New Titan Theory + Review: Honor Among Thieves

Engage tinfoil:

If you’re not familiar with Project: Titan, here’s a quick rundown. Titan is the codename given to a new massively multiplayer game being developed by Blizzard Entertainment. We’re not technically supposed to know about it, but enough info was leaked that Blizzard had to acknowledge its existence.

/tinfoilBut aside from the fact it’s an MMO, we still know only a few small things about it, such as the fact that it will involve product placement and/or in-game advertisements. This means it will likely be set in the modern day or maybe a near-future sci-fi setting.

Blizzard is also on record as saying it will be a new intellectual property — IE: not Warcraft, Starcraft, or Diablo.

But a new rumor challenges this notion. This rumor states that it is not entirely a new IP but instead occupies some strange gray area where it both is and isn’t a new franchise. It’s described as a “spin-off” of a current IP.

Now, it is just a rumor, but supposedly, the source is fairly credible. (Information on the source can be found here.) If true, this may be the final clue we need to figure out what Titan is, because I can think of only one thing in all of Blizzard’s lore that would fit everything we think we know about Titan.

I think Titan is set in the Starcraft universe, but takes place on Earth.

Earth is something of a non-factor in the Starcraft universe. The UED invasion in Brood War aside, Earth has been largely forgotten by the Koprulu Sector, and after what happened to DuGalle’s fleet, it’s doubtful the people on Earth want anything to do with Koprulu.

Furthermore, everything that makes Starcraft Starcraft is intrinsically linked to the Koprulu Sector. A game set on Earth would not involve the Zerg, the Protoss, the Xel’naga, the Dominion, Raynor, Mengsk, or Kerrigan. If Blizzard is true to their own backstory, there wouldn’t even be any telepathic humans.

Thus, Titan would technically be a part of the Starcraft universe, but it would be so different that it would, for all practical purposes, be a completely new game.

Think Portal and Half-Life. Technically, both those franchises take place in the same universe, but barring a few Easter eggs, there’s almost nothing to connect them.

Titan would also be set in a future version of our world, opening up the possibility for those in-game ads and product placements. Granted, it’s a little far-fetched for corporations from our time to still be running 500 years from now, but it’s not completely implausible.

There’s also no guarantee Titan would be set at the same time as the Starcraft games. It could take place closer to our own time, perhaps even before the launch of the super-carriers. In which case telepathy would be back on the table.

Because let’s be honest: if we can’t play as Nova clones, what the Hell is the point?

A banner based on the Nova Terra character of the Starcraft universeThis leaves us with a dystopian, over-crowded Earth lorded over by a totalitarian government possessed of a fanatical belief in “human purity.” That certainly seems like a concept with a lot of potential for interesting stories and gameplay.

Food for thought, at least.

Review: Honor Amongst Thieves:

“Honor Amongst Thieves” is the final installment of David Chandler’s “Ancient Blades” trilogy. It continues the story of Malden, the witty thief; Croy, the absurdly chivalrous knight of the order of Ancient Blades; and Cythera, whose most noteworthy personality trait is that she has a vagina.

Cover art for “Honor Amongst Thieves” picks up where the last book left off, with the barbarian hordes of the east poised to invade the kingdom of Skrae. Through a series of ludicrously improbably events — even by fantasy standards — Malden finds himself with the responsibility of saving the kingdom from the onslaught.

Meanwhile, Sir Croy struggles to regain his honor by protecting Skrae’s royal family, and Cythera tries to earn the award for Most Uninspiring Heroine in a Fantasy Series.

Unfortunately, David Chandler seems to have decided to shift gears and write this book as a serious fantasy epic. This was not a good move.

“The Ancient Blades” is a series with many flaws, but its wry humor and light-hearted sense of adventure made it fairly easy to overlook them. The books never seemed to take themselves terribly seriously.

Now I’m forced to wonder if Chandler meant this to be a serious trilogy, and not a self-parody, from the start. If true… yikes.

Without the books’ trademark humor, Malden is just a cliche do-gooder, Croy is just a pompous ass, and Cythera… Well, she always sucked.

Art of Cythera from At least Cythera stopped letting her life be entirely dominated by men in this book. Instead, she let it be entirely dominated by her mother.

I don’t think Cythera has any will of her own. Maybe it’s supposed to be some commentary on her being raised as a slave, but it sure doesn’t make for interesting reading. Good characters forge their own destinies; they don’t just let themselves be led around by the nose.

The ending of the book was very weak and inconclusive, too. Very little was resolved, and all in all, it felt more like an ad for the inevitable second trilogy than anything.

“Honor Amongst Thieves” isn’t totally without its strengths. It’s still very fast-paced and action-packed, and even despite all my complaints, I still found it to be very much a page-turner.

I’ll also grudgingly admit the villain was interesting. Normally, I don’t care for villains with more brawn than brains, but this guy was so evil and nuts I just had to appreciate him.

Overall rating: 5.7/10 Not completely without merit, but largely mediocre.

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