Titanfall developer Respawn states that the game was “tough to market”

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By Teo Borconi – 13th January 2014
Titanfall developer Respawn states that the game was “tough to market”

The recent announcement that Titanfall would only support a total of 12 players in its core multiplayer mode created a community backlash so serious, that Respawn has been forced to actively respond to player inquires and shed some light on the design process. Last week, Respawn Entertainment officials explained that even though the player count might seem low, Mechs and complex AI’s will contribute to the experience, resulting in a combined unit count of 48 units in each game. While players were not thrilled by the idea of playing online alongside bots, Respawn assured us that they are not conventional bots and they have an important role to play next to players.

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More clarification followed today, and we’re finally seeing why Respawn decided to develop Titanfall without a singleplayer mode. First, it seems that a limited amount of resources (and by resources, we mean time, manpower and of course, money) was behind this decision. We can’t really blame Respawn for this take. After all, developing a complex singleplayer game costs enormous amounts of money. Voice-actors and cut-scenes don’t come cheap, after all. And the investment might not have made sense for a project that is aimed on a the multiplayer factor and competitive gameplay.

Vince Zampella, co-founder of Respawn Entertainment, explained this in detail last week:

“We make these single-player missions that take up all the focus of the studio, that take a huge team six months to make, and players run through it in 8 minutes. And how many people finish the single-player game? It’s a small percentage. It’s like, everyone plays through the first level, but 5 percent of people finish the game.┬áReally, you split the team. They’re two different games. They’re balanced differently, they’re scoped differently. But people spend hundreds of hours in the multiplayer experience versus ‘as little time as possible rushing to the end in single-player. So why do all the resources go there? To us it made sense to put it here. Now everybody sees all those resources, and multiplayer is better. For us it made sense.”

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But, going multiplayer only brought on other challenges, which Titanfall producer Drew McCoy explained today on NeoGAF. It seems that marketing a game with no singleplayer is a lot more difficult.

“Its actually been really tough trying to accurately market Titanfall. If you look at what we’ve done, its a lot different than what most FPS games do. Without a bunch of highly scripted SP moments to recam from different angles, the usual “movie like” trailer is just about right out. Instead, we’ve decided to show unedited gameplay segments that last 3-5 minutes (so far – more footage coming, of course!) to show the “flow” of the game. Starting as a Pilot, taking on AI and other player Pilots, wall running around a Titan, earning your Titan, climbing in, battling other Titans while stomping on humans, ejecting, etc. There’s a huge amount of gameplay mechanics available at any one time, and encompassing them in a few minutes is actually quite hard to do.┬áIts also why we took an extremely early pre-alpha build of the game to events like Gamescom, PAX, etc. to let normal dudes hands-on time with the game. There’s no amount of polished marketing that can replace playing the actual game.”

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Titanfall will still have a story thread, but that story thread will only be accessible through online play. Multiplayer is the new singleplayer for Respawn, and Titanfall’s narrative will only be available as such. In any case, it’s no doubt that the guys at Respawn did a great job with the marketing, singleplayer or not. Undeniably, the game has been among the top games that both critics and gamers are looking forward to this year. With just two months left until release (11th of March in the US and the 13th of March in Europe), we’re anxious to try out the game ourselves!