With a successful launch now behind them, the developers at Respawn Entertainment are wasting no time in keeping the flow of Titanfall content on its way to fans. The first DLC for the mech/pilot shooter comes in the form of the Titanfall Expedition Map Pack, bringing three new maps next month. With the first details and screenshots of one of those maps – dubbed ‘War Games’ – now released, it’s clear the team isn’t out of ideas just yet.
The first announcement of the ‘Expedition’ DLC confirmed the addition of three new locations: Swampland, Runoff, and War Games (among the many other updates Respawn is promising to bring to the game in the coming weeks). As the name implies, War Games adopts the stark visuals of the game’s Tutorial, adding touches from existing maps to help players distinguish key points in the map.
According to the details posted by designer Jason McCord on the game’s official website, the decision to set a map within a mission simulator wasn’t just for an eye-catching hook or twist on the game’s fiction, but an opportunity to get Pilots (especially newcomers) using all the abilities at their disposal. Since Titanfall contains two very distinct experiences between Pilot and Titan gameplay (read our review for more details), War Games is set to make the most of that concept:
When brainstorming ideas for the first Titanfall DLC map pack, the concept of a level in the training mission simulator got a lot of people excited. Designers imagined a level that was smooth, clean and abstract – a perfect place to design easy-to-read battle spaces and wallrun paths. Artists had images of differently themed areas mixed with digital artifacts and colorful lighting. The concept maintained throughout development was “parkour playground.”
As a designer, I wanted to have the freedom to place wallrun paths wherever I needed them, to connect important areas together. After running around the training mission looking for inspiration, I realized the colored force fields could make a fun wallrunning panel. These are found throughout the map and sometimes stretch across long distances, above battling Titans below. These are meant to be obvious paths to help encourage players that haven’t embraced this new way of traversing maps. Because of the environment, we even used arrows to help guide players where we wanted them to run.
It makes sense for the developer to tailor levels to make the most out of their unique gameplay, and the early tests imply a broader and more frequent use of wallrunning across the board. But those who may feel like the level is targeted at beginners due to its nature as a “training simulation,” there is far more to exploit for seasoned shooter fans.
Specifically, in the art style and level design found in each faction’s starting bases and hardpoints. With a starting base for the IMC modeled after the ‘Airbase’ map, and a Militia base resembling ‘Angel City’ at night, the hardpoints offer a range of combat scenarios, from window-to-window attacks to larger-scale skirmishes.
The heart of the map, however, is a narrow passage through the center of the map. Large enough for Titans to enter but designed to give wallrunning Pilots a distinct advantage, the ‘Rise’ inspired location looks to be home to some seriously chaotic combat. Take a look at the screenshots below:
To keep the idea of it all being a ‘simulation’ alive through all section, McCord promises players will see areas of the map “glitching out.” Besides adding a fictional twist, the glitches will also give eagle-eyed players yet another way of pinning down specific landmarks and passageways. Those who prefer to enter the fight from the confines of the Titan won’t be ignored either, as the outer edges of the map also feature some wide open spaces to battle one another from a distance, or up close and personal.
Footage of War Games has yet to be released, and we still await more information on both Swampland and Runoff. For now, these quick looks and scant details show that the team is at least trying to distinguish their multiplayer-only experience from the competition, even finding a way to pack different aesthetics and level designs into one location. Only time will tell if it’s what’s to be expected from future DLC as well.
What do you think of War Games’ design? Is it exactly what you were hoping from additional content, or do you fear the multiple styles and traversal options may end up hurting the overall design? Share your thoughts in the comments.
Titanfall is now available for the PC, Xbox 360, and Xbox One.
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