And how at Blizzard
over the years, roughly 50% of all games in development don't make it to release. Former CEO and Blizzard co-founder, Mike Morhaime spoke to an audience at a Gamelab conference in Spain recently and opened up about the studio's highly publicised but never released follow-up to World of Warcraft
- code-named 'Titan'.
"We took a lot of our senior developers and put them on this project. And I think where we really failed was we failed to control scope," Morhaime told the audience when the subject of Titan came up. "It was very ambitious. It was a brand new universe, and it was going to be the next generation MMO that did all sorts of different things. It had different modes. We were sort of building two games in parallel, and it really struggled to come together."
Titan was in development at Blizzard for several years, and due its scope and ambition, the team struggled with keeping the tech in-line with everything. "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," Mike adds. "It was really difficult to get the engine to where it needed to be while keeping the team busy. And so they wanted to basically take some time to redo all the tooling and the technology to be able to be more productive making the game."
From there the project was put on hold and the team was asked to take time, and focus or hone in on a single idea that could move forward. After a couple of months that idea, a team-based co-operative shooter using some aspects of Titan's universe, eventually became Overwatch.
"I think it was probably one of the best decisions that we made," Mike recalls. "We took something that wasn't going to ship for a very long time, might never have shipped, and turned it into an awesome game."
And in terms of might have never shipped, he also confirms that the ideal and Blizzard brand is synonymous with great games - and striving to hit that mark every time leads to a number of projects falling by the wayside. Of which he puts at around 50%, meaning that for every Blizzard released there's one lost to time - or an alternate universe. "I've gone back every few years and checked the math on that," Mike confirms. "And it's pretty consistent."