Titanfall 2 is a relatively new addition to the first-person shooter genre, one receiving critical acclaim across the board. Though its financial success may have been hindered by its close release date with Battlefield 1, EA claims it plans to not only back the sci-fi mech shooter, but to grow it into a powerful franchise.
Electronic Arts has always been known for its deep pockets. The massive developer, marketer, publisher, and distributor has used the last few years to help reshape the FPS landscape, a genre dominated by Call of Duty. It was only a matter of time before its massive success attracted the attention of EA’s team, which not only made changes in their long running Battlefield games, but also searched for new intellectual properties altogether. This meant acquiring talent that could shift the market in favor of their content, and in early 2010, EA got its wish.
Publishing giant Activision had just released its hit Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 in Nov. 2009. Developed by Infinity Ward, the game grossed over $1 billion in sales by Jan. 2010. Things seemed to be on the up and up for creative leads Jason West and Vince Zampella. However, in March of 2010, the duo was fired from Infinity Ward by publisher Activision for meeting with EA about creating a new game studio. For EA’s age-old enemy, it wasn’t about insult, but rather the impressive content the two could produce.
Their termination and an eventual lawsuit with their former executives at Activision ended in an unknown settlement, and the two soon after created Respawn Entertainment with the help of EA’s Partners Program. Call of Duty had already become a staple of not only first-person shooters, but video games in general. After the lawsuit, Sledgehammer Games picked up the slack for Modern Warfare 3 and money continued to pour in as fans hungered for new iterations of the long running franchise.
Meanwhile, with the team in place, EA began to pump funds into their latest studio. The creative minds behind Call of Duty’s most critically acclaimed titles flourished under the new publisher, and in 2011 they began work on their first title, Titanfall.
Titanfall’s first installment received generally positive sentiment from game critics, but faded away faster than desired. The game received some negative press over its lack of a single-player campaign. However, the relative absence of multiplayer content compared to other triple A shooters would eventually become a leading cause of the game’s dwindling market performance.
Respawn learned from these shortcomings and released the sequel Oct. 28, 2016. The team behind the game added a well-developed single player campaign that attracted those spurned by the first game’s campaign absence. This story does well to not only expand the Titanfall universe, but also introduce many of the game’s new mechanics.
Satisfying players’ thirsts for narrative wasn’t the only thing on the agenda for the futuristic shooter. Multiplayer improvements have been key to the game’s success. They expanded the multiplayer progression lacking in the first game, and varied the uses titans have on the battlefield. Changes went even further than strictly gameplay, and Respawn set to address matchmaking issues by implementing the Network system. This system allows for players to join communities of individuals they like to be teamed up with, and the population of some of these networks reaches into the thousands.
Through all of these positive changes, the new game still faces a steep challenge of consumer interest. Battling against the biggest shooters of the year, Titanfall 2 sold only adequately, even though the game was received as a critical success. But, unlike with other titles, that doesn’t ring a death toll for Titanfall. With EA’s monetary support, Respawn can continue to learn, develop, and create.
There is no doubting when a multiplayer formula works. It sticks out in many players’ minds, and that is largely the fault of so many failed games. When it comes to delivering what they promise, the folks behind the first two Modern Warfare games know how to perform. With the help of publishing giant EA, the FPS landscape is getting ready for a new franchise addition. Titanfall may not be an annual release, but that hasn’t stopped many from eagerly anticipating what this duo has in store for their next project.