Titanfall is Respawn Entertainment’s next big title coming out for the Xbox One and PC sometime in spring 2014. The game makes use of the aging 10-year old Source engine with some updates made by the Respawn team to bring the title out for the next gen.
In an in interesting interview with DF, Respawn’s Drew McCoy spilled the beans on some of the technical aspects of the impressive game. While Titanfall makes use of the decade old Source engine, the studio uses their own lighting tech, renderer, audio and net code to get the traditionally slow engine performing at faster speeds. With the ability to jump in and out of mechs, the game does provide a sense of speed despite McCoy’s reluctance to comment on if the game will run at 60 frames per second in 1080p at launch on the Xbox One.
While the game looks fun, the graphics are a bit lacking when compared to other next gen titles such as Killzone: Shadow Fall and Ryse, which may just be the limitation of the engine.
There is a definite sense of verticality in Titanfall that you really don’t get in other FPS games. There are third person shooters such as Starhawk that did offer mech based aerial and ground assault gameplay, but there really hasn’t been much in the FPS arena.
The one challenge I do see Titanfall facing is possibly in reaching a larger market due to its lack of a traditional story based campaign. The developers explained that they attempted to sprinkle bits of story throughout each map accompanied by cinematic events that sort of paints a picture of what’s going on.
Impressive Titanfall Gamescom gameplay trailer:
While, Respawn hasn’t been clear on how this will play out, I’d imagine that it would be something similar to what Naughty Dog has done in Uncharted 3, like the Airstrip map where one team starts out in trucks racing down an airstrip runway trying to catch up to a cargo plane while players are jumping from truck to truck. Once the players overtake the cargo plane, the map changes to cutscene of the trucks racing into the airfield cargo hold area where everyone gets off to a more traditional team VS team match.
Killzone 3 also employs similar mixtures of cinematic story elements in the multiplayer with the Operations mode. In Operations there are maps like Akmir Snowdrift, where one team – ISA commandos launch an attack against the Helghast freighter to hijack the vessel. This map has multi-staged check points as the battle shifts locations once you reach your objective, like high jacking the vessel or holding down the last stronghold. The map even has cut scenes where it displays your PSN ID over the players that have performed well kicking down the losing team, while the names of the poor preforming members are shown over the detained.
Other next gen titles such as Killzone: Shadow Fall running at 1080p 60FPS on the PS4:
Mixing cut scenes and story elements into multiplayer matches is a great way to build a universe by providing context into why you are fighting each other in the first place. However, one major drawback on solely relying on this mechanic is that the cut scenes and voiced dialogs become repetitive after listening to it a dozen time or so during the same map.
Historically, multiplayer only games have had difficulty selling well to the mass market when it comes with a hefty full price tag of $60. This seems to be the case despite the fact that some players completely disregard the single player campaign and dive into the multiplayer mode in games like Call of Duty. I suppose it could all be psychological in how we perceive and place value on video games.