Blizzard has kept mum about Project Titan. It's their currently in-development, under-wraps, and so far extensively secret new MMO which occasionally rears its head in the odd news headline. But what do we actually know about it so far?
It will feature in-game advertising: A new job listing has found its way to Blizzard's official recruitment page this week, hiring a franchise development producer. The listing confirms the company is looking to find someone who can "work with major consumer brands to facilitate product placement and licensing within the world of Blizzard Entertainment's next-gen MMO that enhances the gameplay experience," suggesting the MMO will feature in-game adverts.
What this means: It's already being rumoured that this might hint at a present-day setting for the game, although it's worth remembering even EverQuest II had an in-game Pizza Hut command. Product placement doesn't necessarily suggest Titan will adopt a modern setting to suit real-world references, however it is possible this could be used to offset a subscription cost.
Two years ago Bobby Kotick laid down Activision Blizzard's policy on introducing advertisements into games, stating the company would not barrage paying or subscribing customers with corporate advertising:
"As long as our audience is paying $60 for a game or a subscription fee I think we're going to limit the amount of advertising or sponsorship incorporated into a game."
However he also highlighted the possibility of using adverts as an alternative method of monetising a game:
"There may be future opportunities where you might offer a consumer an advertiser-supported experience so they wouldn't have to pay for it."
This speaks to the possibility of Titan being either free-to-play or having a far lower subscription cost compared to standard subscription-based MMOs.
It won't hurt World of Warcraft's numbers: Paul Sams, the chief operating officer of Blizzard, has said the game will be "complimentary" to WoW, not competitive.
What this means: In an interview with VentureBeat, Sams acknowledged most MMO players don't play more than one Massively title at any given point, but implied this was a non-issue.
"As to our new unannounced game, we believe that it will be more complementary than competitive," he said.
"And while people do have a limited amount of free time that they can devote to these types of games, we do think that people will want to check out the new and the old. We think the new one is very compelling and is going to capture a lot of hearts and minds and will be very successful for us. But we also believe that many people will continue playing World of Warcraft because they have such a huge collection of friends and community."
Whether that means Blizzard has it in mind to make it possible for users to play both without undermining one game or the other is still too early to tell. But with WoW's current subscriber issues it's likely Blizzard will be looking at alternative methods to keeps its Warcraft userbase from splintering off to a new MMO, which may hint again at a free-to-play Titan to stop users from having to decide between two subscription-based titles. This is the same hand NCsoft has been playing by creating two subscription-free MMOs - Guild Wars and its upcoming sequel Guild Wars 2 - and reducing the chance of its userbase choosing one over the other.
It's not World of StarCraft: Blizzard community manager Zarhym has already confirmed Project Titan will be a new IP for the company.
What this means: No StarCraft MMO, no Diablo MMO. Rumours of a Call of Duty MMO being developed in the Blizzard mines are off the cards. It's not WoW 2. One French website, NoFrag has stated a source close to the project gave them information that the game would be an MMOFPS, however so far nothing more has come of that.
Rumoured to be casual: In 2011 industry analyst Arvind Bhatia described Activision Blizzard's line-up of games slated to release throughout the next few years, calling Project Titan an upcoming "casual MMO".
What this means: If Titan is being designed as a casual title this runs in line with World of Warcraft's current trajectory. The Mists of Pandaria expansion has already carved out WoW's future as a mainstream crowd-pleaser and it wouldn't be out of place if Titan followed with a similar tone.
However like Paul Sams, WoW's executive producer Frank Pearce has already confirmed both games should be able to co-exist, which might suggest they are aimed at either different sub-sects of the casual audience, or entirely different audiences altogether.
He told Destructoid:
"We're not trying to replace World of Warcraft. We think that World of Warcraft can continue co-existing with our new MMO and some people might prefer the new one, some people might still prefer to play World of Warcraft.
"We think you can go in different directions and still have a great massively multiplayer experience and we want to sort of experiment with what that might look like."
Just how different these directions will be is still unclear.
It's going to have a sci-fi slant: And be near-future, post-apocalyptic and historical says WoW's game director Jeffrey Kaplan, who's been established as working on Titan.
What this means: Based on a series of very similarly styled art pieces taken from the official portfolios of artists confirmed on the game, we might be looking at a vaguely steampunk MMO from Blizzard. It's unclear whether the similarities are merely coincidence but it follows in line with Kaplan's "near future but historical" statement.
It's Slated for 2013: A leaked product slate of Blizzard's development plans places Project Titan's release date as Q4 of 2013.
What this means: While there was never any official word from Blizzard HQ verifying the product slate, games and expansions have so far followed in line with the schedule, implying some level of accuracy behind it.
The schedule also show's WoW's fifth expansion will be released during the same quarter, once again suggesting Blizzard isn't worried about splitting the fanbase between two games.
Alongside this is confirmation from Blizzard's Paul Sams who stated Gamasutra the MMO would be released sometime after Diablo III.