In addition to live, hands-off demos during both Microsoft and Electronic Arts’ Media Briefing, Respawn Entertainment and their new, multiplayer-focused IP Titanfall were out in full force. While we didn't get a chance to go hands-on with the game, but we did see an extended demo on the E3 2013 show floor.
Much of what was shown at the prior press conferences was on display during this behind-closed-doors demo with a focus on showing more of the game in action. To show off the game, Respawn had two members of the development team on hand to play through a full match.
The match started with players, referred to in Titanfall as pilots, descending on the battlefield by way of aerial transport. Once on the ground, the pilot team is given their orders: protect specific locations at any cost. Then a 1-minute timer starts before pilots can call in their “titans,” Respawn’s unique take on a mechanized robot.
This particular mode type asked players to protect specific locations, which were in turn protecting a large craft hovering above the battlefield. As we saw in the demo, failure results in the ship being destroyed, but doesn’t end the match. Instead players, if they can survive, can evac via transport ship and gain some additional experience.
Over the course of the 10-minute match, we saw a few additional details that either weren’t clear at Microsoft, or weren’t part of that particular demo. Here’s a few things we saw:
- Players can ride on top of friendly and enemy titans.
- Pilots are very agile - they can get a jump boost from their jetpack, run along walls and jump between vertical surfaces, and pilots can mantle up ledges and elevated surfaces.
- On top of that motion is very fluid - getting in and out of titans was a smooth transition, and the animation change based on your entry position.
- After a titan is destroyed, a pilot must wait 2 minutes until they can call a new one.
- Titans will stay active any time pilots leave them behind. The demo didn’t explain how exactly it will work, but it appears as if the titans will go into an autopilot mode to prevent enemy players from “stealing” your titan.
- It’s unclear how customizable the titans will be. Each player titan had a set of three basic abilities (a magnetic shield, a set of rockets, and a dash move) mapped to the bumper buttons and a face button.
- The weapons equipped on the titans were different - for example, one titan had a heavy machine gun while the other had an electrified, pulse rifle - but, again, it was unclear whether players will be able to choose which weapons their titan uses.
Yes, Titanfall is, at its core, a multiplayer first person shooter, but Respawn has put enough of a spin on that basic concept to make this game appear unique. There’s still plenty more to learn, and a lot of details that need some clarification, but what the developer chose to present as an E3 2013 teaser was impressive. Whether it’s impressive enough to warrant a purchase of the Xbox One, on the other hand, is a harder question to answer.
What are your expectations for Titanfall? How does it rank among the current batch of next-gen multiplayer shooters?
Titanfall launches in spring 2014 on the Xbox One, Xbox 360, and PC.
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