Titanfall beta: EA and Respawn open next-gen development to the players

By Matt Martin, Monday, 17 February 2014 16:36 GMT

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Dave: I hope it works as a test-case for this kind of game too, because while there’s a line in the sand over whether shooter campaigns – largely in Call of Duty and Battlefield – are worth playing, the fact remains that they are very labour intensive, costly things to produce. Multiplayer is all about long-tail play and in the case of add-on DLC; additional income for the studio. Now, we may not like that, but it makes absolute sense from a business perspective, and it taps into the whole ‘games as a service’ angle we’re seeing much more of today. Titanfall is a service, and by cutting out the solo campaign Respawn can spend more on making online much sweeter.

“If it’s successful and Respawn does a naked money-dance come March, how long will it be before EA orders the series to be annualised or turn bi-yearly?”

Matt: I’m one of those weirdos that likes single-player Call of Duty and Battlefield as well as multiplayer. I feel like I’m getting two games for my money when it comes to those releases. In some senses I’m a little disappointed there’s not a strict single-player game but it’s too early to see how traditional single-player elements might be incorporated into the full game on release. I’m kind of asking too much to see evidence of that right now, especially when multiplayer is clearly in a great place. We’re only a month from release.

Dave: I like the shoot-from-the hip gun wankery of the Call of Duty campaigns too, basically because they fill the hole left by Arnie’s relegation to mediocre action flicks. I have to agree that the lack of single-player is a little disappointing, but only because I’m wondering just how fleshed out this world will be without a strong narrative to tell the tale. Maybe the story playlist will do that wonderfully? It’s a new-ish concept that we’re yet to fully experience, so it could work out. I hope it does.

In terms of what I’d like to see changed or improved; I’d definitely like to see the parkour tweaked a little, but I appreciated how hard this form of first-person traversal can be to code. For example: sometimes you want to double jump through a window but you just happen to clip the edge of the opening and start running along the wall. In the heat of battle that’s going to be a real problem, but luckily I never got killed as a result of my floundering. I’d also like to see the bots get a little more aggressive and responsive. I think that’s about it, I was overall really impressed with what I played.

Matt: Even at this unfinished stage it’s difficult to see Titanfall would turn out bad. What I also like about an open beta like this is it puts the games press in the same boat as the players, with access that levels the playing field. At the risk of sounding like a hippy, that’s a beautiful thing, man. I don’t know if the beta is going to be extended any significant amount of time, but I do know I’m going to miss it when it gets switched off. At least until the final game turns up.

Dave: It’s totes a beautiful thing man and yeah, I’m keen to play more right now, mostly because I want to see how the final build stacks up. Tell you what though; if it’s successful and Respawn does a naked money-dance come March, how long will it be before EA orders the series to be annualised or turn bi-yearly? Do you reckon that’d happen?

Matt: I still think it needs to be on PlayStation 4 to justify the high costs and reach the maximum appreciative audience. The beauty is that it’s an online game so there’s plenty of scope for DLC for the Xbox One version to keep Microsoft happy. I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see some sort of PS4 version in the next 6 months. Electronic Arts isn’t a one-console publisher, not when it clearly wants the game to be another mega-franchise in its portfolio.

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