After a solid debut in March, Titanfall topped March 2014 NPD charts – and with a second wave of new players, via the game’s release on Xbox 360 in April, it appears that Respawn Entertainment has successfully built a strong franchise foundation. Recent word from Electronic Arts indicates the publisher expects to support development of Respawn’s new IP for many years to come – along with the possibility that Titanfall 2 could even make it to the PS4.
Of course, it will be a long time before we hear official Titanfall 2 details and, in the meantime, the developer still has plenty of content to add for Titanfall (1). Respawn has been hard at work balancing existing game modes and stamping out pesky bugs – all while preparing the title for the first of three DLC map packs, “Expedition.” Now, after weeks of speculation, the studio has released an official Expedition DLC gameplay trailer – showcasing the brand new maps Swampland, Runoff, and War Games.
In keeping with Respawn’s (understandable) choice to prioritize gameplay over storytelling, the new trailer (which you can view at the top of the page) spends little time explaining the context of each new map and, instead, highlights the design elements that make each environment unique.
As previously described in interviews with the development team, Respawn spent a significant amount of time ensuring that DLC maps wouldn’t just expand the amount of multiplayer locales, they’d also provide gamers with opportunities for new gameplay strategies and, subsequently, challenges.
- Swampland, which had been detailed in a Titanfall development featurette, includes tall but thin forestation – allowing pilots to grapple through the tree line high above the battlefield while providing limited cover for titans on the ground.
- Runoff, which the team had previously called “an experiment in level design”, features “multiple elevations” – funneling titans through tight (and lengthy) corridors while pilots navigate an expansive series of walkways above.
- War Games, which utilizes training simulator assets for a “parkour playground”, takes advantage of its virtual reality source program, unrestricted by the normal requirements of a physical battlefield, allowing pilots unmatched flexibility in navigating the map.
Still, for those wondering how the new maps fit into Titanfall’s lore, Respawn offered-up the following expository information when the DLC was first announced:
“In the wake of the Battle of Demeter, IMC Expeditionary Forces travel deep into Frontier space to recover from their recent defeat. On an uncharted world, the IMC begin construction of a new fleet operations base, using newly acquired water collection and filtration plants to support the new base. When drainage operations reveal ancient ruins and artifacts of an unknown origin in a nearby swamp, Spyglass activates an archaeological team to investigate the site. To maintain battle readiness at the new base, IMC Pilots use simulation pods to train for anticipated Militia raids, based on lessons learned in Angel City and IMC Airbase Sierra.”
The trailer does not indicate when the DLC will launch – though previous reports assert that the Xbox One and PC versions will arrive by the end of May. The Expedition DLC will launch on Xbox 360 shortly after.
That said, gamers who are uninterested in shelling over $9.99 for the map pack, or $24.99 for the Titanfall season pass, Respawn is still hard at work on free updates to the core game – including new game modes as well as additional content and customization options. To that end, the studio has just detailed the latest core game update (#3) which includes further balancing tweaks, gameplay improvements, and new features.
You can read through the (lengthy) update notes over at the Titanfall blog or check out a few of the biggest highlights below:
- Custom load-out names – You can now name your custom loadouts for both your Pilot and your Titan.
- 2 dedicated Custom Loadouts per game mode – Each of these 2 loadouts become unlocked after playing the game mode 5 and 10 times respectively. These loadouts are only available in the game mode they are listed under. In a Private Lobby, all game mode loadouts can be customized. In a match lobby you can only customize the loadouts for the game mode about to be played.
- Last Game Summary improvements.
- Additional Custom Private Match Settings (Beta).
- Level Stats – We added a new menu under “Personal Stats” showing statistics per map such as how many times you have played each game mode, or won each game mode. This allows players to easily track the achievement “I’ve Seen It All” requiring that you play each mode and every map.
- Campaign MP – The campaign menu now shows a small trophy icon for each faction for every level that you have won. This will allow easier tracking of which campaign levels you have won for the achievements “Militia Elite Pilot” and “IMC Elite Pilot”.
- Extreme frame-rate support (PC) – The game now supports refresh-rates up to 144fps.
- Audio Installer (PC) – The audio file installation step is much faster. No more long wait times.
- Scoreboard Controls (PC) – Added bindings to mute players from the in-game scoreboard. Defaults: Page Up / Page Down to select, Delete to toggle mute, Enter to view profile.
- New chat icon (Xbox One) – Added an icon to the scoreboard and lobby screens to show when a player is in Xbox party chat and therefore not part of the game voice chat.
- Various Game Balancing Changes.
- Titanfalls – Disabled Titanfall near the evacuation location and stopped Titanfall from doing damage to the drop-ship. Dropping your Titan on the evacuation ship was not an intended behavior.
- Various Bug Fixes Across All Platforms.
- Fixed an issue (on PC) where the “Emitter Limit” audio option was not being saved.
- The “Master Volume” slider (on PC) no longer affects voice chat volume so they can now be tuned separately.
- Players (on Xbox One) will no longer have a microphone icon if they do not have a headset plugged in.
Despite critical and customer acclaim, many dedicated Titanfall players have started expressing frustration at the limited amount of content available at launch. While new titan models are not expected until Titanfall 2, the developer maintains that plenty of post-release content is in the pipeline. In the meantime, Game Update 3 goes live soon for Xbox One and PC (with Xbox 360 to follow in the near future) and Respawn promises more improvements in the coming weeks – though the team does not specify a time table for when gamers can expect highly anticipated features like new modes and customization options, among others.
We’ll keep you up to date as more official details are made available.
Titanfall is now available for the PC, Xbox 360, and Xbox One. The Expedition DLC pack launches in May for Xbox One and PC – with an unspecified Xbox 360 release date in the future.
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Source: Respawn Entertainment