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Does Titanfall Deserve Such a Ridiculous Amount of Attention?

What is it about Respawn's new Xbox One exclusive that has everyone so fascinated?
This article is over 10 years old and may contain outdated information

I just hopped over to N4G to check out the hottest trending games. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Titanfall is by far and away the hottest title.

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But… why?

I’m always interested in why certain games get more headlines and more general attention than others. Sometimes, it’s obvious, as is always the case with Call of Duty. I mean, any billion-dollar franchise will get plenty of attention, not to mention artificially inflated hype thanks to a gigantic amount of marketing. In some cases, however, the reason for a game’s interest is much more complex and interesting.

So, what is it about this promising Xbox One exclusive that seems to attract so many pairs of eyes?

Well, look who’s making it

I just mentioned Call of Duty and not ironically, Titanfall developer Respawn Entertainment has a couple of bosses who know a lot about Activision’s popular franchise. Jason West and Vince Zampella were former head honchos at Infinity Ward, the team that brought us the immense Modern Warfare series. The fallout between West/Zampella and Activision is well documented, and it’s no coincidence that Electronic Arts is publishing Titanfall. That’s Activision’s biggest competitor in the video game market, so clearly, Respawn is sticking it to their old publisher by going with EA.

Yeah, there’s a lot of bad blood between those two guys and Activision.

That’s mostly irrelevant here, though. What is relevant is the duo’s visibility in the gargantuan CoD market. Many of the CoD faithful know all about Zampella and West, and they’ve been psyched to hear about Respawn’s new project ever since the former IW executives founded it.

That’s one part of the equation.

A rare hot exclusive for the Xbox brand

Let’s face it, in terms of exclusive software, Xbox is not at the top of the heap. Nintendo has their legendary mascots, and Sony’s cutting-edge exclusives have often pushed the envelope in terms of technology and innovation. Perhaps this is subjective, but I’ll take UnchartedKillzoneGod of WarGran TurismoHeavy RainThe Last Of UsinFamous, and Ratchet & Clank over HaloForza and Gears of War any day of the week and twice on Sunday. Sony’s first-party studios (Naughty Dog, Sucker Punch, Ready at Dawn, etc.) are simply a cut above, in my estimation.

Therefore, the Xbox brand needs every hot new exclusive it can get. Titanfall definitely qualifies. It’s a way to compete with this year’s inFamous: Second SonThe Order: 1886, and Uncharted 4 (assuming it comes out in 2014) on PlayStation 4. Halo 5 will be massive, of course, but Microsoft needed another heavy-hitting exclusive in the first half of the year. And it’s a new IP and potentially a new franchise.

Don’t forget what the game IS, and what it’s capable of

People have been calling for something fresh and new in the world of first-person shooters. It’s an extraordinarily popular genre but even the FPS faithful have been showing signs of fatigue lately. It seems like the entire fanbase demands some form of innovation, and Titanfall could deliver exactly that. Many doubt they’ll see it from this year’s Call of Duty (even though new studio Sledgehammer Games could surprise us), and Halo 5 isn’t expected to deviate from a winning formula. Last year’s Killzone: Shadow Fall certainly didn’t give us anything new, either.

Therefore, it’s not anticipation for “another shooter;” it’s anticipation for a game that might not be “just another shooter.” That’s critical. If Respawn can breathe new life into a genre that’s starting to feel a tad stale, great.

Of course, it’s worth mentioning that the game isn’t far off. Undoubtedly, that’s another reason for all this talk.

It’s dangerous to have such lofty expectations…

Just be careful. I can’t think of a game that has received more attention over the past month or so. This inevitably translates to super high expectations, which means if the game scores below a 9.5, people might actually call it a disappointment. That’s what happens when any title receives astronomical heights. So, I say, try to remain realistic. I mean, Titanfall won’t be the greatest thing since sliced bread.

… will it?

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A gaming journalism veteran of 14 years, a confirmed gamer for over 30 years, and a lover of fine literature and ridiculously sweet desserts.