by Dave Thier, Contributor
Microsoft it would seem, is all in on Titanfall. Respawn entertainment’s upcoming mech-shooter is, arguably, the centerpiece of the Xbox One’s first few months, and the company is making sure that the console is good and ready for it when it arrives. We’re meant to be getting a software update shortly before launch that will address issues surrounding online multiplayer, and according to The Verge, Microsoft even worked with Respawn to tweak how the controller operates.
“It’s just fixing the controller input, really,” Lead designer Justin Hendry told The Verge. “It wasn’t really where we felt it should be; it was a little overly twitchy with the current controls. Now it’s fixed. We’re happy with it.”
The fix will make the outer limits of the analog sticks more sensitive.
Titanfall enters beta on Friday, and from everything I’ve seen, we have reason to be optimistic. The game is fast, frenetic and genuinely new feeling. It borrows influence not just from the multiplayer shooters that dominated last generation, but also from MOBA’s like League of Legends, and even collectible trading card games. Matches have scope and progression, something that was sorely lacking in the lightning-quick death and respawn cycles that characterize games like Call of Duty. The only thing that gives me pause is the total lack of a single-player mode. While players overwhelmingly spend their time on multiplayer with games like this, a story mode still serves to ground the fiction in which the game takes place. Witness Call of Duty, which dominated the shooter landscape last generation by updating little more than the story mode in each iteration.
One thing is for certain — the Titanfall launch must be perfect. As ED Kain notes, there is very little room for error for either the Xbox One or publisher EA. The latter company saw catastrophic launches for both SimCity and Battlefield 4, and it needs to prove to the gaming public that it can make a title that actually works as intended. As far as the Xbox One goes, Titanfall is meant to show off the company’s extensive cloud services, so any launch hiccups would undermine some of the console’s fairly basic selling points. The console has a $700 million server farm in Iowa dubbed “Project Mountain” in Iowa backing it up, so here’s hoping that can keep the launch stable.
Titanfall marks the first major next-gen release outside of launch. Xbox One is trailing PS4 in total sales, so it will be interesting to see if this gamble can galvanize sales and re-establish Xbox as a preeminent shooter brand.