Late last week, speaking to Destructoid at the Spike TV Video Game Awards show, Blizzard’s Senior Vice President Frank Pearce confirmed that “Titan” was the code name for their upcoming Next-Gen MMO.

    ?Titan is? the media is not meant to know anything about that,? said Pearce. ?It?s our next-gen MMO and we?ve only started talking about it in a limited fashion because we want to leverage the fact that we?re working on something like that for the purpose of recruiting ? getting some of the best talent in the industry on that.?

    This prompted an absolute flurry of general gaming sites to run breathless stories about Blizzard’s next MMO, to which they attached much ill-informed speculation. I haven’t clicked all 56 stories currently queued in Google News, but a considerable number that I did read speculated that Titan was going to be essentially World of Starcraft. Others found other ways to work in Starcraft, including one from Forbes that thought “Project Hydra” the codename for Diablo III pre-announcement, was a reference to the SC Hydralisk unit. (I always assumed it came from the skill Hydra; a 3-headed dragon, which seems a much more obvious Diablo III connection.)

    This story, and the coverage of it, made clear how big a knowledge lag there is between Blizzard fansites and the general media. After all, it was not news that Blizzard is working on a next-gen MMO. They’ve commented on it numerous times over the past couple of years,they’ve got more than a dozen job openings posted for it, etc. We’ve had a news category for it since early 2009, and it wasn’t brand new knowledge then; we just hadn’t previously posted about it, since we don’t focus on Blizzard news that’s not related to the Diablo games.

    We don’t know everything, of course. We know that Blizzard is working on two unannounced projects, and that one of them is a new IP; not another D/SC/W game. We do not know if Titan is the new IP; the WoS speculation might be accurate. It’s been widely speculated that the Next Gen MMO (AKA Titan) will be a first person shooter, which seems logical; it’s the only common game genre that Blizzard hasn’t done, and there’s never (yet) been a successful FPS MMO.

    Pearce’s comments don’t shed light on any of that stuff. They do confirm that “Titan” is the code name for the Next Gen MMO, and since that name came from the (allegedly) leaked Blizzard Product Schedule, his quote seems to confirm that dubious document. The dates listed on it remain murky, given Blizzard’s history, and I remain highly skeptical of the late 2013 date for Titan, since Blizzard said at Blizzcon in October that they wouldn’t be announcing their next game until 2012. But it now seems that, as of April 2010, Blizzard was targeting late 2011 for D3’s release. Let’s hope they’re still on schedule, and that the Diablo 3 Beta will be up and running by June or July 2011, following Jay Wilson’s “six month beta test” estimates.

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