Titanfall: Why It Doesn't Have Single-Player

By Pete Haas 1 year ago discussion comments
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Titanfall is the first game from Respawn Entertainment, a studio founded by former Infinity Ward employees. As a result, it's going to be compared to Infinity Ward's Call of Duty franchise. However, Titanfall varies from COD in one major way: it doesn't have a single-player campaign.

Respawn co-founder Vince Zampella explained to GI.biz that developing a campaign for Titanfall wouldn't make any sense. The studio, currently employing about 60 developers, simply didn't have the time or manpower to do it.

"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," said Zampella. "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."

"Really, 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."

It's tough to argue with his logic. I've always had a distaste for single-player games that tried to shoehorn multiplayer into the package (e.g. Tomb Raider, BioShock 2). Multiplayer games with single-player campaigns tacked on to make them seem more "complete" aren't much better. I'm still wondering why DICE keeps making campaigns for Battlefield. A forced game mode doesn't benefit anyone.

That's not to say that games need to be single-player-only or multiplayer-only. Zampella brings up Assassin's Creed as an example of a franchise that does solo and online play successfully. I've been less than impressed with AC's single-player experiences as of late but I agree that the campaign and multiplayer complement each other well. They each deliver the core essence of the series - stealth, parkour, exploration - but do it in very different ways.

Titanfall is a sci-fi shooter in which players battle on foot or in mechs called "Titans." Though there's no campaign, Respawn promises that some plot will be conveyed during online play. The game will arrive in Spring 2014 on Xbox 360, Xbox One and PC.


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