A Pilot is an elite soldier and operator of a Titan, possessing superior skills and equipment compared to the standard Grunt. Players take the role of Pilots in Titanfall and Titanfall 2, fighting as an operative of either the IMC, Frontier Militia or one of the many mercenaries out to seek fame and fortune from fighting the Frontier War.
They are far and wide considered the most effective and fearsome forces on the battlefield, a status which is only augmented by their Titans.
Pilot Certification and Training
Pilots are rated by a series of qualifications called "Certifications", similar to a modern-day driver's license. These certifications apply in both civilian and military roles, qualifying a Pilot for a specific occupation such as salvage, deep-space search and rescue, shipping, loading, construction or agriculture. However, by far the most highly-sought certification is the Combat Certification, a widely published series of tests that grade a Pilot's abilities.
All Pilots, whether soldiers or civilians, must complete the Pilot Certification Training in order to operate a Titan and cannot establish a neural link unless they earn their certification or the Titan's emergency protocols engage should their respective Pilots die in combat and a replacement is required.
Pilot Certification Training varies between both use and faction, but ultimately fall under the same basic training guidelines. Potential combat Pilots must first complete the Combat Training before going on to Titan Training, all of which takes place in simulated conditions.
The Combat Certification is the hardest Certification for Pilots to acquire, taking years of training in both the operation of Titans and refinement of the skills of shooting, parkour and combat. Training can be completed or refined in a Simulation Pod. One such training program, widely available for Pilots of the IMC, and illegally available on the Black Market for the Frontier Militia is the Hammond Industries Pilot Combat Certification Simulator. Another, home-grown simulator for the Militia is the Pilot's Gauntlet used by Captain Tai Lastimosa and other Militia Pilots, who compete for the fastest time in a virtual parkour course that exercises almost all major pilot skills. It is also possible to network sim-pods together for multi-Pilot training sessions, with arenas such as War Games and Glitch based off the aforementioned simulations.
At least one live-fire training ground exists for budding Pilots on the Frontier. Training Ground Whitehead on planet Gridiron has a failure rate of more than 98%. The IMC Dynamic Testing Facility also houses a number of testing facilities utilized by Pilots. In addition, the Coliseum, seemingly operated by Advocates, allows Pilots a chance to fight in an arena to earn money and prizes in the form of Advocate Gifts.
Pilots do not require augmentation as part of their job, with the majority simply being the most skilled and disciplined soldiers the factions of the Frontier have to offer - in other words, Pilots are not super soldiers, merely highly-trained and refined personnel with access to the best equipment their respective armies have to offer. However, many Pilots will opt for artificial enhancements to improve their skillset. These can range from minute enhancements such as the "hearing aid" Aural Implant to the transhumanist Simulacrum and Spectre Camo, both of which completely replace the Pilot's organic body with a robotic one.
Militia Pilots rated for combat are generally given officer ranks - notably all Pilots of the Special Recon Squadron such as Captain Tai Lastimosa, Major Eli Anderson and Commander Sarah Briggs. However, many other Pilots such as James MacAllan and Robert "Barker" Taube hold officer status as well.
Full Article: Regeneration
Veteran Pilots may be invited by an Advocate to undergo a process known as Regeneration. This process involves a level of augmentation and other surgery, with the result being Pilots who are faster and more capable of learning. However, this process has a drawback; Pilots often suffer amnesia in some form from this process and will have to re-learn many skills again.
Operating a Titan
Full Article: Titan
A Pilot, while in a Titan, can maneuver and fight similarly as if he or she is on foot, due to the Titan being designed to be an extension of the Pilot's body. This is, of course, with the exception of the ability to jump, which is instead replaced by the Dash function. Titan combat also has a few other differences compared to traditional infantry combat, such as a set of weaponry and equipment.
If a Titan is at critical damage, a Pilot can also use an ejecting system to eject from a Titan before the Titan explodes. A Pilot can also manually initiate the eject sequence even though the Titan is still above critical damage levels.
A Titan can also be operated whilst the pilot is not actually in it, in "Auto-Titan" mode. It has two modes that can be switched between while pilots are disembarked: Follow and Guard. Follow mode makes the Titan follow the player as close as the titan could possibly be. Guard mode will make the Titan defend the position it is at, useful for defending objectives or key locations on a map.
Combat on Foot
As special forces of their respective armies, Pilots employ a large array of equipment in combat, being able to choose their own weaponry and loadouts. Aside from standard primary weapons and sidearms for infantry combat, Pilots also employ specialised Anti-Titan Weaponry alongside their rifle and sidearm (Or, occasionally, in place of their sidearm). However, the most impressive array of tools at their disposal are their Tactical Abilities; special abilities designed to assist Pilot survivability. Grapple Hooks, Particle Shields, Cloak and the ability to phase out of this dimension entirely are but a small part of a Pilot's toolset.
Pilots rely heavily on advanced mobility to help navigate their way around the battlefield, utilising special Jump Kits to Wall-Run, Jump Kick, Slide and Double-Jump. The Jump Kit can also be used in conjunction with Ziplines (improvised or intended) to allow Pilots to accelerate to platforms and heights otherwise unreachable, and launch into the air at unprecedented speeds.
Several types of Pilot have been seen employed by the IMC and Militia, sporting different armor, equipment and helmets depending on role, gender and faction. It should be noted that while many Pilots sport standard gear that is mass-manufactured, most Pilots will undergo a "rite of passage" at some point in their service, in which they will construct or create personalized equipment. As such, many of the helmets sported by Pilots such as the Apex Predators or 6-4 are customized equipment and are not available for mass-manufacture.
- Rifleman - Generic pilots that specialize in the usage of Carbines, Assault Rifles, Battle Rifles and Light Machine Guns. Gates, Jack Cooper and Tai Lastimosa are all examples of Pilots sporting BRP gear.
- CQB - These Pilots typically sport lighter gear and, notably, open faces to allow them to blend with regular infantry. They typically operate CQB loadouts featuring Smart Pistols, Shotguns and SMGs.
- Assassin - Assassins are Pilots that utilize their prowess in parkour to reach high towers and ledges, for concealment. They are highly trained marksmen who use weapons like the Longbow-DMR Sniper and Kraber-AP Sniper.
- Heavy Pilots - Pilots operating heavy armor and equipment such as robotic arms, ghillie suits and the A-Wall or Cloak.
- Grapple - Pilots equipped with grappling hooks.
- Holo Pilot - Pilots sporting (what appear to be) EOD vests and Hologram technology.
- Spectre Camo - Certain Pilots choose to rid themselves of the human form entirely, preferring to become Spectres. These Pilots are rare, however, and seem to have been replaced by Simulacrum Pilots utilizing Phase Shift and a significantly more powerful version of Stim.
- Pulse Blade - Pilots equipped with the aforementioned Tactical Ability, likely with equipment designed to pick up the sonar pulses emitted by the Blade.
- Shinobi - Not much is known of these Pilots, except they tend to prefer using Alternator SMGs and Machetes.
- In addition, Pilots Viper, Kane and Richter all utilize helmets exclusive to their loadouts and unequip able in multiplayer. Bear also wears a helmet not traditionally found on Pilots, instead bearing more resemblance to the IMC Marines of Titanfall. The gear utilized by A-Wall (sans the helmet) also appears to be used by Shield Captain Grunts.
While Pilot classes in Titanfall 2 are tied to tactical ability, in the original Titanfall they were bound to weapon classes, with any tactical ability compatible with any loadout. This would seem to be the case in Titanfall 2, as (for example) a Grapple Pilot is fully capable of using the Holo Pilot Nova despite not having the ability to produce Holograms, or the Phase Rewind despite not having the ability to Phase Shift otherwise.
Furthermore, Become One and Titanfall 2 Single Player Cinematic Trailer both show Tai Lastimosa and Jack Cooper using Holo Pilot, Grapple, Pulse Blade, and other tactical abilities at the same time, despite Lastimosa's campaign loadout (And thus Jack's) only including the Cloak ability. similarly, Titanfall: Free the Frontier shows the protagonist utilizing Active Radar Pulse, Cloak and Stim in quick succession. This would suggest that Pilots can mount many (or all) abilities seen thus-far, and such abilities are not tied to the specific equipment they wear outside of gameplay mechanics.
- The helmet of the male Assault IMC pilot is inspired from Boba Fett's of Star Wars. More references to the Mandalorian helmet of Star Wars fame can be found in the extremely similar-looking Holo Pilot.
- There are two types of Militia pilot Male Rifleman suits and two types of Militia Female CQB suits. The alternate Male Rifleman suit is shown below with a different helmet style. The Female CQB suit is identical to the original with a slight change to the face: the original has a tanned/dark-skinned look while the alternate has a much lighter Caucasian or "white" skin tone. There is also another version of the Female IMC CQB, in the same fashion as above. One is lighter skinned and the other is darker skinned. There appears to be no way to influence which of the two variants a player gets for any set, it is randomly chosen for the player when he/she first spawns in a match.
Bugs and glitches
- There is a glitch that affects the female IMC Sharpshooter model in Titanfall, where their head wrappings will occasionally appear in the Militia color scheme, despite the rest of their armor being displayed as the IMC color scheme. This has no affect on gameplay, and can occasionally also appear in reverse.
- In Titanfall 2’s multiplayer, one can only hear their Pilot teammates talking - it is impossible to hear your own Pilot’s voice with the exception of calling a friendly Titan while possessing a Battery. In addition, all Pilot dialogue is unsubtitled regardless if they were turned on or not.
- In the entire series, the only moment AI Pilots are ever seen on foot engaging in unscripted combat is in the mission The Ark in Titanfall 2, where the 6-4 members are clearing the deck of the IMS Malta before moving up to the bridge. Here, they will utilise the full capability of their Jump Kits with double jumps and running on walls. All other AI Pilots seen thus far are either during cutscenes or in Titans.
- Titanfall 2 R-97 Concept Art
- Titanfall Forum Thread - "As you saw in Titanfall 2, SRS Pilots do receive a neurological change when they become Pilots of Vanguard Class Titans but overall, Pilots are real, extremely skilled and disciplined soldiers who have successfully run the Gauntlet in under 1 minute. They are not super soldiers, but that's not to say that enhancements like Stim and Phase Shift don't exist."
- Reddit Q&A Thread
- Respawn Q&A: "There's no fixed number, but it's considered a rite of passage for veteran Pilots to custom build their own helmets, once they grow out of what they started off with (usually a more commonly available "stock" model)."
- Alternator concept art