There are indications that World of Warcraft developer Blizzard Entertainment has decided upon a strategy that will lead to a delayed release of their next MMO unofficially codenamed “Titan”.
While delaying the release of a game is nothing new for Blizzard, this is not an episode of continuing to polish gameplay to perfection as players have come to expect from them. This is instead a major directional change that involves “large design and technology changes” according to a Blizzard statement to Kotaku. Here is that statement:
“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.”
The Titan development team was staffed with 100 artists, designers, programmers. 70 have been re-assigned to other projects within the company (Starcraft, Diablo franchises).
Along with disappointed gamers and the possible impatience of publisher Activision, Blizzard will likely also be navigating a different MMO landscape when Titan does mature to publication. Many publishers of MMO games have shifted their focus to the Free-to-Play model, opting to monetize within game micro-transactions (usually small gameplay enhancements or optional appearance additions).
Perhaps important to realize: the game in question was never officially announced. Blizzard could at anytime develop it completely or let it fade into memory. Notable Blizzard examples of the latter category: Starcraft:Ghost, and Warcraft Adventures: Lord of the Clans.
During the upcoming Electronic Entertainment Expo there will possibly be more information regarding this decision by Blizzard.