Titan's official cancellation notice yesterday didn't come as much of a surprise to MMO players; after all, the game had been backburnered more than a year ago, its staff transferring to Warlords of Draenor and other Blizzard projects. But the cancellation means Blizzard might never fully recoup its seven-year investment in the game, and that has some analysts worried.
"Development costs for Titan may have amounted to tens of millions, perhaps $50 million or more," says one such analyst, Billy Pidgeon, as quoted in a GamesIndustry.biz piece yesterday. Wedbush Securities' Michael Pachter upped that estimate: "My guess is 100 - 200 people at $100,000 per year, so $70 - 140 million sunk cost. It's pretty sad that it took so long to figure out how bad the game was. I expect them to go back to the drawing board." Still another industry observer, David Cole, argued that the current games market simply no longer tolerates seven-year development cycles and high overhead.
Pidgeon stresses that it's not all doom and gloom, however: "Blizzard has cancelled several games in various stages of development in the past. Costs for unreleased games can be significant, but launching substandard games can harm the reputation of a successful publisher such as Blizzard. Expenses for development can be considered R&D, and benefits can include invaluable training, IP and technology that can be applied to other games."