Titanfall is a first-person shooter multiplayer video game developed by Respawn Entertainment and published by Electronic Arts as an exclusive for Microsoft Windows, Xbox 360, and Xbox One. The game was officially announced as Respawn’s debut game at Microsoft’s E3 2013 press conference, and was released on March 11, 2014.
In Titanfall, players fight on a war-torn planet in six-on-six online multiplayer-only matches as mech-style Titans and their pilots. The game’s action is fast-paced: as pilots, players can run along walls and link jumps together parkour-style, as well as cloak; as Titans, players are equipped with more destructive armaments and special protective shields. Several gameplay elements were designed to increase the game’s accessibility to less experienced shooter players, such as a locking pistol, the supplementing of each team with weak AI bots for easier kills, and temporary power-ups. The game uses Microsoft’s cloud computing services to offload non-player activity to servers and optimize the home computer for graphical performance.
The game won over 60 awards at its E3 2013 reveal, including a record-breaking six E3 Critics Awards, and Best of Show from several media outlets. It also won official awards at Gamescom and the Tokyo Game Show. Many reviewers predicted Titanfall to be the next step for the first-person shooter genre, and IGN’s Ryan McCaffrey declared the game “Microsoft’s killer app”. Upon release, the game received positive reviews from critics, many of whom praised the game for its balanced game design.
Players fight either on foot as free-running “pilots” or inside agile mech-style walkers called “Titans” to complete team-based objectives on a derelict and war-torn planet as either the Interstellar Manufacturing Corporation (IMC) or the Militia. The game is online multiplayer-only, but injects single-player elements such as plot, character chatter, and non-player characters into its matches. Bit-tech reported the game to have 15 maps, 33 weapons, and splitscreen support for the online multiplayer, though the developer had previously denied the latter. Respawn founder Vince Zampella described the game as bringing “scale, verticality, and story” to first-person shooter multiplayer gaming.
Up to twelve human players choose their pilot types and are dropped on the map, beginning the game. A timer displays the time until a Titan can be deployed, which is reduced by killing other players. Once deployed, Titans are protected by a forcefield for about 30 seconds, which protects the player-pilot as well. Pilots are agile and accumulate momentum while running (similar to Tribes), which lets players run on walls and chain together double jumps. There are multiple types of Titans, each with unique abilities and animations. Pilot and Titan controls are identical except where the pilot’s double jump becomes the Titan’s dash, as Titans cannot jump, crouch, or cover. The mechs are not slow, but their movement is slower than the nimble pilots. Titan game-balancing abilities include the vortex blocker, which stops and returns enemy ammunition in midair, and electrified smoke, which hurts and repels pilots climbing the Titan’s back. Pilot abilities include the Smart Pistol, which can lock onto opponents and shoot around corners. Other gameplay elements are intended to make the game more approachable to less experienced shooter players, such as the supplementing of each team with weak AI bots for easier kills, and temporary power-ups called Burn Cards. Player-pilots can eject from Titans that take too much damage, and the Titan replacement timer is reset upon the Titan’s death. Titans can also act autonomously when put in guard and follow modes, which directs the Titan either to protect their vicinity or to tail their pilot, respectively. Games end with an epilogue in which the losing team attempts to evacuate via dropship to earn experience points.
Respawn has unveiled three Titan classes: the agile Atlas, the ponderous Ogre, and the nimble Stryder. The Attrition multiplayer mode pits hostage rescuers against defensive kidnappers. The game’s campaign multiplayer is separate from the game’s “classic mode” multiplayer. It plays as multiplayer with single-player elements, such as scripted sequences and character dialogue. There are separate campaigns for the two teams. The Militia are the civilian military of the Frontier and the resistance against IMC use of colony resources. Their most important members include Titan War veteran and former mutiny leader MacAllan, intel specialist and engineer Bish, and Marauder Corps leader Sarah. The corporate conglomerate IMC specializes in natural resource extraction, and came to the resource-rich Frontier for business. Their major players are Frontier operations commander-in-chief Vice Admiral Graves, intel specialist Blisk, and artificial intelligence companion Spyglass.