First revealed ahead of E3 2013, Respawn Entertainment’s Titanfall is simply put— a mech-combat title for the Call of Duty generation. But is that all it is? In the games’ latest development diary, entitled “Inside Titanfall,” Respawn’s designers discuss their views on just what makes this real steel shooter so enjoyable and unique.
Despite suffering an early spate of comparisons with the likes of Battlefield and Modern Warfare, Producer Drew McCoy believes in the unique concept powering his robotic rumbler, stating in the video, “there are so many games now that are just retreading old ground, we really wanted to do something that was fun and unique.” To achieve this, the developers have attempted to infuse an otherwise chaotic multiplayer element with more story-oriented detail. The result, according to Lead Artist Joel Emslie, is “a living, breathing world that reacts to you [and] salutes you.”
Commanders chat away on your com-channel, flight crews yell encouragements, and a mission elements dot the surrounding battlefield. Respawn say they want to build an environment that includes character, story and genuine “emotional attachment” (the holy grail of video gaming narrative). Can a game of mech-powered melee really convince its players to care about the same faceless soldiers seen dying a thousand-times over without consequence?
Lead Designer Justin Hendry claims the gameplay of Titanfall is two very different, fully functional titles, fused together – to create an entity far greater than the sum of its parts. Pilot vs. pilot firefights are, aside from one or two Mirror’s Edge-like jumping tricks, highly conventional FPS affairs. Titan vs. titan brawls meanwhile, are a little less straightforward in design, featuring an array of weighty, albeit surprisingly agile combatants – able to bend bullets, soak up clips and inflict far greater punishment. Where Titanfall’s action truly shines however, is in the combination of the two styles – creating a death-dealing duality that should encourage players to experiment with both sides of the mechanized divide.
Given that the game’s titular Titans are little more than space-age battle tanks, the need to create levels that reflect the cat-and-mouse interplay of man and machine is key. Director Steve Fukada notes “[level] geometry has been built to accommodate both the scale needed for a Titan to get around as well as for a pilot.” Has Respawn succeeded? Check out our E3 Titanfall preview for more on the actual gameplay experience.
Of course, that’s only a preview, so it’ll be interesting to see if Respawn can strike an enjoyable balance when Titanfall drops out of orbit next Spring.
Titanfall arrives on the Xbox 360, Xbox One, and PC in the Spring of 2014.
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Source: Respawn Entertainment