The first game from Respawn Entertainment, the studio formed by Call of Duty creators Jason West and Vince Zampella, is Titanfall, a futuristic multiplayer first-person shooter for Xbox One, Xbox 360, and PC, the latest issue of Game Informer reveals.
The game is set in a future where humanity is split between its civilizations on Earth and on a series of Frontier Planets in space. To reach these colonies, travelers must go through a difficult journey. But by doing so, they’re able to join self-sustaining cities on other planets. The Interstellar Manufacturing Corporation, however, is making inroads to secure the valuable natural resources of those regions, drawing battle lines between the corporation and those who wish to protect the settlements.
Titanfall uses Left 4 Dead-style visual storytelling. Players are given subtle clues about the conflict, including eviction notices on doors, flooded apartments with children’s drawings taped to the refrigerator, and other references.
Battles are held between ground soldiers called “Pilots” and giant mechs called “Titans.” Each side has its own advantages.
Pilots are the jack of all trades, and can capture control points, defend high value targets, take on fetch-and-grab missions, and more. They’re at a disadvantage when it comes to size, but are more agile because of it. They can wall run and perform multiple jumps. They also have a short-lived cloaking ability, which lets them move across wide-open areas safely. They can equip weapons like pistols, assault rifles, anti-Titan rocket launchers, and data-knives to hack AI characters into joining their side.
The 24 feet tall Titans differ from your typical mech. They move at the speed of a regular soldier in say, a game like Call of Duty. Players can pilot a Titan or have one follow them. They come equipped with powerful weapons like a chain-lightning gun called the “Arc Cannon,” 40mm explosives, and a rocket launcher. Its “Vortex” ability, when used at the right time, allows it to collect bullets and rockets shot at it to send back at the enemy. When you have one following you, you can tell the Titan to guard your current area. When you’re piloting one, you can use an eject boost ability to catapult yourself into the air to reach higher areas for sniping as a Pilot. Other Pilots will be able to jump on the back of your Titan to attack it. When badly damaged, it will go into a “Doomed” state, opening the opportunity for other pilots to rip and kill you from the cockpit.
Speaking with the magazine, Respawn said they wanted to focus on one platform (the Xbox 360 version is in development at another studio), in addition to PC, for Titan as multiplatform development would prove too difficult for a small team.
“Not to say we won’t [go multiplatform] in the future, but for our first game we wanted to focus on making the best game we could.”
The game will make heavy use of cloud computing for unlimited dedicated servers, to offload “a few dozen AI” and “all the complex physics calculations,” and for quicker, more accurate matchmaking. According to Respawn, the game would be impossible to make without it, suggesting the Kotaku rumor about game requiring an internet connection to be accurate.
Respawn are using the Source engine and have the game running at 60 frames per second. In addition to multiplayer, a single-player mode is also in the works, though details are currently mum. The game will also have SmartGlass integration and some form of Kinect support.
Titanfall will launch in spring 2014.