How Overwatch was born in the ashes of Blizzard’s Project Titan MMO

    
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A new piece out on the PlayStation blog is picking at MMO players’ Project Titan scar.

Blizzard’s Jeff Kaplan explains that after the seven-year Project Titan MMO collapsed, its dev team was partially scattered, the remainder tasked with coming up with a new game — in six weeks. Kaplan’s team whipped up three pitches: two MMOs (one in a Blizz universe, one in a new one) and a shooter, which ultimately became Overwatch.

The magic, Kaplan argues, came from taking MMO class concept art from Titan and turning the subjects into fully formed individual characters.

“‘[Chris Metzen] lit up to the idea that they were no longer classes but heroes, characters, people,’ says Kaplan. ‘It wasn’t the sniper; it’s now Widowmaker, and she’s a cold-blooded killer turned by Talon who used her to assassinate her husband. That was a way cooler story than just, hey, it’s the sniper, pick what nose you want and if you want the long or the short hair. It was a character, a human being. So Chris instantly said, Yes! This is what we should do.'”

The rest, as they say, is history; Blizzard went forward with the Overwatch pitch. Still, I can’t help but wish we’d gotten to see those other two MMOs.

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Crowe

Heck, not only would I have been interested in seeing the other 2 MMOs, I probably even would have subbed for a while… (until the MMOs got dumbed down)

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Dez Tal

I find this quite interesting because I am pretty sure they used the “Heroes” from the Warcraft 3 RTS and turned them into classes for the World of Warcraft MMO. I used to play a mod with a bunch of friends that just used the heroes as pre-rolled characters through a dungeon crawl. So it makes sense to re-imagine your existing IP into something else to make some quick dollars.

Yangers
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Yangers

Diablo MMO? (That has to come eventually).

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kgptzac

Or a Starcraft MMO. Both options are more interesting than Overwatch but stakes would be far higher.

ceder
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ceder

Still, I can’t help but wish we’d gotten to see those other two MMOs.

Given the pattern of wow’s stuff for a while now….yeah… no.

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Sorenthaz

I doubt Blizzard will be doing anything MMO-related unless it’s a pseudo-MMO like Destiny/The Division/etc.
’cause the chances of them making a second grand slam MMO after WoW is very low, even with the Blizzard brand backing them up, and they would need to do something that doesn’t step over WoW’s toes (or at the very least not too much unless it’s a wildly different IP/setting).

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thirtymil

‘It wasn’t the sniper; it’s now Widowmaker, and she’s a cold-blooded killer turned by Talon who used her to assassinate her husband. That was a way cooler story than just, hey, it’s the sniper, pick what nose you want and if you want the long or the short hair. It was a character, a human being.

Yeah, it’s definitely a way cooler story to turn a class into a character. That’s why MMOs let you do that bit yourself.

semugh
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semugh

Oh and here I thought they were just cloning Team fortress 2 … my bad sry … /s

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fanggwj

The most distressing thing is that Overwatch is successful. So if they can’t look beyond $$$, then they will never know if they made the right decision. Just because something is the right decision doesn’t mean its the only right decision. Just because something proved to be a right decision doesn’t mean it isn’t the wrong decision down the line and that another right decision would have more staying power.
And if the companies with the most resources are only making card games, MOBAs and esports arena shooters, then most/all other genres are going to stop existing. Within Blizzard it is already happening. Look at the amount of resources dedicated to Overwatch, Heroes of the Storm and Hearthstone as compared to Diablo 3.
I also find it very scary that they are “lightin up” to heroes over classes. RPG aspects are a boon to almost all video game genres. They increase longevity and replayability which increases value.

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Sally Bowls

“Within Blizzard, it is already happening. ” may be true but strikes me as a bit unfair to Blizzard. I.e., it’s not just Blizzard. It seems to me that non-Blizzard companies are also focusing on mobile, card games, MOBAs, esports and shooters. It seems to me that “most/all other genres are going to stop existing. ” is not the fault of Blizzard, rather Blizzard ’17 is just a reflection of today’s marketplace. Unfortunately for my preferences.

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Neurotic

I just bought it today at their reduced price and have played two or three matches. I haven’t enjoyed being exterminated by teenagers this much in years!

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DeadlyAccurate

Hey, we’re not all teenagers!

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James Mock

I would love to see blizz try their hands at a Starcraft mmo or even just a sci-fantasy mmo. I really enjoyed the gameplay of Global Agenda and I think they could really world build something interesting and fun to play.

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James Mock

Although Destiny II might fill that niche.

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Estranged

Right, Destiny is in the same business umbrella. I’m sure this helped kill Titan. Don’t want to cannibalize your own products.

Look at the Activision portfolio.