Titanfall developers Respawn Entertainment have released job descriptions for their upcoming titles – not just a sequel to Titanfall, but a new IP in a different genre this team has ever attempted.
Titanfall is a game that exists in the most interesting of places. On one hand, it received a near unanimously brilliant reception upon release from pretty much every critical outlet imaginable. On the other, one cannot ignore that it suffered perhaps the most dramatic and well-documented player base drop-off of recent memory, one completely incongruous with the acclaim and pre-release anticipation. On a third, mutated hand, the most interesting one, Titanfall has despite all of those things fundamentally changed the shooter landscape in a way that hasn’t happened in a long time. You cannot throw a rock without encountering Titanfall’s card system in a modern shooter – everything from Halo 5 to Star Wars: Battlefront has borrowed this system of in game modifiers in some way. Both also take influence from Titanfall’s enhanced mobility systems, but neither as dramatically as the Call of Duty series in its recent entries, culminating in the wholesale hijacking of it for Black Ops III.
This Titanfall paradox has cast a multicolored shadow over whatever move Respawn Entertainment makes next. Simultaenously, they must battle a perception among gamers that Titanfall failed, live up to critical acclaim, and find a way to not play like a knockoff to all those who knocked off Titanfall. The solution that Respawn has come up with seems to be, at least in part, to not make a Titanfall game if recent hiring announcements are to be believed.
Over at Gamasutra, a slew of job postings were put up by Respawn Entertainment for a pair of new projects. One of these is the known next game in the Titanfall series, and the other is the also known new IP that Respawn has been developing with their second team. The curiousness of the story comes from the details of the descriptions – such as this one for Senior Level Designer, first identified by Game Informer;
We are now recruiting designers for two game development projects – a new game in the Titanfall universe as well as a new 3rd person action/adventure IP. Respawn is seeking a Senior Level Designer to embrace and contribute to the project vision, breathing life into the gameplay world and helping define the moment to moment player experience.
The wording of “new game in the Titanfall universe” strikes me as a particularly odd way of dodging the word “sequel,” but that isn’t the interesting detail. This is the first time we’ve gleaned any information as to what Respawn Entertainment’s new IP is – a third-person action adventure game. This is well outside the wheelhouse of Respawn’s history – beyond Titanfall, the lineage of Respawn stretches back to the Medal of Honor and Call of Duty series, first person shooters all. Then again, this lineage has also more or less redefined each new territory it has come to – Titanfall being the latest in a series of games the core members of Respawn created that has influenced much of everything that follows it, stretching back to Call of Duty 4, the original Call of Duty, and Medal of Honor: Allied Assault. For no other reason than pedigree, this news is more interesting than it seems – and should be closely watched.