Unveiled at E3 2013 as the debut IP of Respawn Entertainment, the independent studio formed by Infinity Ward founders Vince Zampella and Jason West, Titanfall may well exemplify a titanic rise in the next-gen console era.
It’s one that’s long been portended in the space of mainstream shooters — thanks in no small part to money-making never center of Zampella’s and West’s very own former franchise Call of Duty: The multiplayer-only shooter, built with efficiency by a small team of developers and shipped off to a mega-publisher for mass distribution and marketing. Triple-A at a third of the cost.
Fans who crave contemporaneous narrative and a single-player adventure within their military shooter du jour are apt to be disappointed by Titanfall‘s format (despite the fact that it does bookend its multiplayer missions with storytelling “segments,” similar, seemingly, to Spartan Ops in Halo 4). According to Respawn head Vince Zampella, however, they’re few and far between.
Speaking to GamesIndustry International, Zampella lamented on the additional months needed to create a single-player campaign — only, in his opinion, to have most players dispose of it in a matter of minutes:
“We make these single-player missions that take up all the focus of the studio, that take a huge team six months to make, and players run through it in eight minutes. And how many people finish the single-player game? It’s a small percentage. It’s like, everyone plays through the first level, but 5% of people finish the game.”
For the Silicon Valley start-up of “60-some developers,” Zampella says it all comes down to resource management. Rather than splitting its staff down the middle for two modes played unevenly — very unevenly, Titanfall’s multiplayer received Respawn’s full attention. Zampella’s hope is that it pays dividends beyond time and money.
“Really, you split the team. They’re two different games. They’re balanced differently, they’re scoped differently. But people spend hundreds of hours in the multiplayer experience versus ‘as little time as possible rushing to the end’ [in single-player]. So why do all the resources go there?
“To us it made sense to put it here. Now everybody sees all those resources, and multiplayer is better. For us it made sense.”
We were allowed some brief hands-on time with Titanfall during last week’s E3, and even though much remains to be uncovered about the shooter, the “triple-A” feel of its mech-filled world was discernible. Perhaps it didn’t hurt that Respawn put on a good show with Titanfall’s first gameplay-footage trailer, either, but we’re curious to see how the game evolves before its current/next-gen release next year.
Titanfall launches in spring 2014 on the Xbox One, Xbox 360, and PC.
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