Developed by much of the same motley crew that worked hammer and tongs on the revolutionary Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, the impending release of Titanfall is about as big as they come.
Since the E3 reveal and demo station playthroughs, the outpouring of love for Respawn Entertainment’s brand of fine-tuned, slick mechanics and rapid-paced gameplay has been nearly unanimous. Taking the tired gameplay of the Call of Duty franchise and injecting it with a renewed sense of vigour (and ruddy great mechs), Titanfall’s brand of parkour-based gameplay could be the breakthrough hit of 2014...
Scheduled for release on March 11, 2014, Titanfall will be an online-only FPS in which players battle across war-torn planets as mechanoid Titans and their pilots, in battles between the Militia and the Interstellar Manufacturing Corporation (IMC).
It was revealed that Titanfall will allow a maximum of 6v6 humans in any one match, with an accompaniment of NPCs included to introduce plot elements to the matches, as well as boosting the player count. The NPC activity is being handled via Microsoft’s cloud computing services, to take the bulk of the work off of PCs and Xboxes.
Respawn have said they are trying to introduce scale, verticality and story to multiplayer FPS gaming, with Titanfall’s slick controls allowing parkour-based gameplay elements as pilots can run along walls and environments, as well as hijacking the titular Titans. Players can transition seamlessly from pelting headlong down a bullet-riddled alleyways to leaping into a wall run, before clambering atop a building. Clambering aboard an enemy Titan can allow you to take it for yourself, in a mood dubbed as ‘rodeoing’.
When players start the game a countdown ensues for every individual player until they gain access to their Titan, with the wait being reduced for killing opposition players. Once called in via orbital drop, both the Titan and its occupant are invincible for 30 seconds thanks to a force field. Similar to the pilots controls, the Titans can also run along walls and chain together double jumps.
These hulking great monstrosities can deal out some serious destruction, with weapons capable of raining down hellfury on large chunks of the map. Each Titan comes with unique abilities and skills, such as the vortex blocker, which allows the player to absorb enemy gunfire and return it back at them. Should the Titan take too much damage the pilot can eject, leaving his Titan vulnerable to being destroyed or hijacked.
Titans are capable of drastically affecting the outcome of matches, but are only step short of having a massive neon sign above their screaming ‘Target’. Should you not fancy the risk you can have your Titan set to follow mode, allowing it to tag along as your sidekick. Think it like going down the pub with Mike Tyson.
At the end of a round the losing team must race to a drop-ship evacuation, while the winning team gives chase.
So far there have been three confirmed Titan classes:
Stryder - The Stryder is the nimblest of the bunch, packing an incredible boost ability that makes it a lot more difficult to hit. That’s good news for its pilots, as its weak armour means in a straight up firefight that this one looks like it’s going down.
Atlas - A versatile Titan, the Atlas is a mech that excels in areas where others fall short. Providing good defence, advanced weaponry, and increased mobility over the hulking Ogre is jack-of-all-trades.
Ogre - The Ogre is the heaviest known Titan, sporting heavier armour let down by slower movement. It’s the juggernaut of the Titanfall world, particularly useful for the defensively minded player.
Stryder, Atlas & Ogre Titans
System requirements are currently unknown for Titanfall but we do know that it’s running on Valve’s Source engine. This, along with its release on Xbox 360, suggests that it should be extremely scalable to suit different levels of PCs. The use of the Source engine ensures network play is strongly supported, as well as compatibility with multi-core setups, low latency controls, and optimisation for x86 platforms.
Thanks to the use of the Source engine we are expecting Titanfall system requirements to be fairly undemanding, unless you’re pushing for those higher-tier settings. It remains to be seen how much of the AI-grunt will be processed through Microsoft’s cloud service though, as the fights including NPCs can stretch beyond fifty characters at any one time.
We'll of course bring you the full Titanfall system requirements as soon as we hear them.