Blizzard, the company behind uber-popular games like Diablo 3, World Of Warcraft and Hearthstone, announced that they are cancelling one of their MMO projects known as Titans.
While Titans was never officially announced by Blizzard, it was an open secret and had been in development for almost 7 years. Titan was an MMO based on a near-future Earth. Players could select a character and a race, which would affect how they played the game. Titan also allowed for players to hold day jobs such as butchers, and engineers etc. A player could also start a family if they wanted too. In fact, Blizzard was even rumored to hire some devs from the Sim City franchise to help them in family creation.
When it was first announced, Titan was rumored to be a spin-off from the Star Craft franchise, but Blizzard had later scraped that notion, clarifying that it was a brand new IP. In 2011, Paul Sams (Blizzard’s Chief Operating Officer) had said that Titan was already playable. In 2012, chief creative officer Rob Pardo had said that the Titan dev team had almost 100 employees.
Trouble however, began to brew in 2013, when news of resource cuts and plans of resetting the game emerged. An official statement about the game during that time went as follows:
“We’ve always had a highly iterative development process, and the unannounced MMO is no exception. We’ve come to a point where we need to make some large design and technology changes to the game. We’re using this opportunity to shift some of our resources to assist with other projects while the core team adapts our technology and tools to accommodate these new changes. Note that we haven’t announced any dates for the MMO.”
That announcement as it turned out, never happened. As Blizzard CEO Mike Morhaime told Polygon, “We didn’t find the fun. We didn’t find the passion. We talked about how we put it through a reevaluation period, and actually, what we reevaluated is whether that’s the game we really wanted to be making. The answer is no.”
It seems that Blizzard will be focusing their efforts on Hearthstone and Heroes Of The Storm. Both much smaller in scope and depending on micro transactions instead of subscription.
Blizzard are well known for their games languishing in development hell for years, but they seldom cancel it. Diablo 3 came out after more than a decade after its predecessor, and World Of Warcraft took its own sweet time getting created.
But it does make you wonder. If a company like Blizzard (with seemingly infinite money and resources) are ready to cancel a project after 7 years worth of effort, then how long is too long for a game?
There is Duke Nukem Forever, which released 15 years (yes 15 years) after its prequel and was a total dud. On the other end is Diablo 3 (from Blizzard’s own house) which release after 12 years of Diablo 2 and became the most sold PC game of that year. And then there is “The Last Guardian”, a game which has been in dev for 7 years too; and when IGN broke a story reporting that the game has been cancelled, both Team Ico and Sony denied it.
What do you make of delayed/cancelled games. Are deadlines good when developing a game. How much time is too much time for a game. Let us know in the comments.