Respawn Sticking to What They Know With Titanfall

How do you follow a series that has grossed over a billion dollars worldwide? Keep the same format, add some rejuvenated mechanics, and you get Respawn's upcoming Titanfall.

How do you follow a series that has grossed over a billion dollars worldwide? Keep the same format, add some rejuvenated mechanics, and you get Respawn's upcoming Titanfall.
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Have you guys ever heard of a little game franchise called Call of Duty? Maybe? Possibly?Okay, let’s be real: if you haven’t heard of CoD, heck, if you haven’t played it then you, my friend, have been living under a rock for the past ten years.

Over the years, Call of Duty has slowly developed into the premiere FPS franchise in the business, garnering gamer support and dedicated fans since 2003. There are professional tournaments for people who competitively play online; there are people who have CoD-inspired tattoos; there have been talks of a Call of Duty cereal! Okay, that last part’s a little white lie. But you get the point.

So when you’re the creators of a franchise that has become ingrained in the American psyche so profoundly, what do you do after you’re done with the franchise?

Apparently, you form a new game development company and start-over.

“When you can do anything, what do you do?”

The above words came straight from the mouth of one of the masterminds behind the CoD franchise, Vince Zampella. After being dishonorably discharged from his work at Infinity Ward (a little military humor there, for you COD fans), Zampella and his partner-in-crime, Jason West, struck it out on their own and formed the promising new game developer Respawn Entertainment. 

Once the startup was on its feet and ready to make some games, however, Zampella and West were a little unsure as to where to focus their game making prowess. Though they fleetingly considered going the way of studios like Rovio and Supercell and cashing in on the burgeoning mobile gaming market, they ultimately decided against it. “It’s something you look at – obviously a lot of games are going that way,” Zampella said in a recent interview with GameInformer magazine. “I think there is some truth to it being the future, but I don’t think it’s the only future.”

Those are some wise words from a clearly qualified titan of the industry, folks.

But even after deciding to stay with consoles, Respawn was still unsure what kind of game they wanted to make. 

“When you can do anything, what do you do?” Zampella asks. “Our team grew pretty fast, so we had a lot of people with a lot of ideas, and they all wanted their idea to be number one. So we had to figure out how do you focus that down and keep everybody happy. It was a pretty tough process.”

Ultimately, the answer was right in front of them the whole time: make another FPS, of course. As Zampella decisively stated in his interview with GameInformer, “Doing a racing game or something we’re not familiar with wasn’t the smart thing to do…[making an FPS] is something that’s in our wheelhouse that we can innovate…and expand from there.” It might not be a super “gutsy” decision, but as the old adage states, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” I mean, these guys were the driving force behind one of the most successful series of the past decade, so what’s to stop them doing the same with their upcoming release, Titanfall? They sure caused a whole lot ruckus about it at E3 this year, in case you weren’t already aware.

A breath of fresh air? Or do these guys need a mint?

What do you guys think of Respawn’s decision to stay in their comfort zone with Titanfall? I think we can all agree that their will undoubtedly be some innovations here, but are you okay with them sticking with an FPS format? Or would you have rather seen these two clearly creative, innovative developers boldly step out from the shadow of their previous works?

 

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