Despite it taking place entirely in multiplayer, Respawn Entertainment's newly announced first-person shooter Titanfall is taking a page from single-player campaigns by using a cinematic style to structure its multiplayer missions, game director Steve Fukuda told Polygon.
"Cinematics are normally expected from single-player games," he said, "but here we've fused it within a multiplayer context."
Fukuda presented the game's control and assault mode, with teams of soldiers (referred to as "pilots" in the game) fighting to capture three hardpoints in a wasteland of abandoned buildings, while unleashing pilotable Titan mechs that are slowly built throughout combat as indicated by a 60-second spawn timer. Players can hop into these mechs to hold hardpoints or unleash tougher tank-styled abilities, then abandon the mechs by ejecting themselves into the air.
The result is an experiment in scale. "It's a battle of small scale versus large scale," says Fukuda, "a battle of pilots against pilots against Titans." But it's the appearance of a short introductory cinematic and a post-mission epilogue, the latter doubling as an extended mission itself, that Fukuda says blurs the line between how multiplayer is traditionally structured and the structure of single-player campaigns.
Titanfall uses framing devices in its multiplayer missions to introduce the mission at hand, and then change it altogether. The mission shown during today's E3 event begins in a helicopter hovering above a cement-grey, abandoned complex of buildings and dusty, dirt paths, where they are briefly introduced to fellow pilots — and their mission — before dropping to the ground via zip rope.
It's a variation on a familiar theme; however, after each hard point is successfully captured, the game moves to an epilogue which shifts your focus from ground battles to the numerous drop ships in the air. All players are tasked with reaching a drop ship within a time limit, shooting through enemies that pilot their own mech Titans, in an attempt to reach the ship before its take-off.
As we saw in today's Titanfall demo, this epilogue can be particularly tricky, with the pilot reaching his drop ship just as it lifted from the ground. You really don't want to get left behind.
Titanfall is scheduled to launch in spring 2014 for Xbox 360, Xbox One and Windows PC.