The editor features a large number of options for environment customization, including adjusting the shade of environmental elements like roads. Titan Quest begins with a narration, detailing how the Titans once ruled the primordial darkness before the light of the Olympian Gods appeared: after a great war, the Titans were exiled and imprisoned, and the Olympians ushered in a golden age for the mortal world.
An unknown time later, a trio of lesser Titans known as Telkines broke the communication conduit linking Olympus with the mortal world, and summoned armies of monsters to terrorize the world and prepare for the release of the Titans. The player character begins their quest at the village of Helos, where beasts are destroying the local crops.
Fighting their way through Greece, they learn of Telkines from a group called the Order of Prometheus. After defeating the first Telkine beneath the palace of Knossos , the player then travels to Egypt and attempts to restore the connection between Earth and Olympus. The ritual fails, and they must defeat a second Telkine.
The player then pursues the final Telkine along the Silk Road to China. Pursuing the Telkine to the Wusou Mountains , the player is too late to prevent the release of the Titan Typhon , who travels to Olympus to destroy the gods. After the player defeats Typhon, Zeus speaks to the player, telling them that they, a human champion, have proved humanity can live without the protection of Olympus. Titan Quest was the brainchild of game designer Brian Sullivan : while he was working on Age of Empires , which sported a Grecian setting, he came up with the concept of creating a similar game while including the region's mythology.
The two brought together a skeleton team to create a demo with which to find a publisher. During this time, the game was described by producer Jeff Goodsill as being "on the drawing board".
The initial staff up to that time was just nine people working in a small office area: when production started and further staff were hired, the team size grew to 38, which included temporary and late development additions. For this reason, the team chose the action role-playing genre. Towards the end of development, Demiurge Studios was brought in to help with the final stages during the alpha-beta-ship stages.
Demiurge first helped with memory optimization; then worked on the level editor and modification functions so they worked as an independent function; and finally created installers for both the demo and the main game. Demiurge's involvement gave Iron Lore more time and energy to devote to fixing bugs and polishing gameplay. According to designer Ben Schneider, the basic story was built around the recurring motif in multiple mythologies where a younger generation of deities defeat older primal beings, with the main premise being that victory being overturned. Titan Quest was his first time writing for a video game.
Speaking about his experience writing for the game compared to his work on films, he needed to work within more rigid guidelines and the need to make the story fit in with the gameplay and content. This meant that some scenarios needed to be cut either due to budget limitations or some sequences working so well that they were extended. A major change from his writing for films was that it was the side characters rather than the main character that drove the story forward, so he needed to make them entertaining and important to furthering the plot. They also included NPC storytellers that would relate local legends and myths to the player in a similar way to storytellers of the time.
He became art director after the then-current art director proved inadequate for the job, and after the initial shock, set to work managing the general artwork for the title. He was in charge of a strong artistic team, and they needed to create a cohesive experience without a clear narrative to guide them. They also needed to account for the four months "wasted" time under the previous art director. He created a broad range of helmet shapes which could be then adjusted with different materials to create high variation. Enemy creatures were taken from the various mythologies the team drew from, and their designs inspired by the stop-motion work of Ray Harryhausen.
According to him, the process started when the chosen enemy monsters were given initial designs by lead concept artist Rich Sullivan. Each design was reviewed, and the most suitable was chosen. Creature designs needed to incorporate design choices from the game, such as the monsters' environments and individual fighting styles.
They also needed to consider how much detail to put into character models depending on their relative position to the camera at any given time.
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When it reached the modelling stage, the monster designs were further refined to work within the restrictions of the game, then it was sent to the art time again for final adjustments and mapping of unique animations. The player character also had "hundreds" of animations to incorporate. The game used a specially-developed proprietary engine developed by Iron Lore staff. This was done as, when development started, no third-party engines existed that could support the team's vision for the game: in Sullivan's words, there were "plenty of technology solutions for someone creating a shooter, but not as much for a role-playing game".
This tool combined a tile-based horizontal plain with a height-based map, and allowed for subtle adjustments to environments and terrain with easy-to-use developer tools. Level and plain boundaries were set using cliffs and plateaus within the environment.
Objects such as chest and enemies could be then "dropped" into environments using a point-and-click system, some of which could be directly integrated using special "tile" elements which stitched into the wider environment for objects such as bridges and crags. All of this necessitated a large amount of research on multiple subjects, including the flora of Egypt and the appearance of Ancient Greek roads and paths.
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While early builds used a high amount of detail along level boundaries, the team switched to simple boundary designs as they "read better" for players and allowed better technical performance. The challenge the content creation team set themselves was creating these areas while making boundaries seem natural.
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Titan Quest was one of the first major Western titles to use PathEngine. Gameplay was compared frequently to Blizzard's Diablo series. According to Sullivan, the comparison was inevitable as Diablo helped define the genre, and was emphasized by the lack of action RPGs at the time. While the core gameplay remained traditional, they attempted to innovate in other areas.
They also effectively removed tutorials so players could get straight into gameplay, using games like Neverwinter Nights as an example of tutorials impeding players during early stages. They also wanted to avoid creating characters who had "a little of everything" while offering replayability. The result was the creation of the themed masteries, with the added element of skill acquisition not being tied to level progression, allowing for players to bank skill points for different purposes.
This system was built to encourage player freedom and represent logical character progression rather than tying one character to one class. Loot was controlled by a database system which mixed and matched characteristics to produce "over ," item combinations. This enabled the free modification of sound elements, but also meant that unexpected and large work loads with short deadlines were a constant possibility. In the case of monsters, different sound effects were created for different scenarios, such as them seeing the player for the first time or when in battle. The sounds within environments were designed to be "real" and "visceral".
The game's audio engine enabled these sound effects to be dynamically shifted depending on their setting. The music was challenging due to drawing from multiple cultures, then being brought together into a cohesive score while keeping each region distinct from the other. To get the right feeling, the team did research into the historical musical instruments used in each of the game's regions.
This cuing of themed musical pieces was coupled with a second system tied to environmental progression: musical pieces were arranged in the playlist, then could be cued in depending on the circumstances and environment on-screen. For vocal tracks, the lyrics were written in Ancient Greek: the main vocal piece, "When Gods Fall", was infused into the other vocal tracks and acted as a "cornerstone" for the score.
Titan Quest was first announced in May , with its first public exhibition being at that year's Electronic Entertainment Expo. It contained both the main game and its expansion. Beginning in , Nordic Games began supporting the game's Steam version with patches to fix gameplay and multiplayer issues, along with glitches and bugs.
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A port of Titan Quest for mobile devices was developed under license from Nordic Games by DotEmu , a French developer who had previously developed a successful mobile port of Ys Chronicles I. Despite the changes, the team worked to make the gameplay as close as possible to the original experience. They also put in additional options for actions such as targeting enemies with mastery abilities and searching for loot   It released on May 19, for iOS.
It also continued to sell well on Steam, though exact figures were not given. His main criticisms were performance difficulties and the large potential for cheating in multiplayer. IGN 's Tom McNamara generally praised the gameplay despite some awkward elements, called the sound design "well done", and positively noted its graphics despite some technical troubles.
He also cited the multiplayer as the main part of the game's replay value, as it was otherwise fairly linear in design. His main criticisms were its low difficulty, repetitive structure and weak storyline. His main complaints were the inventory system, and problems with contextual commands such as picking up items. Development on an expansion pack began shortly after the release of Titan Quest , with preparatory work happening during the final stages of the main game's development.
In May , another expansion, Titan Quest: Atlantis was released. According to Steam Spy , it exceeded 1. Titan Quest would be one of only three projects Iron Lore worked on in its lifetime, and the only original project alongside Immortal Throne : after completing work on Soulstorm , an expansion to Warhammer 40, Dawn of War , the studio was forced to close in February due to difficulties in securing any funding for future projects. The team founded a new studio called Crate Entertainment and licensed the Titan Quest engine to develop Grim Dawn , dubbed by staff as a spiritual successor to Titan Quest.
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