Titanfall is a mecha first-person shooter developed by Respawn Entertainment and published by Electronic Arts. It was released on March 11, 2014 in North America and on March 13, 2014 in Europe and Australia and March 14, 2014 for the United Kingdom and New Zealand for Microsoft Windows and Xbox One. An Xbox 360 port developed by Bluepoint Games was released on April 8, 2014 for North America and April 11, 2014 for Europe.
Humanity lives in the deepest reaches of explored space in a vast region known as The Frontier. It contains many well-known and inhabited solar systems, but many more worlds remain uncharted. Most people will never travel this far away from normal civilization, but for pioneers, explorers, mercenaries, outlaws, and soldiers - the Frontier offers both adventure and opportunity.
The Interstellar Manufacturing Corporation originally funded many expeditions to the Frontier, promising veterans of their military campaigns in the "Core Systems" - the region of space containing the IMC's inhabited worlds including Earth - free land and other benefits in return for starting up businesses and colonies on the Frontier. Eventually, the IMC withdrew this support for several reasons, leaving the colonists stranded without outside assistance for several decades.
Over time, life continued on the Frontier largely independant from the Core Systems. However, when the IMC returned several decades later to claim eminent domain over the Frontier's land, people and resources, the people of the Frontier united as the Frontier Militia, utilising guerilla and terrorist actions to further their cause. Eventually, this led to the Titan Wars, a series of conflicts involving usage of the "Titan" platform - the ultimate evolution of modern-day powered exoskeletons. The war ended in a (presumed) IMC victory, solidifying their presence on the Frontier. For fifteen years, the IMC would relentlessly hunt down the Militia and push them to the verge of extinction.
Fifteen years following the end of the Titan Wars, the 1st Militia Fleet is now being pursued by Vice Admiral of the IMC, Marcus Graves. On the run for months, the fleet is now running low on fuel and supplies, and has no choice but to conduct a desperate raid on an IMC gas mining world. Landing their troops at the site of a refuelling pump supplying their capital ship, the Redeye, IMC and Militia forces fight for control of three Hardpoints that would allow the IMC to maintain their air defence and the Militia to siphon the fuel. The Militia escapes the planet with just enough fuel to last a few weeks.
Tracking the remains of the fleet that survived the battle, the IMC stumble upon a hidden colony in a believed-unexplored region of space. Upon further inspection, it is realised that the colony is created out of the remains of IMS Odyssey, the former IMC flagship during the Titan Wars that disappeared during a mutiny conducted by Executive Officer James MacAllan. The IMC uses this opportunity to test out their new BRD-01 Spectre combat drones, humanoid robots designed to replace traditional infantry, in a massacre of the town. Detecting an S.O.S signal sent out by the colony, the Militia fleet investigates the site, clashing with IMC forces in the town. Ultimately, the Militia make contact with MacAllan, who agrees to help them on the condition that they evacuate the colonists. As an offer of trust, MacAllan provides the Militia with schematics for the IMC refuelling station that allows the fleet access to the Frontier, situated on the planet Demeter- if the facility were to be destroyed, it would take reinforcements years to arrive on the Frontier.
Having succesfully recruited an ex-IMC officer to their cause, the Marauder Corps next moves to Angel City to extract ex-IMC Pilot Robert "Barker" Taube; once one of the best Pilots around. MacAllan's plan to take out Demeter necessitates taking out the airbase that defends it - however, a full-scale assault would be impossible, meaning that the Militia must employ other means to destroy it. This would involve taking out the Repulsor Towers located on the site, which keep the extremely hostile wildlife away from the base. To take out the Towers, the Militia must first find one they can access to ascertain the tower's weaknesses. Barker was once stationed at a site involved in prototyping the technology, and could thus provide the Militia with the opportunity they need.
However, Barker refuses to fly the troops to the base unless one significant obstacle; flagship IMS Sentinel, is destroyed. The Militia formulates a plan to attack the ship while in drydock, hijacking the IMC's own orbital defenses to use in destroying the ship. With the carrier down, the Militia then proceed to Base Golden to formulate a way to destroy the Repulsor Towers at Airbase Sierra. They succeed in this task, and Cheng "Bish" Lorck is able to modify a Data Knife to send a pulse through the tower to render it inoperable. The Miltia fleet then gathers in the outskirts of the Demeter system, and waits for the base to be destroyed.
During the Battle of Airbase Sierra, Sarah Briggs deploys into the base alone while mainline infantry distract the IMC forces outside. She eventually succeeds in bringing down the towers, though is shot in the arm by Kuben Blisk in the process. The fleet then moves onto Demeter, with Pilots and Titans battling on the ground to control the stations that would allow the reactor core to overheat. Ultimately, the Core proves more resilient than expected, requiring someone to manually detonate it. MacAllan sacrifices his own life to ensure this victory for the Militia, resulting in the complete destruction of the Demeter gateway and the stranding of IMC forces on the Frontier.
In the months following the Battle of Demeter, Vice Admiral Graves defects to the Militia cause alongside vast quantities of human personnel. In his wake, IMC AI Spyglass is promoted to the rank of Vice Admiral, proceeding the reorganise the remaining forces (now composed mostly of robotic infantry) as the "Remnant Fleet". Three months following Demeter, the Militia strike at the first of a number of Spectre production plants, hoping to cut off the IMC's endless supply of expendable infantry.
As the campaign ends, the IMC still controls a vast portion of the Frontier, but is now on the defensive due to the expected two year wait for reinforcements to arrive. However, as of Titanfall 2 (five years later), these reinforcements are nowhere in sight.
The Titanfall campaign takes the form of a series of multiplayer matches on Attrition and Hardpoint Domination. The story plays out with character dialogue playing in pre-game lobbies and in the matches, with the campaign versions for each map having several unique setpieces not seen in regular multiplayer (such as the railgun of Outpost 207 destroying IMS Sentinel). However, an update to the game's matchmaking system means the pre-mission dialogue is no longer available, and is transcribed on each mission's page for convenience.
- "Training" - Solo training mission, used to guide the player through the game's mechanics.
- "The Refueling Raid" - "Desperately low on fuel, the 1st Militia Fleet prepares to raid an IMC gas mining world."
- "The Colony" - "A battle between IMC and Militia forces at a remote colony forces a reclusive war hero out of hiding."
- "The Odyssey" - "While the Militia seek MacAllan's expertise as a former IMC officer, the IMC deploy forces to prevent his escape."
- "Get Barker" - "IMC forces scour the harbor district of Angel City in search of MacAllan, who is attempting to extract his old friend Barker from the area."
- "Assault on the Sentinel"
- "Here Be Dragons"
- "The Three Towers"
- "The Battle of Demeter"
- "Made Men"
The gameplay in Titanfall is similar to that of many other first-person shooters, with the player wielding a standard weapon and gunning down enemies. Compared to shooters like Halo and Call of Duty, there are points awarded for performing certain actions, such as killing enemy soldiers, Titans, and scoring headshots or unique methods of killing. While not piloting a Titan, players can sprint, double jump through the use of a small, but powerful Jump Kits, climb up structures through the use of said jump pack, and Wall-Run. making it possible to clear whole maps without ever setting foot on the ground. While piloting a Titan, the double jumping and wall-running abilities are removed, as well as the ability to fit into certain spaces only accessible to Pilots, but gameplay is quite similar.
Titanfall is an online-only multiplayer title, with no single player campaign or offline features. As a result the game's story is told through a series of multiplayer matches with unique setpieces and dialogue to relate context for the fighting going on in the mission.
At the end of a multiplayer match, players will enter the Epilogue , where the losing team has to get to an evacuation dropship within a certain amount of time. If the player is successful in returning to the dropship, they are rewarded with extra XP. The opposing team can pick them off, preventing them from going to the dropship.
Respawn Entertainment begun development on Titanfall in 2010, with early pre-production and concept art being created shortly after the studio's formation. Respawn Entertainment was founded by ex-Infinity Ward employees Vince Zampella and Jason West after being fired by Activision. In April 2010, Respawn would announce a $30 million contract with Electronic Arts to produce a new game - codenamed "R1" in development - for the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360. During the early days of the company, the studio explored a number of ideas for what their new game could be about, with many different science fiction and fantasy ideas pitched. The first piece of concept art was developed by Joel Emslie, featuring a rocket launcher firing at a dragon in an urban cityscape.
Eventually, the team was able to get computers, and begun using the Source Engine to experiment with fluid motion, similar to that of Tony Hawk Pro Skater and Crackdown. Wall-running would be implemented after the release of the film Kick Ass, with a scene near the end of the film used as inspiration for reprogramming a setpiece of Half-Life 2 where the player is confronted by a Combine soldier in a long hallway, with the level modified so that the player could wallrun around the soldier and take him down from behind. This would prove to be popular, with the studio later using Half-Life as a basis in which to begin experimenting with the addition of mechanics such as double and triple-jumping and a Grappling Hook. The Sidewinder would also find its origins in this period, beginning as an automatic rocket launcher, alongside the Smart Pistol MK5.
Although the Source Engine was used for initial experimentation, it wasn't seriously considered at first as the engine for the final product, with the studio looking to other engines such as Epic Games' Unreal Engine and the engine used by Pandemic for their Lord of the Rings: Conquest game. Ultimately, the team decided on the Luna engine developed by Insomniac Games for the Ratchet and Clank games, due to its ability to hit 60fps on the Playstation 3 console. However, there was still no clear vision at this stage in time on what Respawn's game would be, with initial tests and demos proving unsatisfying. During this time, artist Joel Emslie would begin creating physical models of character concepts, inspired by the models used in older pre-CGI films such as Star Wars. One of these concepts was of an Iron Man-esque power suit, resembling a diving suit. Although the design was initially developed as a human-sized exoskeleton suit, the idea for what would eventually become a Titan was born when Emslie placed a small 6-inch soldier figurine against the suit, with the model now appearing like a large robot, that would later be the inspiration for the design of the Ogre. The team would begin experimenting with implementing the Titan into the Ratchet and Clank engine in early 2011, in a test known as XO_ACTION_TEST.
By July 2011, the game still had no real direction, leading to game director Steve Fukuda to take initiative and begin pitching a story direction for the game to begin focusing around. This pitch would involve the player character - MacAllan, alongside Bish, using a turret to defend MRVNs from native wildlife while they repaired a ship called the Redeye, which would also serve as the name of the level. This pitch would also involve the character Sarah and a character known as Vektor, who was to have been voiced by YouTuber FPSRussia.
However, the game would continue to have an increasingly troubled development, with tensions between developers nearly escalating to physical violence. The stress of the lawsuit held against the former Infinity Ward employees would further exacerbate this issue as the lawsuit would often take time away from the game's development, leaving parts of the team with no direction or leadership for days at a time. This led to an internal rift forming in the studio between those involved in the lawsuit, and those not.
A pitch for R1's multiplayer would be developed, described as "multiplayer MMA". There would be four player classes that could be controlled, with switching done by pressing different buttons on the controller's D-Pad. These four classes would include Titans, Pilots and a squad of infantry wherein the player would control one soldier, and the AI would control three others who would follow the player, who would later become the Grunts seen in the final game, with the fourth class left undisclosed. Titans in this build of the game were able to have their canopy damaged, forcing the player to leave the Titan and join the battle as a Pilot. During this stage of the game's development, a weapon known as the "Vortex Rifle" was developed, but would later evolve into the Vortex Shield seen in the final game. This demo was shown to EA executives in late 2011, though the campaign mode was still showing little signs of progress.
In early 2012, the project was given a lucky break when Respawn were contacted by Xbox, who were interested in securing the game as a launch title for the then-upcoming Xbox One. As it looked increasingly unlikely that the game would hit its March 2013 release date, a release for the Xbox would secure an additional six months of time to develop the game. The studio also reached out to Sony in the hopes of being able to get details on the Playstation 4, but Sony wasn't ready to talk about the console at that moment, and instead offered to help develop the game for the PS Vita.
Another mission developed during the development of R1 was titled "Worker Base", and featured MacAllan sneaking inside an IMC military base to rescue a character named Saito. The level's would feature a sequence in which the player would bring down the "Dog-Whistle Tower" on the base, allowing the local fauna to destroy the base as a distraction for the mission at hand. This mission would feature stealth mechanics, in which enemies would be highlighted yellow while unaware of the player - then red when they spotted the player; and a mechanic wherein the player was required to hack MRVNs with the Data Knife to unlock doors in the base. The mission received a lukewarm reception within the studio, despite being the first prototype successfully completed. Over time, the studio would gradually grow more divided between single-player and multiplayer teams and those involved in the lawsuit vs. those not involved in the lawsuit. The lawsuit would eventually reach a settlement before going to court, but the fractures within the studio would be still evident, as the multiplayer teams felt that the studio had spent too much time working on the Worker Base prototype to not much progress, when the multiplayer was showing more progress. This led to several employees leaving the studio. By late 2012, the maps Relic and Swampland had been concepted.
To get the game back on track, Steve Fukuda created a document titled Titan Wars, attempting to create a more clear vision for the game. This document called for the fireteam element of multiplayer to be scrapped alongside the singleplayer campaign, with the campaign story being folded into the multiplayer component as part of a multiplayer campaign so that development resources could be prioritised. This document also suggested that the bridge of the Redeye would be a dynamic main menu lobby where the player could view their character interacting with other players inbetween games. However, this brought with it a new challenge, as the team no longer believed they had the manpower to develop for more than one or two systems. Additionally, the studio ran out of money and had to be given a final chance by EA to get back on track.
To further complicate issues, studio co-founder Jason West began showing severe apprehension about the game's quality, leading to a drop in morale amongst the development team. This period would mark the development of multiplayer maps such as Angel City, Fracture and Boneyard. Eventually, an eight-minute build of Titan Wars was shown at EA's GPMM meeting in early 2013, with intentions to fully announce it at E3 of that year and release the following year. Early playtesting received positive feedback, though it was felt that Titans were too "tanky" and that the game felt too much like playing bumpercars with the Titans. During this phase of the game's development, players spawned in Titans, then transitioned to Pilot gameplay once their Titan was destroyed (similar to the gamemode Last Titan Standing in the final product), and both Pilots and Titans had regenerating health. To mitigate this, the Titan shield system was implemented, so that Titans had a permanent health bar that could tick down over time once the shield collapsed. The decision would also be made to make players spawn as a Pilot first, then call in their Titan mid-game, leading to the game's new name of Titanfall.
Due to a lack of information about the Playstation 4, Respawn made the decision to focus the game as being a game for the Xbox One and PC, with an outside studio - Bluepoint Games - brought in to port the game to the Xbox 360. The game was revealed at E3 to critical acclaim, but internally was still partially unfinished. Initially, Titanfall was slated to be a 13-month console exclusive for the Xbox platform, with a Playstation release shortly after; however, Respawn were informed in summer 2013 that EA had made a deal without the studio's involvement that turned the original Titanfall into a permanent Xbox exclusive. The team experimented with player numbers ranging from 4v4 to 8v8, but ultimately settled on 6v6 as best to mitigate the game's "chaos factor". During August 2013, the studio debated cutting the Ogre and Stryder Titans to keep focus on just the Atlas, but were kept in by Vince Zampella's insistence. Burn Cards were also started in August 2013, and were still under development until December. The campaign's script and voice recording were still not complete in September 2013, while Regeneration was thought of and implemented in December. The game entered Alpha on October 18, 2013, and had its closed Alpha test in January 2013, and held an open beta in February.
Titanfall released on March 11, 2014, for Xbox One and Windows platforms, while the Xbox 360 version was planned for launch on March 25 in North America and March 28 in Europe, though on March 19, EA announced that the Xbox 360 version would be delayed to an April 1 launch, to allow Bluepoint Games more time to finalise the port.
Alongside the regular edition, the game launched with a special edition called the Titanfall Collector's Edition. The Collector's Edition came with a copy of the game, a large statue of an Atlas Titan and a copy of The Art of Titanfall, among others.
On November 28, 2014, the TitanfallDeluxe Edition was released for digital platforms. The Deluxe Edition comes with the Season Pass bundled, and replaced regular purchases of Titanfall on those platforms.
Following its release, Titanfall had three major pieces of paid Downloadable Content, included in the game's Season Pass. Each DLC pack included three new maps and several new achievements. The Season Pass and all accompanying DLC were made free to all players to celebrate the first anniversary of Titanfall's release.
Throughout its lifespan, Titanfall also had several free game updates that offered balance reworks and bugfixes. One of the more major updates, Game Update 8, added in a large variety of new content including the addition of the Frontier Defense mode alongside a host of new features and achievements. Private match lobbies were also implemented in post-launch support.
Titanfall has 88 achievements worth 2000 Gamerscore on both Xbox One and Xbox 360.
Titanfall and Respawn Entertainment has been nominated and won over 75 awards. Most of which have been awarded from Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) 2013, Gamescom 2013, PAX Prime 2013 and Tokyo Game Show 2013.
- The Final Hours of Titanfall
- Artstation - Titanfall Concept Art
- Vince Zampella on Twitter - "Always MS exclusive at launch, great partner and focus is good for a startup. EA made a deal for the rest, we only found out recently =("
- EA - Titanfall Now Coming to Xbox 360 April 11th 2014
- Metascore for Titanfall 2 on PCMetacritic, Retrieved March 4, 2020
- Metascore for Titanfall 2 on PS4Metacritic, Retrieved March 4, 2020
- Metascore for Titanfall 2 on Xbox OneMetacritic, Retrieved March 4, 2020