"We left everything behind. Hell, getting here was just the beginning. You said it would be tough to start over, but I didn't listen." These words are spoken by a grizzled Mech pilot the first time I saw the Titanfall trailer, but they could have been spoken by Respawn CEO Vince Zampella.
Eyes have been on Respawn to see how it would fare without the care and guidance of Activision and a household IP, and so far everything seems to have gone just fine for this newly founded gaming company. This E3 was Respawn Studios' initial proving ground to see what and how the public would react to the news of a CoD rival in the works.
Microsoft noticed it needed something new and improved to brag about following the weeks of confusion and alarm due to its murky Xbox One messaging. The company reversed its stance on its used game restrictions and its persistent internet connection shortly after E3, but during the show the One was the bad guy. Without much good will on its side, Microsoft's next-gen exclusives played a crucial role during its conference. Titles like Dead Rising 3 and Quantum Break looked promising but closing the show with Titanfall grabbed gamers' attention.
The multiplayer only FPS drops players in the boots of titan pilots, lithe soldiers that free-run across vast battlefields and control towering mechs. The mechanical titans are lot more fluid in their movements than the stiff robots of other mech games, staying true to the pitch perfect controls players expect from the former Infinity Ward team. These warzones are brought to life with dramatic orbital drops, NPC soldiers and bonus epilogue exfiltration missions. One moment you're wall running along buildings and leaping on enemy titans, the next you're piloting a titan and squishing fellow players underfoot. The variety and scale these weaponised suits bring to battles look like a much needed shot in the arm for the genre. Solo players may bemoan the idea of forced multiplayer matches, but Respawn is fusing its inventive man vs. mech gameplay with a high spectacle single-player feel.
Titan pilots are briefed as they prepare for battle in a spaceship orbiting the planet, which also acts as a matchmaking lobby. The match begins with a faster than light leap and an airdrop onto the warzone. A ranking officer commands his troops from within the belly of his giant titan, its big mechanical arms gesturing along with him as he points toward the frontlines. When the battle is over, a huge ship comes crashing towards the surface in flames, delivering the blockbuster feel the team became know for with CoD. Titanfall appears to be an organic hybrid of everything that makes modern shooters fun, online and off.
Respawn entertainment's Abbie Heppe had this to say about the reception of Titanfall at E3 last year,
"The moment before Microsoft's press conference had to be the most surreal" Heppe says. "all the secrecy was ending, we didn't know what the response would be like: I think some people got choked up. The whole team was watching in our conference room and aggressively updating Twitter. We spent such a long time not being able to talk about it, the moment it becomes real is really overwhelming".
No matter what next gen system you play it on, Titanfall's multiplayer-only formula could open the door to other shooter franchises to merge single-player set pieces with engaging competitive matches.
See James Impressions Here