More Titanfall Possible, But Fan Support Necessary
Respawn Entertainment’s debut title, Titanfall, has been an unmitigated success on the Xbox One and PC, with overwhelmingly positive reviews and the top spot on NPD Group’s March sales chart. Amid rumors of a sequel, Eurogamer’s Wesley Yin-Poole spoke with EA head Andrew Wilson and Respawn executive Vince Zampella about the future of the franchise.
When asked about a potential sequel, Wilson stopped short of refuting the rumors, but stated, "We have nothing to announce at this particular point in time.” He added, "We have announced that we have extended our relationship with Respawn. I'm very happy about that. Vince and the team there are amazing. We look forward to doing stuff with them for a long time to come. But right now we're focused on the current Titanfall property." Zampella’s response was similar; "Don't know yet,” but he did reveal that the developer’s next project will be decided next week, and that the company would like to work on more Titanfall titles, stating, "The Titanfall universe is rich for exploration. I definitely wouldn't discount it."
While NPD’s numbers mark Titanfall as a hit, Microsoft’s unwillingness to release sales figures for the game has made some wonder if it met internal expectations. Wilson’s response to this was clear and unambiguous; "Yeah! Our expectations were high and it beat them." He went on to call Titanfall “another great IP in our industry in the future,” and touted the scheduling of the game’s release date as a key factor in its success; "The timing of the game was really good. You'd played through the early launch set of titles. So it came at exactly the right time for me as a gamer. It was super fun. It was super innovative in terms of how you'd played it.”
Months after launch, Titanfall’s community is still strong on the Xbox One. On PC, however, online play has dropped sharply, prompting Zampella and Respawn to take a look at what isn’t working. Zampella stated, “We're looking at that. What are the reasons? Is it something we're doing wrong? Is it the matchmaking? So we'll pay attention to that and figure out what that is. We want to see it go up."
Titanfall will soon see a free update that adds two new game modes along with various customization and user interface improvements and tweaks to matchmaking. Respawn is hopeful that the update will help drive more players to the PC version. Once the update is released, Respawn will continue to tweak the balancing of the game, but will also take a break from further intensive development; "We're going to try to balance after this one," said Zampella. "There was a lot of stuff we felt we really needed to get there as soon as possible. After this goes we'll try to slow down. There are some people who are reaching the burnout point."
As for future development of Titanfall, Zampella says that it depends on the community. "If there are people there supporting it you can justify putting people and resources on it. If there's not that many people, or the engagement goes down, there's a point where those resources are better spent on whatever our next game would be and making that game better. I hope it lasts a really long time and we can do more stuff."