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Titanfall: three years of secrecy finally laid bare

Thursday, 13 June 2013 17:40 GMT By Phil Owen

Titanfall has finally been revealed to the world, after three years of utter secrecy surrounding the Respawn title. During E3 2013, Phil Owen spoke with a studio relieved to finally bring its creation out of the shadows and into the glaring spotlight.

Titanfall – E3 2013 Gameplay

Slowly but surely, from the moment Call of Duty 2 was released on the Xbox 360 at the launch of that platform back in 2005, there has been one franchise that has pretty much owned the shooter space on consoles, and while Treyarch and Sledgehammer and those folks have certainly contributed to the world coming under the control of Activision, it all started with Infinity Ward, the actual creators of Call of Duty.

While Infinity Ward is certainly the studio responsible for this year’s Call of Duty: Ghosts, and while, yes, there are folks who have been with IW through the long haul, as we all know a not-insignificant portion of the IW DNA left to form Respawn with EA, where they’ve been working for three years on the project we now know as Titanfall.

In theory — and I use that qualification because we have no going hands-on with the game thus far, instead only being able to watch the Respawn team play it — Titanfall is a new dynamic in the multiplayer shooter space, as it contains warfare that is not quite balanced the way we’ve come to expect from all the man vs. man online shooters we’ve dealt with so many times before.

Titanfall has men and women on foot, yes, but it also puts some of them in the cockpit of a mech, a “second skin” in the words of the game’s lead artist, Joel Emslie. The mechs are a new variable intended to change up the online shooter status quo completely while still appealing to the crowd that has been eating up the status quo for the past seven years.

Respawn has been at least laying the groundwork for Titanfall for three years now, and in that time none of us on the outside looking in had any idea what they were doing, though we naturally assumed they were building something multiplayer-related. Folks in the gaming industry love to keep secrets, and they kept this one for a long time, until this month’s Game Informer cover leaked ahead of the Titanfall’s planned announcement on Monday.

“It’s great to finally have the opportunity to get support from the fan base. It was like I was out at Area 51 working on alien technology. So to have everybody come up and talk to us and feel their excitement for it, it’s surreal.”

When I spoke with Emslie at E3, he expressed palpable relief about actually just being able to talk about this damn thing they’re been toiling away at for years.

“It’s great to finally have the opportunity to get support from the fan base a little bit. I know we’re rebuilding a fan base because this is a new intellectual property, but my mom didn’t even know what I was working on. It was like I was out at Area 51 working on alien technology or something. So to have everybody come up and talk to us and feel their excitement for it, it’s surreal.”

And, naturally, Emslie said the folks at Respawn were a bit nervous coming into the show, because three years is a long time to work on a new idea without being able to tell anyone about it.

“We’ve been so close to this project for such a long period of time, and it had to be so secretive that you really start scrutinizing it so heavily, and we’re our own worst critics. I know you hear that from everybody, but we really are hardcore on ourselves,” Emslie said. “After a certain point you’re just seeing things, like, ‘I can make that better or I can make that better,’ but there just comes a point where we’re just, like, let’s get it out there and see what people think.”

Fortunately for them, people have generally been thinking good things about what we’ve seen on the game, and they’ve not been shy about expressing their thoughts to the team, Respawn’s community manager Abbie Heppe told me.

“It’s really humbling, and it’s really exciting, too, because we’re just blown away by how excited people are about it,” Heppe said. “Our whole team is here, and we can’t even keep them away from the booth because they’re just so excited to see people reacting when they’re coming out. It’s really wonderful for us.”

Titanfall E3 Announcement Trailer

The Titanfall demonstration booth has indeed been a popular attraction as E3, as folks have waited in long lines to watch some Respawn staffers play a match. But while Titanfall certainly appears to be a fresh experience, no shooter is ever going to be completely unique at this point. I mentioned Brink to Emslie and Heppe as a comparison to Titanfall, due to the first-person free-running mechanics the two games share, and while neither of them would admit to that game being an influence on Titanfall, Emslie said the comparison did make sense.

“That’s the beauty of the industry — everybody’s doing awesome work, and we can all inspire each other,” Emslie said. “Sometime it’s weird to be working on stuff in secret, and then someone else is working on something in secret, and you come out the end of the tunnel, and stuff looks… It’s like a zeitgeist. We’re all thinking the same way sometimes.”

You can rest assured that what the team has shown off at E3, much of which you can see online, is only a very small portion of the final game. Emslie told me what they brought here to the show is a good primer, but folks who are interested will need to pay attention over the coming months as they mete out more details. He also told me the world of Titanfall will have plenty of lore to soak up if you’re into that.

Titanfall will be released on Xbox platforms and PC in 2014.

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21 Comments

  1. Aullah

    I have faith in you Respawn. Dont fuck up the PC version.

    #1 2 years ago
  2. Erthazus

    It’s really good that this game is coming to the PC. I hope that the game has more substance then CoD games.

    CoD multiplayer is a weak version of Quake 3:A so I hope for a much better experience. what I saw was much better with jumping and stuff. should be cool with M&K

    #2 2 years ago
  3. MCTJim

    This one is on my must have list.

    #3 2 years ago
  4. tezzer1985

    I think that making this game exclusive, shows why EA will always be playing catch up to Activision.

    Destiny and Titanfall are based on the same multiplayer principal, which mean they both have a level playing field…yet EA chooses to limit their player base. Which will leave Destiny to establish a player base on both platforms going forward…rather then the limited player base Titanfall will have.

    #4 2 years ago
  5. redwood

    IF it’s exclusive to xbox/MS.. than they might make it exclusive to win8 too :) … makes sense?

    #5 2 years ago
  6. KineticCalvaria

    @2, next gen is all about the jumping! :D

    #6 2 years ago
  7. Erthazus

    Fun fact though. Infinity Ward said that they have next generation engine for Ghots, but in reality it’s the same 1999 year old POS with few current gen effects.

    While Respawn Entertainment makes a game on the 2005 year old engine and look at the difference between Titanfall and Ghotsts. The difference is huge!
    Although Valve is making a new Source while developed a DOTA2 game on the first Source.

    But Battleifled 4 still takes the cake. Frostbyte 3 is a true next gen thing in every way there is.

    @4, These games are different. TITANFALL is ONLINE multiplayer and Destiny is MMOFPS.

    2 completely different games that has nothing to do with each other.

    #7 2 years ago
  8. tezzer1985

    @7 I NEVER said they were the same, I said they are built on the SAME multiplayer principle. Which involve the same level of player commitment.

    Why do people not read before they comment at others.

    #8 2 years ago
  9. Erthazus

    @9, with the same comment you now can compare Call Of Duty to World Of warcraft which both requires the same multiplayer principle.

    Zero logic.

    #9 2 years ago
  10. Patrick Garratt

    Most impressive game I’ve seen here. Very solid.

    #10 2 years ago
  11. UuBuU

    I’ve been playing online FPS games since the late 90s and this one didn’t impress me at all ~ the gameplay reminded me of halo mixed with cod, which isn’t a good thing.

    The only encouraging thing about it is that it’s multiplayer only. More developers should focus on either producing a great multiplayer FPS or a great singleplayer FPS rather than trying to do both at once.

    #11 2 years ago
  12. G1GAHURTZ

    Very hyped for this game.

    Non CoD players probably won’t see it, or understand why, but this has CoD killer written all over it.

    Especially with the cloud implementation. That could be key.

    I highly recommend watching the vids of this game in 1080/60, from the official website, btw.

    The poorly compressed videos above are terrible by comparison.

    #12 2 years ago
  13. Erthabutt

    I’ll agree with my good friend here and say that tezzer1985 is on the wrong track.

    First things first, you say “…yet EA chooses to limit their player base”, and while EA most probably wasn’t against that deal, Respawn did say that they were a small team and prefered to focus their effort on one console. So it wasn’t all up to EA, I’d guess.

    Secondly, what the hell were you trying to say with that? “Destiny and Titanfall are based on the same multiplayer principal, which mean they both have a level playing field”
    That doesn’t mean anything.

    Finally, Erth, go in your cave with your engine talk, you know nothing in that matter. You don’t build an entirely new engine from scratch everytime you want to make another game. ON THE OTHER HAND, IT’S QUITE TIME FOR THEM TO IMPLEMENT A FEW MORE THINGS INTO THEIR GAMES, BUT THEY’RE GIVEN ONLY 2 YEARS TO MAKE THEIR GAME EVERYTIME. What I mean is they spend most of their effort in content creation, probably not in R&D.

    #13 2 years ago
  14. Lengendaryboss

    @Erthabutt
    Really? I am surprised Erthazus hasn’t commented on his alter ego :D

    #14 2 years ago
  15. manamana

    Just wanted to enhance this article with the Polygon interview (had it posted in the forums already), if you don’t mind, because it has interesting stuff going on. http://www.polygon.com/e3-2013/2013/6/12/4419110/titanfall-respawn

    I think it looks very engaging, although I wouldn’t buy a XB1.

    #15 2 years ago
  16. G1GAHURTZ

    ^ Also set for 360 (although probably lacking in numerous features) and PC, so you shouldn’t have to.

    #16 2 years ago
  17. viralshag

    This game essentially made the decision on what console I want.

    #17 2 years ago
  18. pukem0n

    PC version will be canned anyway, or delayed longer than Rockstar ever delayed a PC port in their history ^^

    #18 2 years ago
  19. polygem

    @18: same here: ps4

    ;)

    #19 2 years ago
  20. zinc

    @Poly, What class you choosing in Destiny? I’m thinking the cyborg soldier build. Probably call him Chief :)

    #20 2 years ago
  21. polygem

    not sure yet, can´t even decide which faction to join. really curious how all that will work. good pick for a name :)
    might call mine Destinys Child …….nahhh not funny. cheeesy. now that chief is taken already i might just call my build John then we create a squad and add 2 other players to our fireteam, one called 117, the other guy master.
    i thought about picking a titan because this class looks a lot like the classic halo thing but then, maybe it´s time for something new, maybe a warlock? can´t say, must see more of the game first. cannot wait for this game now though. it could really be fun and keep me entertained for years…IF IT CLICKS.

    #21 2 years ago

Comments are now closed on this article.

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    Fable Legends will be free-to-play when it launches on PC and Xbox One. According to Lionhead, the one versus four cross-platform title borrows from MOBA games such as Dota 2 and League of Legends as it will contain free, rotating heroes which will be added to a roster for a two week period. Once the […]

  • Win! 5 pairs of tickets to the Call of Duty European Championships

    We have five pairs of tickets to giveaway for the Call of Duty European Championships, taking place in London this weekend. The event takes place this Saturday February 28 and Sunday March 1 at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden. Winners can watch teams will go head to head for a $10,000 prize pot […]

  • Republique Remastered has released on Mac and PC

    Republique Remastered, which was announced earlier this month, is now available for Mac and PC. The game is 20% off through Steam, GOG and the Humble Store for $19.99 until March 4. Thereafter, it will run you $24.99. The Remastered edition contains all five episodes of the game, with 1-3 available now and the remaining […]

  • LA Cops coming to Xbox One in March

    Isometric shooter LA Cops is coming to Xbox One on March 13. Already on Steam Early Access, the game looks like it’s been heavily inspired by Hotline Miami. Walk into a room, open fire, leave bloody puddles in your wake. It’s being published by Team 17. Check out the video below for some 70s cop […]

  • We have $500 of Steam Wallet funds to giveaway!

    We’re giving away 10 Steam Wallet prizes worth $50 each to VG247 readers, courtesy of Bundle Stars. All you need to do to be in with a chance of winning $50 Steam credit is to enter your details below. Join the Bundle Stars Steam group for entry in the sweepstake, and gain extra entries for […]

  • Lapsed Final Fantasy 14 players tempted back with 10 day freebie

    Square is offering lapsed FF 14: A Realm Reborn players a chance to come back to the game for 10 days worth of free adventuring. Provided you’ve already bought and registered an account you’ll be able to play free of charge from Feb 27 to March 9. Square wants you to sample the new content […]

  • Advanced Warfare: Sledgehammer looking at “opportunities” to recreate classic Call of Duty maps

    Sledgehammer Games has told VG247 it’s looking at opportunities to recreate classic Call of Duty maps in Advanced Warfare. According to co-founder Michael Condrey, players of the latest Havoc DLC are asking how Exo abilities and verticality can be added to classic franchise maps. “We’re taking a look at some opportunities to really highlight the […]

  • GTA Online reader playlist week 7: and the winner is…

    Stuff was shot. But only one player emerged victorious. GTA Online player e031271 won last night’s VG247 reader playlist, beating myself, Matt and regulars solidorwot and Revolting. Congratulations, Mr e031271. A deserved victory. We play a GTA Online playlist in an open session every Wednesday on PS4, because it’s both funny and fun. Anyone’s welcome […]

  • Leaked screens reveal The Reef as Destiny’s new “social space”

    A handful of leaked Destiny screens seem to confirm that The Reef location will be the new social space in Destiny. The new addition is likely to be revealed as part of the upcoming House of Wolves expansion. Reddit user Megamanexe4 dropped the screens on the site earlier this morning, along with grabs that reveal […]

  • Darksiders creator teases Battle Chasers game

    Joe Madureira, creator of Darksiders, has released art that strongly suggests a Battle Chasers game is in the works. Battle Chasers was a comic book from the late 1990s that suffered notorious production problems between issues and was never finished. Madureira formed Airship Syndicate after the collapse of THQ, where he co-created Darksiders. His latest […]

  • Infamous video nasty Axe recreated in GTA 5

    The trailer for notorious horror movie Axe has been recreated in GTA 5. The shot for shot remake is the work of gigerbrick who has previously recreated exploitation flicks like Machete and Hostel using Lego. The original Axe movie was banned in 1984 in the UK but passed with cuts in the late 1990s. Movie […]

  • Payday 2 for PS4 and Xbox One includes “a year’s worth of paid DLC” for free

    Payday 2: Crimewave Edition will include a year’s worth of paid DLC from the PC version of the game for free. The new-gen version of the game will be available June 2015, and includes almost all of the paid and free DLC released so far for Overkill’s popular first-person shooter. That DLC includes The Big […]

  • Yes, Mortal Kombat X will require Xbox Live Gold or PS Plus

    Mortal Kombat X won’t bypass Microsoft and Sony’s premium online play requirements. Reports that Mortal Kombat X wouldn’t require PS Plus or Xbox Live Gold started circling earlier this week thanks to a communications error. Answering fan questions on Twitter, producer Shaun Himmerick accidentally gave the impression that premium console subs would not be required […]

  • This is what Destiny players most want next

    Destiny patch 1.1.1 has resolved or at least addressed a number of complaints voiced by the community, but there are plenty more. des Destiny community manage David “Deej” Dague has put out a call for Guardians to share their concerns – or rather, what they think the community is most concerned about. “Set aside your […]

  • Google AI can play games now, so we’re probably all going to die

    Google has brought us one step closer to our inevitable slaughter or enslavement by machine overlords. Google has developed an AI that can learn to play video games and devise brand new strategies. Let me just rephrase that: Google has created an AI that can teach itself new skills, including how to play video games. […]

  • First footage of Renowned Explorers: International Society surfaces

    Renowned Explorers: International Society is a turn-based strategy game from the team behind Reus, and it looks great. Renowned Explorers was announced almost a full year ago, but has been pretty quiet since then. Developer Abbey games has now announced that the game has hit alpha, and will be open to select testers soon. You […]

  • Cities: Skylines developer commits to mod support

    Cities: Skylines will fully support the modding community. Hailing from famously mod-friendly publisher Paradox, Cities: Skylines is a no-brainer for mod support – especially as a lack of mod support is one of the things SimCity was so heavily criticised for when it firts launched. In the developer diary below, Paradox’s Jakob Munthe is joined […]

  • Nosgoth update adds Vanguard, many fixes

    Nosgoth, the free-to-play multiplayer brawler set in the Legacy of Kain universe, has been given a significant makeover. The major feature of the latest Nosogth game update is a new playable human character called the Vanguard. “Equipped with mighty throwing axes and a shield, the Vanguard can take more punishment than any human class that […]

  • Xbox Live Gold 12 month sub $40 on Microsoft store

    Microsoft is offering $20 off 12 month Xbox Live Gold subscriptions at the moment. An Xbox Live Gold 12 month subscription will normally set you back $60, but a Microsoft Store promotion has it on offer for $40. The offer is restricted to the US store. Although you can opt to grab your sub as […]

  • Tomb Raider movie script to be penned by TMNT writer

    Tomb Raider will be Evan Daugherty’s second reboot of an established universe. The Tomb Raider movie reboot has signed on a writer and a distributor. Deadline reports Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Divergent, Snow White And The Huntsman and G.I. Joe 3 writer Daugherty will write the film. Additionally, Warner Bros. has signed on to distribute, […]

  • Shelter 2 pre-orders open, launch trailer debuts early

    Shelter 2 is a game in which you are a mother lynx and must protect a den of kittens. Yes, it’s delightful. Shelter 2 is coming to Mac and PC on March 9. Pre-orders are now available on Steam at 10% off or on GOG.com with a free skin and soundtrack, or 20% off if […]

  • That Batman: Arkham Knight trailer is full of codes

    Batman: Arkham Knight’s trailer is like a Transformer – there’s more than meets the eye. The new Batman: Arkham Knight trailer contains a number of codes. Eagle-eyed users have spotted four so far, and work on cracking their meaning is progressing. According to an /r/games thread rounding up results so far, the codes pertain to […]

  • Assassin’s Creed haystacks won’t save you from a fall

    Assassin’s Creed fans, don’t try this at home. Assassin’s Creed characters can survive falls of almost any distance as long as they aim for the haystacks scattered handily throughout the environment. As you probably deduced from your familiarity with common sense, this isn’t a real thing: falling from heights kills you, the same way a […]

  • Why are people buying PS4 and not Xbox One?

    PS4 is outselling Xbox One – but why? A new report may have the answer. Last month, the PS4 outsold the Xbox One in the US again, returning it to the top of the charts after just two months away. Why? What has caused this reversal in fortunes in Microsoft’s home territory? According to a […]

  • Toejam and Earl are back with a new Kickstarter

    The early 90′s are alive and well in a new bid to bring back Toejam and Earl. Toejam and Earl released for Mega Drive (Genesis, Americans) in 1991, and the eponymous characters went on to count among Sega’s best-known characters. They appeared in a platformer, a light gun shooter and finally a 2002 Xbox game […]

  • New Wander trailer shows off Azertash form

    Wander is a collaborative, non-combat MMO in which you can take on a number of unique forms. Wander players begin as an ambulant tree called an Oren and can progress through several different bodies as they explore the environment, learning its secrets. One of these, which we’d not seen before this trailer, is the amphibious […]

  • SOMA approaching beta phase on PC and PS4

    SOMA, the new horror game from the Amnesia: The Dark Descent crew, is getting close to playable. Frictional Games has apologised for its recent silence over the project, but said it’s focused on reaching beta. Sorry all for the silence! We're closing in on Beta and everyone's working hard to get there. Once that's done, […]

  • Square Enix does not condone Final Fantasy: Mystic Quest HD Remaster

    Square Enix has said it’s not involved with a fan remake of Final Fantasy spin-off Mystic Quest. 1992 SNES game Final Fantasy: Mystic Quest is being remade by Dark Design as Mystic Quest HD Remaster. The developer is even taking pre-orders for the project. Unfortunately, it looks like it is in no position to be […]

  • New Hunger teaser released by LittleBigPlanet Vita co-developers

    LittleBigPlanet Vita co-developers Tarsier Studios have released a teaser trailer for Hunger, which was announced in May 2014 at the Nordic Game Conference. The game has been rumored to be the firm’s unannounced Sony project since 2010. Platforms are still to be announced, but the studio became a first-party SCE developer a few years back, […]

  • Here’s two Mario Party 10 overview videos, one featuring amiibo

    Overview videos for Mario Party 10 and the amiibo which work with the title have been released by Nintendo Japan. Obviously each one is in Japanese, but you get the gist all the same. Mario Party 10 releases on Wii U March 20 in North America and Europe. Thanks, AGB.

  • Clan Raids announced for Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Companion App

    Activision has announced a new Clan Raids mode will be made available through the Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Companion App. According to the CoD community blog, raids are time-based challenges where success earns you a spot on the Clan Raids leaderboards and new Clan Raid-exclusive in-game gear like the Equilibrium set. Clan members will […]

  • Play Battlefield Hardline starting March 12 through EA Access

    Xbox One users with an EA Access subscription will be able to play 10 hours worth of Battlefield Hardline starting March 12. EA Access members will are being granted access to the game five days before the street date, with full multiplayer and all saves transferring over into the main game. It was announced yesterday […]

  • This video summarizes the contents of Destiny patch 1.1.1

    With Destiny patch 1.1.1 now available, here’s a video summary of what to expect. In the video above, Arekkz Gaming gives you a rundown of the important bits in the update. Subscribe to Arekkz Gaming for more Destiny tips and trick through the link.

  • Destiny 1.1.1 patch notes out, update is live

    Destiny’s 1.1.1 patch arrives today, so if you have been kicked from activities, it means you will need to download the patch now that it’s live. We will be pushing the 1.1.1 patch for Destiny shortly. Players will be kicked from activities and required to download the patch. — Bungie Help (@BungieHelp) February 25, 2015 […]

  • Payday 2 packs based on Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number coming

    Starbreeze has announced another collaboration with Dennaton Games which will see masks based on Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number appear in Payday 2. The collaboration consists of two free updates when you acquire Hotline Miami 2 or its deluxe version on Steam from February 25. The two updates, called Hotline Miami Mask Pack and Jacket […]

  • Velocity 2X making its way onto Linux, Mac, PC and Xbox One

    Velocity 2X will be released on Linux, Mac, PC and Xbox One Futurlab has announced. The developer is in charge of the port, which will be published by Sierra. According to Futurlab, the deal with Sierra came about when self-publishing proved to be difficult due to spending “more time doing PR and marketing on Velocity […]

  • Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number finally has a release date

    A release date for Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number has been announced, finally. The game will arrive on Linux, Mac, PC, PlayStation 3, PS4 and Vita March 10. It is now available for pre-order on GOG, Humble and Steam for 10% off for $13.49/£10.99. There’s also a Digital Special Edition available which includes tracks from […]