The Titanfall Expedition downloadable content is aimed at satisfying gamers who have blazed through Titanfall faster than expected, according to an interview with the boss of developer Respawn Entertainment.
Titanfall — an exclusive sci-fi shooter for the Xbox One, Xbox 360, and the PC — has its first DLC set for May, less than three months after it debuted on the Xbox One on March 11. The $10 map pack will be a welcome addition for those who can’t get enough of it.
Vince Zampella, the cofounder of Respawn and the father of Call of Duty, said in an exclusive interview with GamesBeat that Respawn expects to submit the DLC code to Microsoft on Friday.
“There are a couple of new things,” he said, referring to how players can use their jet-enabled suits to run on walls. “You can wall-run on the trees. In particular, you can wall-run around the tree and choose the direction to jump off. You can run around the tree and then jump. It’s one of those things we realized was pretty cool.”
Titanfall was the best-selling game for the month of March in the U.S., according the market researcher NPD. Publisher Electronic Arts hasn’t announced official sales yet, but indications are that they are healthy.
“It’s gratifying,” Zampella said. “It’s a new studio with its own challenges, as you’ve read about. We were on a new platform. A new console. There wasn’t a lot of visibility. We had some trepidation. [Titanfall] was unique, and it played to our strengths. But we didn’t know if people would buy into our vision.”
Respawn went through a lot of tribulations, including a split between its founders and a haunting legal battle. Respawn got its first validation on its path at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) conference in July. But it was a long way from being done.
“Coming out of E3, we felt good,” he said. “We were pushing for it to be a major platform title. But wanting it and having it be that way aren’t guaranteed.”
Zampella was surprised at how fast gamers played through the multiplayer content and leveled up past 50 tiers.
“As soon as we can, we will add new modes,” he said. “It won’t make the initial DLC pack. The new maps will hold people off a little bit. We wanted to strike a balance of having people get through the content easily and also have enough content to play with. People burned through it pretty fast.”
As for the game modes that didn’t make the new DLC, he said, “That’s the way game development is. You have 1,000 ideas. You can’t do them all. You pick the ones that have the most impact. Some of it won’t see the light of day or will wind up in a sequel.”
Respawn hasn’t expanded much from its core of around 75 people.
“As soon as we finished, it wasn’t like we took time off,” he said. “It was, let’s move into the DLC. It’s an aggressive schedule, and people are starting to feel the pain a little bit. We may have to slow down a little.”
The new maps include War Games, a level that is set inside a simulator for military training. The place is like an airbase, with working repair robots and a tank-repair garage. The Expedition takes place on an uncharted world where the corporate IMC faction is building a new base, and its rival Militia try to take it down.
As for the fate of the consoles and the state of the game industry, Zampella said, “The new consoles are out, and I don’t think anyone fully understands what their long-term potential is. Some people say the PC is going to take over, but I don’t think that is the case.”
As for a sequel or other new games, Zampella said, “As to that, we literally just started this week. Do we do something different? Do we do a sequel? We had to see how well people liked the game. So now we can have conversations that are meaningful. Some people loved the campaign. Some people said they were so busy with the gameplay that it was hard to take in the campaign stuff. It’s like, ‘I want to hear more about it, but I am busy killing my buddies.’ We don’t have an answer now.”
Zampella said his son regularly kicks his ass in Titanfall. Respawn tried very hard to make Titanfall more accessible so that older players could get kills against nonplayer characters or stay alive on the battlefield longer by getting into Titans.
“It is encouraging to hear people say, ‘I don’t really play shooters, but I am into this one,” he said.