We speak to Respawn about PC support for their sweet-looking new mech game.
By Patrick Stafford on June 13, 2013 at 4:54 pm
Titanfall, the mech-based multiplayer game from Respawn Entertainment, will feature dedicated servers and local support for Australian players, the company’s community manager confirmed with games.on.net at E3 today.
However, it remains yet to be confirmed whether players will be able to host their own servers, although community manager Abbie Heppe said PC players could potentially see modding support down the line.
“From what we’ve been told, [support] will be worldwide,” she said, in reference to local servers. “Wherever the game is supported.”
Heppe said she was unable to confirm at this point whether players will be able to host their own servers, although said the PC community is “incredibly important” to the company, and even said the game has been planned for the PC from day one.
Such focus on the PC platform is unsurprising, but definitely welcome. Respawn is populated with ex-Infinity Ward developers, whose golden child Call of Duty was originally based on the PC. Respawn is even running on a modified version of the Source engine, which Heppe says could possibly lead to mod support.
“We’re not quite at a point where we’re talking about any of that stuff yet. But we’re using Source, and that’s a crazy modding engine…so I would hope.”
As for the game itself, games.on.net viewed a behind-the-scenes demo on the E3 show floor, which was essentially a live game played on the same map shown during the Microsoft press conference (the game was populated by Respawn players in the next room).
This is a fast-paced action game, but beyond that, it simply looks fun. While the ground-based action looks nice and smooth in and of itself, the ability to use a jetpack to run and bounce off of walls simply adds a new level of complexity – and plenty of fun, spontaneous moments.
We saw several instances of this during the game itself when a player would attempt to reach a certain point, only to be stopped by a fellow player utilizing a jetpack to leap above them and cut them down.
Then, of course, the Titans themselves. These machines are constantly being prepared for the players by drop ships, and can be called down once they are ready. However, fulfilling certain objectives or tasks can help reduce that cool down period.
Once the mechs – or Titans – are on the ground, players can either choose to enter them to access more firepower, or simply have them follow them around – sort of like a big, giant mechanical pet. They can even ride them.
The consequences of this multi-layered gameplay system are twofold: the combat never seems boring, as you’re always guaranteed a gameplay-style shift when your mech arrives, and is also completely chaotic. The good kind of chaotic.
It helps the game has been infused with single-player elements, such as a background and story. The game starts with a type of loading screen which shows the player with a group of fellow soldiers in a drop ship – you’re being told to defend a ship as it refuels in order to “save the fleet”. Whatever that means.
It’s hard to put the story in context given Respawn isn’t saying anything more, but it’s nice to see more narrative placed in a multiplayer game, even if it’s to add a sense of place and context. It certainly adds to the grandiose nature of the whole experience.
But more importantly, this game simply looks fun. The level design is clearly built to accommodate the jumping mechanic, with lots of high buildings and strategically placed walls. There also appeared to be some type of cloaking mechanic, insinuating more skills and abilities to be revealed further before the game’s launch.
Even the animations are a joy. We never grew tired of seeing a mech waste another Titan, grab the pilot inside and throw him or her across the length of the battlefield.
The ending of each match also brings its own delight. When the game mode ends, players are given a certain amount of time in order to enter some drop ships. It’s a good time to pick off some last enemies, but the losing team will be making sure that you don’t get away. In our demo, our lead player barely escaped with his life.
(The XP bonus achievement for reaching the drop ship? “Get to the chopper”. Nice.)
This was a hands-off demo, but damn, we wish it wasn’t. This looks incredibly fun to play. It’s refreshing to see such an innovative take on multiplayer shooters — and with all signs pointing to PC support, Titanfall should be on any PC player’s calendar for 2014.