One of Microsoft’s flagship franchises heading into the “new-gen” Xbox One release, Titanfall has proved to be a success for both the publisher and freshman studio Respawn Entertainment. The game may not have been as big of a multiplayer-game changer as some had hoped but the title helped push Xbox One purchases and sold well-enough at retail to warrant talk of Titanfall 2.
Still, while gamers enjoyed the core mechanics of Titanfall, many players quickly soured on the lack of maps, weapons, customizations, and enemy types that were available in the initial retail package. As with other high profile online multiplayer titles, the studio was busy developing paid-for DLC map packs prior to launch but, to their credit, Respawn has also been releasing free updates to the game as well – with each one providing balancing tweaks and new modes. Now, the developer has unveiled a new update that brings several new features – most notably a four-player co-op horde mode.
Announced on the Titanfall Twitch stream, Respawn unveiled “Frontier Defense” – a new online mode that allows players to grab three friends and take on increasingly difficult waves of A.I.-controlled enemies. Like the larger game, the actual storyline for “Frontier Defense” is pretty thin but still offers a fresh gameplay experience for veteran pilots, returning casual players, and newbies alike.
In the mode, gamers play as Militia pilots – tasked with defending a map from waves of IMC enemies while an enormous “Harvester” pulls natural resources from a key map location. To win, players must protect the Harvester against the enemy A.I. waves as fast as possible.
Check out the official description from Respawn below:
Join forces with up to three other players in this cooperative game mode to defend a vital objective from increasingly intense waves of AI combatants. You and your team will face down familiar foes as well as the IMC’s newest combat units: hordes of Grunts and Spectres, stealthy Sniper Spectres and Cloak Drones, explosive Suicide Spectres and Nuclear Titans, ranged Mortar Titans, and even melee-resistant Arc Titans!
In order to ensure that Titanfall‘s competitive play translates into a co-op experience, the developers have made a number of significant tweaks – even adding entirely new NPC enemy types into the game. The studio didn’t cover every single change but gamers should expect heavy and varied resistance from the IMC combatants, including A.I. controlled snipers and grenadiers along with specialized Titan loadouts, not to mention new NPC refinements (example: spectres can now rodeo a player’s Titan).
In the live stream, Respawn highlighted two customized A.I. Titans – the Arc Titan and Mortar Titan. To help mimic the variety that players would experience in a standard online match, each Titan will serve a specific function in co-op. Mortar Titans stick to the perimeter and fire shells into each map (which prevent teams from simply crowding around their Harvester). In order for the team to protect the Harvester, they’ll need players patrolling the outskirts – to mitigate the threat of Mortar Titans. Conversely, the Arc Titan is meant to be a threat near the Harvester and is protected by an electrified sphere – which makes them especially dangerous at close range (and in enclosed areas).
To help combat the increased hazards, the studio has also added new resources for players to utilize – including load out crates that provide players ammo replenishment as well as the ability to swap weaponry and classes mid-match. Gamers can also take advantage of new gear (such as turrets) to help beat-back the IMC threat.
In addition to simply winning, gamers will now be rated on a three-star scale based on performance in specific categories – total kills, completion time, and whether or not continues were used, among others. Unlike some horde modes, teams are allowed to continue on a failed wave – though their overall rating will take a hit. The new mode will be playable on all 24 maps, though Respawn maintains that each locale has been scaled with a custom set of enemies – since some enemy types could be more frustrating than others in certain environments.
Even though the studio has pumped out seven prior game updates, there’s no doubt that Update #8 stands the best chance of bringing players back to Titanfall. Co-op horde modes provide plenty of challenge but, unlike competitive play, can be enjoyed with a slightly more casual mindset – meaning that a group of friends could hop into “Frontier Defense” together without the pressure of competing human players. Up until this point, Titanfall matches have kept pressure high – and, while the new horde mode should offer a stiff challenge across all experience levels, it also promises to be a fun playground for gamers to experiment (and outright screw around) with lower overall stakes.
Respawn did not announce a formal release date for Titanfall Update #8 but we’ll report back with further details and launch info – when the studio makes an official announcement.
MORE: Titanfall Review
Titanfall is now available for the PC, Xbox 360, and Xbox One. Game Update #8 does not currently have an official release date.
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Source: Respawn Entertainment