Titanfall: Saviour of the FPS genre?

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Most shooters aren’t doing anything new. Enter Titanfall.

There’s no denying that current FPSs have become stale. It’s been obvious for a while that the genre is in desperate need of a reboot. They’ve all become the same bloated military shooters singing from the same hymn sheet and playing out in a predicable way. There’s no innovation. Very few developers are willing to take a risk by thinking outside of the box and changing the tired formula.

For the past five years Call of Duty, Halo and Killzone have had an unbreakable choke hold over our consoles. That’s not to say they’re bad games because they’re not, but their popularity is responsible for this trend of uninspired duplicates.

In a previous article I voiced my concerns that despite being fundamental to the success of the gaming industry, FPSs were finally nearing death because no one was willing to take a gamble. Sure, there are single and multiplayer games like Far Cry 3, Dishonoured and Planetside 2 which have pushed the boat out, but sadly many developers are still intent on reinventing COD.

I held that dismayed opinion up until E3 in June when one game gave me hope and rekindled my curiosity in this tiresome genre. Titanfall burst onto the scene and has punted COD: Ghosts and Battlefield 4 out of the spotlight. Why? Because it appears willing to rip up the rule book and inject some much needed variety into its gameplay. Videos and first hand impressions suggest it’s exciting, beautiful and fun.

Titanfall is the brain child of former Call of Duty co-founders Jason West and Vince Zampella. The game breaks away from standard corridor shooters by thrusting players in huge expansive maps and allowing them to battle either in gargantuan mech suits or as their parkouring, jetpacking ‘pilots’. If the choice is between awesome power and unprecedented mobility, then you can’t really go wrong.

The game itself will be multiplayer only but Respawn have found a way to tie the plot to the competition via scripted events. For example the ‘epilogue’ of each match plays like a bonus round where the defeated team has to evacuate the map whilst being hunted down by the victors. Escaping will grant a points bonanza and presumably the chance to save face.

While the footage we’ve been presented with thus far has mostly been scripted, Titanfall has already drummed enough interest and excitement to force its next gen competitors like COD: Ghosts and Battlefield 4 to consider ducking for cover. The cloud computing touted by Microsoft will supposedly make the online experience as fluid and persistent as possible. The hype has led to some very high expectations, and it will be fascinating to see how the next generation fares with both its soul and tech on display.

Images: Respawn Entertainment

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