Titanfall was a pretty exciting game. Calling in a titan from space was an incredible experience: sprinting from incoming fire, the titan crashing down right before you, and then sliding between its legs to have it scoop you up and place you in the cockpit was one of the few “wow” moments of last year. That said, Titanfall also didn’t exactly live up to the hype and it wasn’t long until players heard the siren’s call of newer titles and moved on.
Respawn Entertainment seems to be living up to their name, at the BAFTA Game Awards, studio co-founder Vince Zampella announced that Titanfall would get a second life. Set to debut on major platforms, Titanfall 2 is certainly going to be a bold attempt to learn from the mistakes of the past and bring a shooter that fans will be playing for years after launch. In honor of the excitement, here is our wish list for Titanfall 2.
No Single Player Campaign
Wait, what? Steven, are you crazy? Yes, yes I am. But my psychological profile has nothing to do with why I firmly believe adding a single player campaign to Titanfall would be the worst mistake mankind has made since someone told Nicki Minaj she could rap.
Before everyone freaks out, let me part the Red Sea of your ignorance and show you the way: a procedurally generated online campaign. What does this word even mean? I’ll tell you. It means taking the dumb story mode of the original and tossing it to the wolves and replacing it with a persistent campaign that tracks victories and losses on both sides. Titanfall is all about a war between two factions, yeah? So let’s actually go to war! In this amazing story mode I just made up, players choose a faction to be permanently assigned to (perhaps with a countdown of a week or so before they can switch sides if need be), and with either strangers or a group of friends they take on specific missions against the enemy faction. If you win, your team is granted experience and your faction is given control points to control more of the map, perhaps earning reinforcements and special abilities to make use of in later missions. The objective is to beat the enemy back on all fronts, dominating sectors of a solar system map in order to secure victory.
Furthermore, different nodes on the map could also represent various passive bonuses that can be employed in combat, creating a necessity for strategy on what to focus on and when. Taking a specific orbital command station might mean calling down your titan sooner, or a covert ops facility might grant a passive boost to cloaking.
Single player campaigns are so last generation. If I wanted to play Call of Duty, I’d play Call of Duty. Titanfall was a breath of fresh air from the cesspool shooters were quickly becoming, it’d be criminal if Respawn decided to jump back in. Give us dynamic online campaigns that allow players to forge their own stories with their friends. Create systems that inspire rivalries and immerse players in the conflict, don’t just let them play a round or two and log off feeling like nothing of consequence happened.
More Guns, More Cards, More Titans, More Perks, More of Everything
One of the problems with Titanfall was it quickly became apparent that this was a much slimmer title than what many players were expecting. There was only one gun per category, a modicum of perks and abilities, and a few titans. I want more, more, and more!
Improving guns is the first step. There was really only one gun for each type in the game, and it took months before Respawn realized that the vast majority of players preferred the automatic rifle (if only because that sucker was over-powered). The smart pistol was a really unique addition, and I love how it divided the community between players championing it and others decrying it as a “noob” weapon. Divisive weapons are good; get people talking. When you have a science fiction universe with bipedal mechs, it’s a travesty to have the weapons you carry be as derivative and boring as they were in Titanfall. We need a greater variety of weapons with a staggering amount of customization options. Battlefield 4 knows how to do this right, so take a page out of their book: Scopes, grips, attachments, camo patterns—anything that gives us a steady stream of unlocks and a wealth of choices to make.
I really enjoyed the trifecta of titans Titanfall introduced, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for more. If you think about it, titans easily fall into the class triangle many MMORPGs subscribe to: damage dealer, tank, healer (or support). The great thing is that while many MMOs rely on those three as their core classes, almost all of them deviate to offer a wide range of alternatives and hybrids. I want titans that heal other mechs (this is science fiction, folks, so yes, green beams shot from guns can magically repair metal). I want titans that can transform—autobot style—and become tank-like artillery cannons. Are flying titans off the table? Because I want those, too.
More Cosmetic Options
This one should be obvious, if only because Respawn has already implemented a fairly feeble attempt to include it in Titanfall. In World War 2, pilots would often paint the planes they flew, colouring them with scantily clad women, or angry looking faces—anything that added a touch of individuality to the drab green of the army. That attitude, ripping the sleeves off your uniform and attaching an ace of spades to your helmet, is something that Titanfall needs a whole lot more of. Guns and titans should both come with a massive repertoire of cosmetic alterations that pilots can make; everything from color patterns, insignias, and scathing taunts; to various voices for the titan AI, different coloured nuclear explosions, and maybe even some sweet new ways to jump into your titan. I get that Titanfall is a pretty serious game, and getting stomped to death by a giant pink Ogre with Hello Kitty spraypainted onto its face might ruin some of that. But if you want players to come back to the game month after month, they need a steady stream of rewards for doing so, and something that ties them emotionally to the experience. Give me a titan and a weapon that I can customize to my heart’s content and I guarantee I won’t be uninstalling Titanfall any time soon.
One of my favorite aspects of Titanfall was evacuating at the end of a match. The evacuation wasn’t exactly necessary, but it provided an exciting dose of immersion. It was new. It was different. It needs to be expanded upon. The race to the dropship at the end of each round was exhilarating the first dozen times, but by the end of my time with Titanfall, it became rote and predictable. Coordinated teams could easily blow the dropship out of the sky with little effort. Imagine if every match ended with a randomly selected “finale”; a secondary objective players could undergo to earn some bonus points. Planting bombs for a scorched earth suicide maneuver? Having to assault a vulnerable location in a final assault? Anything to keep players on their toes and guessing how a round will resolve.
More Dynamic Battlefields
Titanfall might look like Call of Duty, but what it needs is to start looking at Battlefield 4. While each map contained auto turrets and spectres you could hack to help tilt the scales in your favor, if Titanfall 2 truly wants to stand out it is going to need a hearty refinement and expansion of those ideas. Maps provided a slew of movement options, but they were also largely static. This is the future, people. We should be fighting in environments that transform and change around us. Factories with open pits of molten metal for pilots to jump over, with automated assembly arms just waiting to eviscerate unsuspecting pilots. Something—anything to really open up the levels and demand pilots pay attention.
Another thing that would really flesh out the “battlefield” experience is expanding the NPC characters and their roles in the match. Having a map populated with soldiers from each side killing one another is a stroke of genius, but now it’s time to really double down on that concept to bring something amazing. Soldiers should spawn with tanks, helicopters, or any other vehicle that would provide suitable target practice. Running into a building to see two soldiers sparring, while another dragged an injured comrade from the room was so truly unique, and Respawn needs to capitalize and expand on that in order to keep it fresh and interesting.
Let’s Wait and See
You might have noticed I used the word “more” a lot. That’s because, at its heart, Titanfall already possesses many of the core ingredients for an amazing online shooter. What it needs now is to take those core fundamentals and expand on them in every possible way. More guns, more titans, more dynamic matches, more of everything. Titanfall is one of the more exciting and refreshing IPs of last year, but this next installment is what is going to define it for years to come. Of course, this is just my personal wish list. If you have your own ideas or disagree with mine, be sure to sound off in the comments!Related: First Person Shooter, Shooter, Titanfall, Titanfall 2