After EA revealed the Titanfall 2 release date at E3 2016, one writer examines how this launch window could be a problem for the success of the first person shooter sequel.
For many, the reveal of Titanfall 2 at EA Play was one of the highlights of the press conference, not only showing that the popular fast-paced and dynamic multiplayer was back, but also revealing a trailer for a dedicated single-player campaign experience, a mode that was absent from the original Titanfall and one of its biggest criticisms. Titanfall 2 is not going to repeat that mistake, as the thrilling trailer confirmed that players will be stepping into the shoes of a militia rifleman and his Titan as they struggle to survive deep behind enemy lines.
While not a lot is known about the single-player campaign as of yet, it appears that Respawn Entertainment is tapping into its history of delivering memorable action. More importantly, the set pieces undoubtedly draw from the experience the studio's team has from working on scenes like the nuclear detonation sequence from Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, and the shocking No Russian mission from Modern Warfare 2.
Based on all of the positive hands on impressions from the show and a pair of exciting trailers that debuted during the EA Play Conference, Titanfall 2 appears to be doing everything that a sequel should do – namely taking that existing foundation and building upon it. The best example of this comes from Ubisoft going from the very first Assassin's Creed, which many would agree had a number of flaws, to Assassin's Creed II – the latter of which essentially helped make the franchise the behemoth it is today.
Originally reported as a 2017 title, that release window narrowed significantly in the months leading up to E3. Things continued to get more interesting when it was revealed by EA CFO Blake Jorgensen that Titanfall 2 would launch three weeks apart from EA's other major shooter, Battlefield 1. Thanks to E3 this past week, fans now know that wasn't exactly true because Titanfall 2 launches October 28, 2016, a week after Battlefield 1 and just one week before Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare. Even though the game appears to be saying and doing all the right things, its Achilles heel may be tied to that recently revealed date.
The first obstacle is Battlefield 1. Not only is this the next entry in the very popular, long-running franchise, but the game seemingly has a massive amount of hype behind it already. Instead of following the similar modern warfare path that has already been well established in other popular shooters, including the past couple of games in this series as well, Battlefield 1 is changing things up by taking gamers into the uncharted waters of World War I. As most shooter games continue to tread the near modern timelines, one of the more appealing things about Battlefield 1 is that it is doing something completely different from the new normal.
Another factor helping its cause is the clearly upgraded Frostbite engine powering the experience. Those showstopper moments seen in Battlefield 4 appear to be back in this game, as the only map on display showed a massive zeppelin being taken down as the flaming wreck lands on a small town – leaving a path of destruction and altering the map. Based on how fast the YouTube numbers for the initial trailer rose, it appears gamers have a keen interest in this title.
The other obstacle potentially standing in the way of success is one of the biggest shooter franchises on the planet: Call of Duty. Even though these days it seems to be popular to poke fun at the franchise in the wake of a new entry's reveal each year, there's no denying that it is a series that continues to sell massive quantities. Still, Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare started its life shrouded in controversy, as the reveal trailer garnered a massive amount of down votes and negativity on YouTube.
Even with a large amount of backlash, one thing the title has going for it (outside of the already sizeable fanbase) is the fact that a remastered version of Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare is launching alongside it. Activision is surely betting on that game to drive additional sales, especially with veteran Call of Duty players who are eager to revisit that well-reviewed title. Unfortunately for fans, there are no current plans to sell the game individually, basically ensuring that Infinite Warfare must be purchased first in order to gain access Modern Warfare Remastered.
Even though Titanfall 2 faces stiff competition in the weeks prior and after, there's one big angle which could potentially help counter those disadvantages facing it. The biggest change coming to Titanfall 2 is the fact that it's now coming to the PlayStation 4, a platform that was originally locked out of the first game. Currently, the PlayStation 4 is heads above the competition in terms of install base, giving the game access to a massive new population of gamers, while continuing its relationship with Xbox One and PC players as well. At the very least, the sales numbers should be higher considering the large base of players who will now have access.
Personally, I hope the game can find an audience between two massively popular shooter franchises. The first one proved to be a system-seller for Microsoft, and it's clear that Respawn has learned from the experience and feedback. There's an expanded roster of Titans, more robust customization options, new mechanics like a grappling hook, a single player experience, and the promise of free DLC which includes new maps – something which the first game initially locked behind a paywall. With limited time and money being big deciding factors for many gamers in a crowded release season, it'll be interesting to see if Titanfall 2 stands tall and carves out a spot for itself.
Do you think the release date could pose a problem for Titanfall 2 success or do you think the title can stand alongside the shooter heavyweights?
Titanfall 2 launches on October 28, 2016 for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC.