During the same Gamelab speech in which Blizzard co-founder Mike Morhaime addressed crunch culture, he also spoke about the mysterious canceled Blizzard project known as Titan which was positioned to be the studio’s successor to World of Warcraft.
“It was a brand-new universe, and it was going to be the next generation MMO, that did all sorts of things, and it had different modes, and we were kind of building two games in parallel at the same time. It sort of never really came together,” said Morhaime. “We struggled. The game was in development for many years, and we didn’t announce the game, but we had talked about that we were working on a next-generation MMO. I think that somehow the codename did get out there. I don’t know if we released that or not.”
While Titan wasn’t going to take place in the Warcraft universe, it seems that Blizzard really did hope that it would serve as a kind of next-gen follow-up to World of Warcraft that wouldn’t require them to develop a new World of Warcraft and potentially alienate that game’s fanbase (looking at you Destiny 2 at launch). So what happened to Titan? Well, it simply fell victim to the team’s ambition and problems with the technology that powered it.
“What ended up happening with that game is, at some point the team basically came to us and said that the engine really wasn’t where it needed to be, and the team had grown to a point that it was really difficult to get the engine to where it needed to be while keeping the team busy,” said Morhaime. “Instead of doing that, we asked the team to take a couple of months and think about, ‘what’s one idea that we could do going forward? Think about a couple of other ideas, where if we were to start right now and do anything we wanted, what other things could we do?’ And they took about two months, came up with a couple of different ideas, and one of those ideas was Overwatch.”
It’s not accurate to say that Titan eventually became Overwatch, but the work that went into Titan certainly helped pave the way for the development of Overwatch. Some also believe speculate that some basic design elements (mostly character and environment design ideas) did find their way into Overwatch. Now, there are rumors that a project known as Overwatch 2 is in development.
Regardless, Titan is certainly one of the more notable canceled projects in gaming history as well as Blizzard’s most notable cancellation this side of Starcraft Ghost.