Titanfall 2 is a game that was a highly anticipated sequel for many gamers. With the first game, it felt truly innovative. The large scale battles with titans, your own army dropping in to add depth to the fight and, to me which is most important of all, the high speeds in which a player can move throughout these maps.
With the first technical test, I did my best to remember that the purpose was not to participate in an alpha or beta, but to help Respawn Entertainment to find as many server side issues as possible. I even took to the unpopular defense via Twitter to try and help my friends remember that this is a server test not a gameplay test. Despite all of this, we as gamers cannot help but notice issues, especially if we had hands on experience with the entry title and felt that it was literally market changing. It’s hard to argue against games like Titanfall and Destiny had in a shooter PvP aspect on other franchises such as Call of Duty. In some ways, even Halo took notice to the server side processing abilities that Titanfall introduced with their introduction of Warzone.
So after all of this, why would I have an issue with Titanfall 2 and the direction that the developers have decided to take?
In an interview with Shack News Titanfall 2 director gave some tidbits about the changes and the new direction that they wanted to implement with the sequel.
“After the original game, we sat down and looked at it objectively,” he said. “We got a lot of feedback from the outside, from fans, from research saying, “Hey, there’s not enough. There’s not enough content. We want more content.” Internally, we played the game and came out of the play session thinking, “That was super exhausting. That was super chaotic.” Why is that? We struggled with trying to answer what it was.
“What it came down to was, it was difficult for players to have a predictably unpredictable kind of experience. It was difficult for players to say, “If I die here in this game mode, how do I get better?” Do I zig? Do I zag? What should I have done differently? It was hard for Titanfall players to answer that through their experience. So we went back to the drawing board so we could fix this.
“We started by addressing the fact that you move so fast. You can’t shoot out of the air so easily. So we slowed things down just a touch. Then also thinking more in terms of having players more proactive decisions, so instead of reacting to everything, they’re thinking more like, “This match and this mode, this map, etc.” They go, what things in the loadout menu will best help me fulfill that purpose. There’s a much greater sense of purpose for players, so now they are thinking in terms of planning ahead, in terms of “I want to do this. This is my goal, this is my identity of how I am as a player.” There’s a huge difference, because all the different modes now kind of necessitate the player proactively thinking about what they want to do.”
First, let me start by saying, I applaud Respawn Entertainment and it’s developers that have been hard at work developing the game and listening to community feedback. Even within the technical test that was purposed to server focus, the developers adjusted key things to help improve the games entertainment factors. They did not have to do this at all, but they did. It is also good that the developer is looking at it’s previous game to find issues that members of the community had and hoping to adjust those issues for a better overall experience.
Secondly, before I can even start my rant about the issue I take to the interview, Respawn is already implementing changes to help soothe my worries about what the game might become. With the upcoming test this weekend, Respawn will be increasing air and wall speed to be faster with your pilots mobility.
However, adjusting to slow down the pilot speed is not an adjustment that should be made.
One of the chief complaints that was that the maps itself did not have that Titanfall feel. While I instantly noticed a slowdown of the pilot, I still argued that you could still parkour with the obstacles that were given. This to me is not where the issue persists, but in the fact that the adjustment of the game speed makes the ability to zoom through the map to get to where you want to be. Many of the maps in Titanfall are arguably as large as many maps of the Battlefield franchise. Both games are focused on large scale battles that include the soldiers and machinery.
For a lot of veteran Titanfall players, it may have taken some time to adjust to the speed to perfect the timing needed to traverse the terrain as before. What seemingly takes the amount of time to clamber up to a rooftop in Titanfall 2, feels relatively the same amount of time that you would be moving to your next rooftop in the first game. That’s not good. I get that games developer wants to appeal to a broader market, but scaling back what made the franchise unique in the first place for the sakes of competitive edge is not the route to go. The speed adds to the element of risk and assessment of whether to run or whether to gun. It adds an increased chance of an element of surprise and decreases the chance of someone wanting to camp which is so toxic in literally almost every first person shooter on the market.
As a fan of the series who has played many hours in the first game from learning to perfect my parkour, to becoming a self-proclaimed expert on how to down a Titan without having one myself, to the boxing matches I would partake with my ogre build versus the next Titan who wanted some, I find it hard to sympathize with the community complaint. With a lot of available tools for gamers to learn to increase their skills at a shooter that requires more skills than twitch shooting, adjusting the speed should not even be considered. In the first game, if I wanted to learn a map, or just learn how I could be better at parkour, I looked to Twitch and YouTube. Hell, it was this toolset that helped me learn some new secrets to each map. Maybe I am cold-hearted in the mindset of thinking that a player should move on to a different game if they cannot hang with the speed that made Titanfall, well, Titanfall.
I feel that Respawn has done a good job with adjusting the game to how the community wants Titanfall 2 to become. With the next technical test launching Friday for the rest of the weekend, they’ve already begun sharing changes that were being implemented such as a passive Titan-timer, which was part of the original game. I do feel that they do have to make changes and occasional sacrifices in order to make each game they develop feel unique in the series, but also still part of the series as well. If I were to make a plea to Respawn, it would be to not slow down our speed. Don’t take away one of the key elements to the game that made the first one so unique. Don’t take away one of the elements that literally every shooter is looking to add to their game to become a cookie cutter of YOU.
There still is time as the game is not releasing until late October. Whether or not they will have more tests or an open alpha or beta is not known either, but there is a chance. There is a chance that Respawn hears my plea, and many others, and considers it towards their final product. Here is to that hope.