After what has felt like an eternity waiting to see what Respawn Entertainment – founded by Modern Warfare creators Jason West and Vince Zampella – was up to, the first reliable information has arrived (no, not more blurry images). It may be thanks to a leaked digital copy of Game Informer‘s July issue, but we’ll take it.
Allow us to introduce you to Titanfall, the massively multiplayer mech shooter pitting player against player in both competitive multiplayer and campaign. How does that work? Luckily, a few new details have been released to help explain the new direction for the studio, including the game’s confirmed release on the Xbox 360, Xbox One and PC.
The information comes courtesy of NeoGAF, where one subscriber to the magazine apparently received an early copy, and harvested details (as well as the cover image) before the mistake was corrected. For the most part, the information gleaned from the article confirms most of the previous reports surrounding gameplay and development; the game will be based on large battles including both human characters and massive mechs – dubbed ‘Titans’ – and will be blurring the lines between singleplayer campaign and online multiplayer like never before.
The release on Xbox One has been a foregone conclusion for some time, and the confirmed PC release from Respawn is a relief. Unfortunately, the article also backs up previous rumors that Respawn has asked a different studio to craft the Xbox 360 version of the game. The developers cite time and resources as the reasoning, and if the claims made about Titanfall are accurate, we’ll take their word for it.
Take a look at the cover image, featuring one of the game’s female characters (a.k.a. ‘Pilots’) letting loose on the digital brain of the monolithic ‘Titans':
The comments from the developers promise a multiplayer campaign, a “traditional multiplayer,” and some form of a ‘One Player’ mode, although details on the studio’s plans for those who choose not to dive headfirst into multiplayer aren’t coming just yet. Taking their sci-fi cues from the likes of Blade Runner and District 9, the grungy battlefields will be sending Pilots and Titans into battle, with human characters blessed with speed and agility, and the Titans much faster and maneuverable than may be expected. Don’t feel like piloting a Titan? Apparently, they can also be programmed to keep on your trail and help ‘plow the road.’
By far the most intriguing portion of the leaked details surrounds the decision to go for an exclusive deal with Microsoft, and may be indicative of the challenges facing several studios as the next generation approaches. Respawn made the decision early on to focus on a single platform, since the task of building the game for both the Xbox One and PS4 architecture was just too daunting. They would have liked to go multiplatform, but time and resources again restricted their options.
And to those who have already begun the war of words over Xbox/PlayStation supremacy based on the hardware specs – Xbox One’s 5GB of DDR3 RAM versus PS4’s 8GB of GDDR5 RAM – Respawn has an interesting perspective. According to them, they’re having a hard enough time designing their game to make full use of the Xbox One’s 5GB within the system’s architecture. In other words, having more RAM isn’t their concern at the moment. They go on to cite the Xbox One’s use of cloud computing – being used for AI routines, physics, and an “unlimited” number of dedicated servers – is what makes Titanfall possible at all, so have no fear: the console war may be alive and well.
The arsenal sounds like standard fare for a sci-fi FPS, but the team is promising much longer lifespans per round than those found in Call of Duty or Halo. – just one way they’re intent on bringing new players and casual shooter fans into the fold. And if Electronic Arts hasn’t given up on dethroning Call of Duty just yet, attracting those players will be integral to the process. But the direction being taken so far has us thinking that the studio built by Activision’s one-time employees may not be looking for a fight; they’re looking to do something completely different.
Expect to hear more about Titanfall at E3 2013, since the studio has promised to be making an appearance.
Follow Andrew on Twitter @andrew_dyce.