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Titanfall

Titanfall's Narrative Multiplayer Matters


The team that was originally behind Call of Duty? Check. Next-gen graphics and fluid multiplayer? Sold. Giant robots that rain down from the sky? No brainer. "Narrative multiplayer?" I wasn't sold, until I played Titanfall for myself.

Today at Gamescom 2013, I played two Titanfall matches that evolved very differently. The maps were the same, the staging was identical, but the feel of each was unique. In the first game, my team barely lost. In the second, we won by a landslide. Titanfall doesn't have multiplayer maps; it has story arcs that can be replayed over and over with different conclusions.

At the outset, we're shown a captured pilot from the opposite side of the war. It's our job to cover the extraction and hold off the opposing forces. My five human allies, along with a number of AI-controlled grunts (giving the battle a more frenetic, weighty atmosphere) begin our press forward to establish a foothold on the map.

Throughout the first match, the voiceovers offer pep talks, letting us know that we're holding them off, but still losing. We get updates on the prisoner transport's movements. Along the way, new moments in the pitched fight are introduced, as we're warned of an incoming ship and heavier forces. This coincides with more Titans joining the battle as the countdown "build timer" expires. When we lost, our superiors voiced their unhappiness about losing the city, but because it was so close, we managed to get the prisoner out of the city.



The second time through, my commanding officers were much more upbeat. We were trouncing the invading forces, giving the off-map AI team ample opportunity to move the prisoner without incident. The dialog had no impact on our chances in the battle, but it gives the combat a different flavor. Nothing was different about the map, but the narration and banter among multiple characters make it feel fresh.

Respawn confirms that there are different degrees of radio chatter depending on how close the score is and who is winning. Additionally, the mission "epilogue" that allows the losing team to earn an experience boost by safely arriving at the evacuation ship gives the proceedings a different capstone depending on whether you've won or lost.

As the loser, it's a mad dash to the rendezvous point. Death during the epilogue is permanent, and getting ambushed on a rooftop by aggressive victors is a likely scenario. On the winning team, it's easy to want to pick off the few remaining foes, stomp them in your Titan, or simply cloak, and sneak up for melee kill while they are anxiously awaiting a ride home.

"Narrative multiplayer" might seem like a buzz phrase, but it has a meaningful impact on how I perceive the action. Respawn's biggest challenge now is making sure the banter stays fresh, because gamers are going to be replaying these scenarios hundreds of times.

Titanfall is out in Spring 2014 for Xbox One, Xbox 360, and PC.

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Comments
  • Having seen how fluid the multiplayer is this looks like a solid buy for me. But I'm saving for a PS4 so hopefully my PC still has a few years in it and I don't need to upgrade to play.
  • I cannot wait for this. It's the only exciting next-gen title I've seen so far.
  • I have a feeling this will get old really fast. How many sets of dialogue could they possibly have for each multiplayer match?
  • After reading this, I am more confident in Titanfall and just might play it; once I get Xbox One after I get PS4 that is.
  • This seems like a very interesting game and one that I will enjoy, what with the mechs, parkour, and what are sure to be frantic battles.
  • GOOD GOD ALMIGHTY I WANT THIS GAME, BUT WANT A PS4 EVEN MORE!!!! ugghhhhhhhhh and I know my pc will not run it in its current state because i dont have win 7 or 8. and i need a processor and gpu upgrade but not by that much *facepalm*

  • Pre-order: check, console to play it on: check, group of friends to make this an even better gaming experience:......work in progress.
  • As much as I want to believe you Mike, I'm sure different dialogue doesn't make each game feel fresh once you've completed your hundredth game. Do you think what you've played is good enough to keep games fresh to the thousands of people who play CoD?

    Plus, I'm not sure what's different from other games that do something similar. From what you said, TF2 does this "different diologue" thing too.
  • Staff
    Certainly sounds like a smart approach for a multiplayer-only game. I hope the narrative differences include more than just radio chatter.
  • Titanfall is the one bar to making my decision between PS4 and Xbox One easy - I definitely prefer what I've seen in Sony's console, but this game looks absurdly fun.
  • The narrative mulitplayer sounds intriguing enough, but I really hope it has a straight up multiplayer mode as well without the AI players.

  • This game looks cool as hell. I can't wait to get into my first Titan.

  • eh, i think this game is getting WAY overhyped, all i see is COD with mechs, not that it doesn't look good. all respect to the Devs, just don't understand why everyone's going apesh*t over it
  • That...that was amazing. I'm so excited for this game.

  • I would be so bad at this game...
  • That looks amazing.  Possibly the best looking MP game I have seen IMO.

  • I can't wait to Pre-Order this! I really hope they give it a specific release date soon.
  • Destiny and this game look different enough to both be amazing.

    I think CoD is gonna have to step its game up next gen.

  • Different scenarios, with voice over could really show off cloud computing. It can't be a large amount of Data... A constant stream of small, but new and tangible content. The possibilities are incredible.
  • Interesting. I may well end up checking this out.

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