essentially set the gold standard to, with varying degrees of success.

I love how you state that yet fail to name any examples. Or, to put it bluntly: [citation needed]

Now is an exciting time for MMOs with more and more of them taking on more action oriented combat and stepping outside of what we consider traditional.

You mean MMOFPSes, don't you? OK, yes, those count as "not a WoW clone" but that's kind of cheating in that they're also not really in the same genre.

I'm interested in hearing an example of an MMORPG that doesn't try and clone WoW in some way, because that's a much harder - and likely impossible - task. I'm not aware of any current or upcoming MMORPG that can't be described as "like WoW, but..."

Do 'Dream Teams' guarantee quality new games? (1)

Camael (1048726) | about a year ago | (#43847005)

I question the logic. It seems to me that developers who reach that status have tired old ideas and/or have blown their creative wad, so to speak, and tend to coast by on past achievements. Luminaries such as Richard Garriott, Will Wright, Bill Roper, Chris Metzen etc... have they really created anything notable after their breakthrough games?

It might be better to throw the project to a team of fresh developers full of exciting, new ideas and give their vision a chance to live.

Old hands are safe hands, but make for a dull journey.

Re:Do 'Dream Teams' guarantee quality new games? (1)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | about a year ago | (#43847369)

I question the logic. It seems to me that developers who reach that status have tired old ideas and/or have blown their creative wad, so to speak, and tend to coast by on past achievements. Luminaries such as Richard Garriott, Will Wright, Bill Roper, Chris Metzen etc... have they really created anything notable after their breakthrough games?

It might be better to throw the project to a team of fresh developers full of exciting, new ideas and give their vision a chance to live.

Old hands are safe hands, but make for a dull journey.

There are some. For instance:

Doug Church: Ultima Underworld, Ultima Underworld 2, System Shock, Thief, Deus Ex, Portal 2

Ken Levine: Thief, System Shock 2, Bioshock, Bioshock Infinite

Re:Do 'Dream Teams' guarantee quality new games? (1)

AuMatar (183847) | about a year ago | (#43847905)

The one true video game god, Miyamoto- Donkey Kong, Zelda (all of them), Mario (all of them), and half the rest of the nintendo catalog.

But these are few and far between. Normally when you see a game hyping their lead designer, its a doomed project. It means they don't have enough ideas to hype them instead. And at the same time it raises the expectation levels. Bad combo.

Re:Do 'Dream Teams' guarantee quality new games? (1)

ildon (413912) | about a year ago | (#43848577)

We'll find out when Hearthstone comes out. They basically took all of their top talent and made a tiny supergroup to try and make a small scope, short dev time game.

FFXIV:ARR is just that good (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43847071)

They must have had some devs in the ARR beta to see how good a game SHOULD look with a huge dev team, and in less than a third of the time to boot.

/troll

What the hell? (3, Funny)

gstoddart (321705) | about a year ago | (#43847097)

This summary and article read like someone issuing a denial about actually making a video game.

Blizzard would like to announce it is delaying the release of a product it has not yet announced.

We at Blizzard are actively pondering creating the Next Big Thing, but we might cancel it, or we might not, but we're doing it with fewer people, starting from scratch, and won't have anything for several years. But don't panic, we have agile programming.

Applicable Quote (1)

DonnellCaballero (2934957) | about a year ago | (#43847527)

"A delayed game is eventually good, but a rushed game is forever bad." - Shigeru Miyamoto

Re: Applicable Quote (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43848673)

A delayed game isn't always guaranteed to be good. It can also mean incompetence. -anonymous

What standard of quality ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43847529)

Ever heard of Diablo III ?

Genre-Specific Development (1)

some old guy (674482) | about a year ago | (#43848191)

Apart from the premature press release, I'd give Blizzard the benefit of the doubt on going slow with their next MMO.

They have proven their prowess at MMO's with WoW, which like EQ and others will eventually stale for players and be rendered technologically obsolete by new engines, platforms, etc. They probably realize that an advanced 100% interactive sandbox world, perhaps like the rumored Everquest Next, will take a ton of time and effort to get right.

MMO players, especially RP types, tend to be very franchise-oriented. It is in Blizzard's best interest to have a next-gen WoW product in the wings while the original is still commercially viable and thus retain their core player base.

For all it's failings, Sony has gotten a lot of mileage out of the EQ franchise. EQ and EQ2 fans, even many who quit from burnout, will flock to EQ Next if it ever launches because of their familiarity and comfort with the lore cache and medieval/hobbit weltanschauung. Continuity has benefited the Final Fantasy franchise as well. Blizzard, I'm sure, has taken note.

Fantasy RP games, especially MMO's, cater to fan bases with certain tastes in game world, be it outer space, sword n' dungeon, infantry combat, what have you. Blizzard had a knockout with WoW. I don't think they want to miss out on a repeat.

Disclaimer: I'm not a WoW player, but I am an MMORPG fan.

Re:Genre-Specific Development (2)

myowntrueself (607117) | about a year ago | (#43848397)

The thing is, theres barely any RP element in WoW. Nor any MMO.

Theres a bare handful of players who empathise with their character in any way at all, or have any kind of backstory for their character. Its just not part of the mindset; its more like "pew pew pew I get to blow stuffs up with ma lazors/lightning bolts/2 handed sword of buttkicking". Thats about how shallow it is compared to the RPG genre.

Notice how we refer to them as MMO now, not MMORPG?

But hey if you know an actual MMORPG please tell me about it.

Re:Genre-Specific Development (1)

some old guy (674482) | about a year ago | (#43848561)

Sadly, I tend to agree. Hopefully the character-specific interactivity that comes with "sandboxing" will give individual characters an identity, and unique "life story" beyond "Level 99 Troll Ninja Paladin" or whatever. I don't know which publisher will be first-to-market with a sandbox MMO, but it should help make RP a viable experience in MMO's again.

The only real RP I've seen lately is pretty limited. There are still some active RP guilds on the EQ2 primary RP server, Antonia Bayle, but the server as a whole has devolved into casual grind-and-raid play. The only RP personality traits my main chars have is from being reborn after a 9-year original career on the now-defunct EQOA Frontiers.

I have a friend who tries to RP in Eve Online with limited success.

Re:Genre-Specific Development (1)

towermac (752159) | about a year ago | (#43848675)

Wow used to be like that. It's still baked in, in little ways. All my characters were different, and they played their roles. From unkillable bears to a gay mage that died when a semi rattled the windows too harshly. I really enjoyed questing, and you are right to point out the importance of the RP element, and how it sucks when it's missing. Once, when trying to help a dead little girl's ghost who didn't know she was dead, to find her family, and they're monsters now .. ; I cried and left that zone and never went back. That's role playing, right?

But WoW has eliminated a lot of the backstory, a lot of the old quests; trimming it down for newbies. And yet the more they trim and streamline, the less people they have..

Note to self: When you have a video game, never throw away the good work of previous developers. Generally, more is better.

Re:Genre-Specific Development (1)

towermac (752159) | about a year ago | (#43848699)

I don't think it has to get stale.

Blizz should have realized that they would never top the Wrath Xpac of Wow, and moved it to a buy-the-game-once and subscribe for life model. Continual little updates, new content even (but that doesn't mean level and stat inflation), filling out areas rushed in the past; and maybe most importantly, keeping the game balanced for the best PvP on the internet. They really had it close to the perfect game at some point between BC and Wrath..

I'd still be playing if they had stuck with that. Titan might be finished by now if they had used the resources on it instead of destroying WoW.

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