When EA and Respawn Entertainment announced Titanfall 2, one of the biggest changes in the sequel was the addition of a single-player campaign. However, since the announcement, not much has been revealed about the story mode until today. Game Director Steve Fukuda has shared five things about the Titanfall 2 single-player experience, which gives gamers a behind-the-scenes look at how the team at Respawn has crafted both the narrative and the gameplay of the forthcoming campaign.
“Titanfall is two games in one that are carefully balanced – agile Pilots and powerful Titans. This led to an interesting narrative question: what is the relationship between a Pilot and a Titan? Where can we go with that? It was from these questions that Titanfall 2‘s single player campaign really began to take shape.”
As Fukuda explains, the heart of the storyline in Titanfall 2 is the bond between man and machine. To effectively delve into this story, the pacing is considerably different from the multiplayer experience. Players won’t instantly jump from one massive, explosion-filled battle to the next. Instead, as Jack Cooper and BT-7274 work together to survive, they will explore the terrain, encounter puzzle-like challenges, and even have moments when they stop to think.
Surviving won’t all be about taking down enemies with headshots, either. Learning to master the parkour-inspired running and wall-jumping mechanics is just as rewarding and valid as efficiently using the weapons arsenal. The game presents weapons and abilities as options, rather than forcing the player to choose one style of play over another. The point Fukuda drives home is that the story is “not a training module for multiplayer.” It is a “cinematic shooter experience” that players can enjoy all on its own.
With all of these points in mind, Respawn has also presented a hands-off demo of the single-player campaign that introduces Jack and BT. Jack is a Frontier Militia rifleman fighting against the Interstellar Manufacturing Company (IMC). Players first meet him on a mission gone wrong. After a crash landing, he finds himself outnumbered on enemy territory. The final orders of his mentor Captain Lastimosa are to bond with BT and complete a rendezvous mission.
Referring to his Titan, Lastimosa says, “This is the real thing. Take care of him.”
It is explained that BT is not a typical machine. It is a Vanguard class Titan that requires a neural link with a pilot to function. It can only be bonded to one pilot at a time, and Jack is his new partner. Vanguard Titans have a strict set of protocols to adhere to, in this order: they cannot operate on their own and must be linked to a pilot, uphold their mission, and protect their pilot.
Before they can get underway, Jack has to find a replacement for the BT’s battery pack. This opening segment of gameplay showcases how the pacing of the game can ebb and flow. While exploring the terrain, all is seemingly quiet until wild creatures pop out of the lush flora like the small, deadly dinos in Jurassic Park. Jack sneaks around the enemy soldiers, taking them out one by one. But, despite the effort, things don’t remain quiet for long. In the process of getting the battery, IMC forces catch up and converge on Jack’s position. BT provides advisory commentary along the way, which adds a bit of tension as he emphasizes how little time Jack has to reconvene and complete the bonding process before they are overwhelmed. When Jack returns to BT, he quickly replaces the battery. Then, he pauses to take a deep breath before bonding with the Titan to convey the mixed emotions of the life-changing moment for the character.
As they continue their mission, the player has the option to converse with BT given a set of dialog choices. Sometimes the conversations are mission-related, but quite often they are personal. Although it has been confirmed these conversations, and the player’s choices during these conversations, do not alter the game’s storyline, the resulting banter can be quite entertaining. At one point, Jack asks how long BT was bonded to Captain Lastimosa. After BT replies with the number of days he was linked to the captain, the player can choose to reply with a somber apology for bringing it up or a quip that it’s longer than any relationship he’s ever had.
In another scene, which leads up to the “trust me” line BT delivers at the end of the single-player gameplay trailer, BT explains that the only way they can progress is for him to throw Jack across a deep gorge onto a platform. Jack asks what the chances are that it’ll be a successful throw, and BT replies with a long list of potential bodily harm Jack might endure if the throw does not go as desired. There’s a human warmth that comes with the words “trust me” after revealing the cold statistics that heavily favor death and injury. It’s in moments like these that Glenn Steinbaum steals the show as the voice behind BT, delivering a performance that will likely be compared to Peter Cullen’s Optimus Prime when the game is released in October. It’s moments like these between Jack and BT that make the story of Titanfall 2 look promising.
[Image via EA/Respawn Entertainment]