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Happy Anniversary Titanfall! A History Of Respawn’s Epic Shooter
The 11th of March 2015 marked the one year anniversary of Titanfall, a multi-player shooter released exclusively for the Xbox One, PC and Xbox 360 (arriving a month later). The game will always be an important milestone for the Xbox One in particular. It undoubtedly encouraged a large number of console sales, and the game went on to receive high praise from critics.
Respawn Entertainment was founded back in 2010, when Infinity Ward president Jason West and Infinity Ward co-founder and CEO Vince Zampella were dismissed from their roles at the company, following “breaches of contract and insubordination”. Both went their separate ways and founded Respawn Entertainment. Additionally, following the resulting “staff-exodus” from Infinity Ward, many chose to join Jason and Vince at their new company. They began to work on Titanfall, utilizing funding from the EA Partners Program. Limited information about the project was given at E3 2011, when EA Games Label president Frank Gibeau mentioned that the game would be “Sci-Fi oriented”. It wasn’t until E3 2013 that the game was first officially unveiled, and went on to win over 60 awards including “Best of Show”.
A playable beta was released in February 2014 for both PC and Xbox One. The beta was a huge success and over two million players logged in over a matter of days to test the game, which featured two maps and the opportunity to play Attrition and Hardpoint game modes. Initial responses were extremely positive. The new movement felt quick and fluid, the mechanics were responsive, and the servers were smooth. The whole thing felt very “next-gen” for the Xbox One, at a time when gamers were looking for a reason to upgrade their consoles. The game finally released on March 11th 2015 (in North America) and critics praised the game heavily, leading to sales which have since surpassed over 3 million copies as of August 2014.
Titanfall launched as a online multi-player game, featuring pilots and titans. Players embark on team battles, where they start the match as a pilot, and gain the ability to launch their Titan as time progresses. When they are launched, the player is allowed to take over, offering more instant destructive power, at the cost of slower movement and no jumping abilities. The game shipped with a multitude of game modes combined with a large number of maps. All of these were combined into the Career mode, which unfortunately is less of a career mode, and more of an addition to multi-player, offering a story (which was difficult to follow at the best of times) within the online matches.
Titanfall is a little different to its competitors in regards to gameplay. Firstly, it prioritizes balance. The game is designed to ensure that no mechanic within the game is over or under-powered. Skilled pilots have the ability take down Titans, despite possessing less destructive power, due to their fast movement and ability to climb up to higher locations on the map. Titanfall also introduced bots into the majority of its game modes, and although the community were divided at the inclusion of these at first, they became a well-loved part of the game for many, especially from those who had refrained from jumping into the FPS genre in the past. Bots are fairly easy to kill, so players who are still developing their skills can still contribute to the team, without feeling like quitting in frustration due to being overwhelmed by human opposition. Killing one or two bots will add small contributions to the score, but taking down a large number of them can be an important advantage to the team.
The game is highly praised for being extremely smooth to play. Although this will have been helped greatly by the 60 fps frame-rate, it was also down to the fact that the game uses Microsoft’s Azure servers. The partnership with Microsoft ensures that the game rarely ever suffers from lag.
Over time, Titanfall received some major updates. These added such elements as private matches, new game modes, and an entirely new ranking system. This was then expanded in October 2014 with the addition of Frontier Defense, a new co-operative mode which tasked four players to work together to defend against increasing numbers of bots. Not only did this introduce a new match type, but it also added new types of enemies and new weapons such as stationary turrets. Additional paid DLC was released for Titanfall in the form of three extra multi-player maps, with the first becoming available in May 2014.
As a celebration for their first anniversary, Respawn Entertainment announced that the season pass is now free for all users on PC, Xbox One and Xbox 360. Additionally, Titanfall 2 was announced just days later by Vince Zampella, ahead of the BAFTA awards in London. Many will be jumping back into the world of Titanfall in the coming weeks with their newly acquired season passes. What are your memories of the game? Were you a part of the original beta? Let us know in the comments.