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Full Titanfall Article from OXM

Posted by OujaStrike on January 10, 2014

On Wednesday I bought the Official Xbox Magazine the cover story is Titanfall i’m going to write everything about Titanfall in the Article.

If you looking for this issue it’s February 2014 Issue 158 the Cover has a Pilot on a Atlas Titan.

2014 The Year of Xbox

With a new Xbox now part of the family, the upcoming lineup of games across 360 and Xbox One has never looked bigger, brighter, and more exciting: 2014 promises 12 months full of giant mechs, devilish dungeons, and returning favorites. Get your trigger fingers ready – the new year of Xbox starts now.

Titanfall Come for the mechs, stay for everything else

PUB EA – DEV RESPAWN ENTERTAINMENT Releases March 2014 (11th US)

Right off the top, there are some massive, unmissable reasons to be excited about Titanfall – reasons that stand several stories high, and pack serious mechanized firepower. We’re talking, of course, about the Titans themselves. It’s pretty hard to see these towering metal marvels in action without feeling a bit giddy at the thought of climbing inside the cockpit for a test drive. And sure, we’ve seen mechs before (much respect to Lost Planet and Armored Core), but never in this type of fast-paced, first person shooter, and never as a next gen exclusive from the development team that singlehandedly shaped modern online multiplayer with Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare.

In fact, that’s probably what’s most intriguing about Titanfall. Not so much Respawn Entertainment’s dramatic and compelling history (though its pedigree is a wellspring of optimism all on its own) but the fact that the game’s appeal doesn’t stop with giant killer robots, or even with super-agile free-running pilots. The Deeper we dig into the overall package, the more we discover to be excited about. Take, for example, Titanfall’s approach to storytelling. As a multiplayer-only, online-focused title, it’s sort of amazing that there’s a narrative to speak of at all. Yet the game does indeed feature a fully-realized dystopian sci-fi setting, a hand full of crucial recurring characters, and a full narrative arc.

Going into the new generation, it felt like multiplayer is a better place to grow that has a lot of new designs opportunities, and single-player was something that we’re very experienced at, explains Respawn game designer Mackey McCandlish, who spoke to us during a recent exclusive interview. We felt like we could take a lot of what we’ve learned in the world of single-player and apply it to multiplayer games and make multiplayer even more accessible and more cinematic and more exciting than it had been in previous games.

According to McCandlish, the campaign is, at the core, a multiplayer experience as you are used to, which means all those narrative elements will be folded into familiar match types like team deathmatch and domination. While he declined to detail exactly which game types we can expect to find, he did confirm that there’s a defined, linear order to the missions which serves the broader narrative, and that’s your perspective on the events will change depending on which side you’re fighting for. In some respects it’s kind of like a more replayable story because of multiplayer, and that’s part  of what keeps it interesting. And every time you play it, you’re going to pick up on more of it.

Each mission is bookended by two small narrative sections: a prologue explaining the objective at the outset of the round, and a mad dash for the losing team’s extraction point at the conclusion. (The finale won’t affect the overall outcome, but it can net bonus experience points for those savvy enough to pick off or evade their opponents.) According to McCandlish, though, there’s plenty of immersive, in-game storytelling as well. Important NPC’s will regularly chatter with one another or even pop up picture in picture-style on your screen to provide tactical support. You’ll also interact with those allies directly on the battlefield, where spectacular setpiece moments promise to add that requisite touch of cinematic flair.

Most impressive, while matches will be limited to two teams of six — a deliberate sweet spot the team finally arrived at after hundreds of hours of playtesting, says Respawn community manager Abbie Heppe — each maps will also be populated with A.I. soldiers fighting for both sides. Radio chatter is nice and everything, but having more bodies in the fight should add a tangible sense of scale that might actually match the epic scope we’ve come to expect from single-player experiences. Even at the top level, the A.I. are always going o be providing this mix that has unpredictable results, and it keeps it interesting and exciting, says McCandlish. They can help or hinder depending on how you learn to interact with them.

That’s right, these A.I. combatants aren’t just for show. Having them around means you can rack up more kills with fewer deaths, which should not only feel empowering but will also put you in a Titan that much faster. That might sound almost patronizing to hardened shooter fans, but according to McCandlish, it won’t even be immediately apparent what you’re facing. Regardless, XP and score rewards are proportionate to the challenge level of whatever it is you’re fighting, so think of the A.I. the same way you would in a single-player game: yes, they basically exist to be killed, but they can definitely kill you too, and that only adds to the sweet, adrenaline-fueled intensity.

The approach is not only novel but an impressive technical feat. Unlike some launch titles, however, the team at Respawn insists that Titanfall isn’t some tech demo intended to showcase the power of the Xox One. We’re a company that’s going to chase the end-user experience, says software engineer Jon Slothy Shiring, so we’re not going to try to say. You should buy this game for technical reasons. The game is awesome on all fronts, and it’s really new and different gameplay. And i think that’swhat people want more than anything else: a game that’s fresh and different.

Mixing Science with fiction

The team at Respawn told us plenty about how they plan to include story elements into the experience but were reluctant to share any narrative details. We do know the game takes place on a war torn, dystopian planet where a makeshift militia is battling an oppressive interstellar corporation. The game’s take on sci-fi feels light and grounded (no crazy aliens here), but it’s still out there enough to justify a few fun focused design decisions. According to community manager Abbie Heppe, the nice things about science fiction is we have a little bit more freedom to do some kind of awesome fun stuff and take away some of those limitations rather than be constricted by them.

Silver Linings 

The team at Respawn is smart. Very smart. For example, check out what software engineer Jon Slothy Shiring had to say when we asked him about Xbox One’s cloud computing capabilities: The extra bandwidth is what let’s us bid a world with moving things, and the available CPU is what let’s us do things like A.I. it’s not just a bullet flying through the air and moving and causing network data, it’s an actual A.I. that’s making decisions and trying to shoot at things and looking around. For a more detail explanation of cloud technology, check out Shiring’s in-depth blog post here OXMcloud

This is where the Titans come in.
At the of every round, everyone spawns as a pilot and a timer begins to count down and each Titan is built. Every time you earn XP –whether you’re mowing down enemies or capturing a hardpoint — you lower your timer. And if you die, don’t worry: the timer won’t reset, meaning even newcomers who can’t seem to rack up any kills the old-fashioned way will have a chance to pilot a Titan. Once you bot is built, you can chose when and where to drop it, potentially crushing anyone underneath as it rockets down from the sky. Once it hits the turf, you have plenty of options. obviously you can immediately climb inside and start wasting enemies with it’s massive guns and helpful tracking systems, but you can also set it to guard a certain point on the map, or have it follow you like an automated attack dog.

The list of smaller tasks a Titan can perform is even longer and more impressive. Pilots can stop bullets using the telekinesis-esque Vortex Blocker, manually eject at the last moment if the mech takes too much damage, release electrified smoke to keep enemy pilots from jumping on board and sabotaging their ride, or ride on the backs of friendly Titans — and that’s just the stuff we know about so far. Early of the game have shown three different Titan models, but it’s extremely likely the final product will offer even more, and may even allow you to customize your mechs. There is a leveling and upgrade system, after all.

What’s perhaps most interesting about the Titans is the impact their presence will inevitably have on the pacing the strategy of the seemingly familiar FPS gameplay. While the maps promise to be large enough to accommodate these monstrous machines, it’ll still be pretty difficult to hide or take cover in one, especially since they can’t jump or crouch, only dash. In addition to allowing you you to learn new mechanics — i.e. how to pilot a mech in the middle of a chaotic firefight — Titans will also force you to (finally) rethink your entire approach to the moment to moment action.

Interestingly, the same could actually be said for the pilots. Though perhaps not as attention-grabbing as their larger counterparts, pilots possess their own unique skillset never before seen in a shooter of this type. Thanks to their rocket boosts, pilots can double-jump and wall run with incredible agility, picking up speed with every linked maneuver. Suddenly the Z-axis is a viable plane of mobility. According to McCandlish, a pilot could theoretically make it across an entire map without ever touching the ground, sort of like a super-charged, weapon-heavy Mirror’s Edge. If you thought online shooters were twitchy and fast-paced before, just wait.

It’s also important to note that pilots actually stand a chance against Titans thanks to a handful of tools like a cloaking device, special anti-Titan weapons that can be located within levels, and the ability to land on top of a Titan and basically rip out it’s wiring, a feat which will likely be easier than it sounds due to pilots speed and stealthiness. In essence, the Titan is not an instant win but rather just anther way to play, though this is course presented a few design challenges. Anything we put in has to work for both [pilots and Titans]. it takes a lot of tuning to make things not be too powerful for a pilot against when it was designed for a pilot against a giant robot, says McCandlish. In this case of the cloak, we were able to tune the visuals so that it wasn’t too effective for pilot-on-pilot but still work for pilot-on-Titan. That’s just one example, but we’ve gotta do that with everything.

The other major balancing issue was figuring out exactly how often you’d be able to call down your Titan. We had to find the balance between the Titan being disposable and the Titan being too rare, says McCandlish. Players tend to be a pilot about 75-80% of the time, but that makes those times when you’re a Titan extra special and highlights that period. Frankly, either one could have been it’s own game, but putting them together creates an explosion of new possibilities in a space that had previously become totally mired in me-too repetition.

In all these new gameplay opportunities sound a little overwhelming, just relax. We have total confidence that Respawn knows exactly what it’s doing. The game is still accessible to anybody that’s played Call of Duty or Battlefield or any of those games., reassures McCandlish. You’re still sprinting along and aiming down the sight and trying to shoot people, and that’s important for a new IP to give people that doorway into the game. But once you’re there and players start to evolve and take advantage of the wall-running or call down their Titans, than you realize, Oh, this is something different, this is something exciting, this is a new thing that i can get good at and tell my friends about.

If there is a demand i’ll upload the picture from the Titanfall article.

Titanfall releases on Xbox One, Xbox 360 and PC on March 11th.

Thank You for Reading
Marty M
Twitter@MartyMartina
Twitter@OujaStrike

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