For those who have been following the story since the beginning, it really is hard to believe just how high Respawn Entertainment has risen. Founded by the minds and team behind Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, success might seem like a guarantee from afar, but the developers themselves know that’s not the case.
As they now sit with their debut game, Titanfall topping nearly every gaming outlet’s list of most anticipated games, the developers have taken the time to sit down with FTW’s Jessica Chobot to look back at the studio’s first days. And we can’t help but feel that this is still just the beginning.
For casual gamers, or simply those who didn’t keep track of the epic battle between Infinity Ward founders Jason West and Vince Zampella and their publisher Activision, it’s hard to believe it all actually happened. Once the pair were done convincing Activision that modern military titles weren’t a waste of time, handing the company their current three-studio sales juggernaut, they were shown the door (unfairly, according to their side of the story). The stage seemed set for the supreme story of the faceless corporation stomping all over the little guy, never to be seen again.
Enter publisher Electronic Arts, who didn’t waste any time in handing the pair keys to a brand new franchise of their choosing, and a studio to call their own. Fittingly, the pair dubbed their budding studio Respawn Entertainment, and the offices were no sooner opened than Infinity Ward staff started following their lead en masse. Now that the studio has once again returned to the top of the heap (with West having ridden off into the sunset), it all seems inevitable; but as the candid video shows, the early days of Respawn were anything but promising.
There is undoubtedly some poetry at work in the game the studio chose to make their comeback: a free-for-all proving that both hulking war machines and quick-footed pilots can be just as deadly. They’ve remained adamant that Titanfall is not like Call of Duty in the way many may expect, and given just how soundly the studio has beaten the odds already, perhaps it shouldn’t come as a surprise that they’ve all but courted skepticism.
Restricting match sizes to 6 vs. 6 and promising fans will understand why, marketing the game using unedited gameplay instead of attention-grabbing cut-scenes, and promising to keep microtransactions out of the game shows the team’s confidence. Only sales and customer satisfaction will determine how successful they’ll be in the long run, but Titanfall has clearly come along at the perfect time and place.
We’ll know in a few months’ time whether Respawn’s story is only beginning to take shape, or is off to a rocky start. But this peek behind the scenes shows that if Titanfall is successful, the increased office space won’t go unappreciated.
Will you be picking up your copy of Titanfall on launch day, or will you wait to see if it’s the kind of next-gen multiplayer experience you hope it is? Share your thoughts in the comments.
Titanfall launches on March 11 for the Xbox one and PC. Xbox 360 owners will have to wait until March 25.
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