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Building A Better Shooter: How Respawn Should Approach Titanfall 2
Titanfall was a game with a lot of expectations riding on it – and for more than a few gamers, it missed the mark. I was admittedly a bit late to the Titanfall party – partially due to getting my fill during the beta – but I can’t say I disagreed too much with the general consensus around the game. On one hand, it was a really slick take on the modern FPS with a couple of fun mech and movement-based innovations thrown in for good measure. But on the other hand, it fell far short of its goal of being the shooter that kicked off Call of Duty off its pedestal and showed what fans of the genre could expect going forward.
With the recent announcement of the game’s final DLC map pack ‘IMC Rising’ at Gamescom, it might be time to stop dwelling on where Titanfall went wrong and where the inevitable follow-up could go very, very right.
A More Substantial Campaign Offering
Yes, Respawn were very up-front about the Titanfall being a game that was designed from the ground up for multiplayer. Yes, the arguments they made for why they went that route with the first game made a lot of sense. However, Titanfall 2 will have less to prove and it’s possible that Respawn will look at fleshing out this side of their game into a more substantial offering second-time around.
It’s not like it even needs to be a fully fledged 6-8 hour affair. It’s easy to imagine a handful of short single player missions that introduce players to the mechanics of the game and then later missions that unlock once multiplayer milestones are hit. They’d certainly give Respawn some room to stretch their creative muscles in a form that won’t be held back by things like competitive balance.
The streamlined approach of the first game was impressive as a proof-of-concept but building out Titanfall’s intriguing sci-fi setting from a backdrop into a proper epic could go a long way when it comes to winning over those who found the series debut lacking.
More Maps, More Mechs
It may be an obvious direction for Titanfall 2 to expand into but it’s hardly one without merit. Titanfall’s three mech options were all fun in their respective ways – but if the enduring albeit-niche subgenre of mech-simulators says anything about gamers it’s that letting them go to town when it comes to building robots is always a smart move.
Consider the gameplay possibilities of a Titan that can climb up walls or ones capable of hovering for short stretches of time. It wouldn’t just shake up the different ways that matches would play out, it’d force Respawn to up their game and think outside the box when it comes to level design.
The first Titanfall had a pretty solid selection of map but I found them to be somewhat flavorless in terms of the gameplay scenarios on offer. I’m hoping that Titanfall 2 brings with it a new rotation of maps that feel less like Call of Duty levels that didn’t make the cut and more designed around the game’s unique interplay between man and mech.
In addition to the important but obvious additions like more maps and mechs, one of the big ways that I think Titanfall 2 could build on the strengths of its predecessor is through persistent meta-progression that go beyond the unlock and generation/prestige options the first offered. In particular think there’s a lot that Respawn could learn from PAYDAY 2’s Crime.Net system.
There’s more than a few reasons that Titanfall should work to distance itself from the matchmaking lobby approach to multiplayer design and adding a more long term progression system to the game and provide some well-needed incentive to play around with the less popular gametypes.
This is all, of course, all speculation on my part. I have no idea what the future holds for Titanfall. For all I know, we could end up getting a jazz-flavored spinoff called Titanfellas before a proper sequel finds its way into our hands.