Tomorrow I will be publishing another installment of Late to the Party with my thoughts on Titanfall 2. Normally I reserve one paragraph my Late to the Party posts for background information on the game and my own history with it, but with Titanfall 2 I realized that I would need more room than normal to accomplish this, so I’ve dedicated today’s entire writing piece to it.
Developed by Respawn Entertainment, a studio largely comprised of developers who had previous worked on the Call of Duty franchise, the original Titanfall was first revealed to the world in 2013 at the Xbox E3 presentation and it immediately had my attention. For reference, I’ve embedded a video below of the reveal.
Wow. To this day that’s still one of the most memorable E3 reveals for me. Yes, the gameplay that was shown was carefully scripted, but it succeeded is showing to everyone what was so cool about Titanfall. It was futuristic shooter where you could wall-run and double jump, and on top of that you could summon giant robots out the sky and then pilot them. What’s not to like about that? I normally don’t get on the hype train for a game, but I was hyped for Titanfall… until later that day when it was officially confirmed that the game was multiplayer-only. Then I took a hard fall off the hype train. As someone who doesn’t care too much about multiplayer, the announcement that the game had no singleplayer campaign sucked nearly all of my interest out of Titanfall and removed it from my list of games to eventually play. As cool as it looked, Titanfall was going to pass me by.
Two years later Titanfall 2 was announced and while it would be multiplayer-focused it would also have a singleplayer campaign. Thus my interest in the series was reignited and Titanfall 2 got its place on my gaming to-do list. Earlier this year there was a sale on PSN in which Titanfall 2 was heavily discounted (to right around $5 if I remember right) and I decided the time was right to make the purchase. After that Titanfall 2 stayed in my PlayStation’s gaming library, patiently waiting for its turn. A little over two weeks ago that time finally came when I was nearly done with my writing piece on Rime and I was feeling the itch to play a first-person shooter. Titanfall 2 was the obvious choice and I slotted it to be the next game for Late to the Party, but before playing I would need to go to Youtube and Wikipedia to catch up on the original Titanfall’s story.
Titanfall is set in a distant future where mankind has mastered space travel and tanks have been replaced in warfare by large humanoid machines called Titans that are piloted by only the best soldiers. The events of Titanfall occur in a region of the galaxy called the Frontier. In this corner of space is a large cluster of stars with inhabitable worlds that was recently settled and things were going fine until the Interstellar Manufacturing Corporation, (IMC) a corporate colossus from the core systems closer to Earth, started ruthlessly exploiting planets across the Frontier for their natural resources. Settlers on these worlds weren’t happy about this, and when the IMC’s private army started killing people to protect the IMC’s operations an armed rebellion began brewing. Colonists from various worlds across the Frontier formed a rag-tag force called the Militia to fight back against the IMC and Titanfall’s story begins some time after hostilities have broken out. In the original Titanfall the story plays out through a series of multiplayer matches in which the narrative is happening in the background while you are competing against other players. You could play as either the Militia or the IMC and Titanfall begins with the Militia on the run from the IMC and critically short on fuel (the gameplay you saw in the E3 reveal is from the first multiplayer match of the game). Soon after this the Militia recruit a former IMC officer who knows how to surgically attack the IMC and over the course of many multiplayer matches the Militia slowly gain the advantage. The story culminates in a large battle on the planet Demeter that sees the IMC’s primary refueling facility destroyed. With the IMC’s endless supply of reinforcements from the core systems now delayed by years, the Militia has a fighting chance to rally their forces and liberate the Frontier.
The story of Titanfall isn’t that complex, but has an inherent problem in that it is told during multiplayer matches. If you were playing Titanfall’s story campaign you’d hear characters talking and see things going on in the game’s environment, however you probably wouldn’t be able to pay much attention to them because you’d be too busy trying to stay alive and win the match. Heck, I watched the story campaign on Youtube, so I wasn’t even playing the game myself, and even I had a little trouble trying to pay attention both to the story and the multiplayer game the person was playing. I could completely understand if you played all the way through the story campaign and only picked up half of the story, or less. The other major flaw in Titanfall’s storytelling is that the story unfolds the same way regardless of which teams wins each multiplayer match. The IMC team could completely crush the Militia in a match, but the story proceeds along with the Militia accomplishing whatever their objective was in the story. I know that this would have required months of additional work, but it would have been cool if the Titanfall story had branching paths depending on which team won the match.
After two hours on Youtube and Wikipedia, my online research was completed I felt ready to jump into Titanfall 2’s singleplayer campaign. Soon I would find out if a Titanfall singleplayer campaign was worth the wait. Check back tomorrow for my thoughts on it.