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LONG BLOG

Thoughts on Apex Legends, Respawn, and Titanfall 3

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First off, I’m going to be straightforward and explain that this is a blog written partially out of frustration and anger. I want to write it to help get that anger out, because I often find writing to be therapeutic for helping burn off such things. I want to write this up, get it off my chest as some venting into air and then just been done with this whole mess. Consequently I don’t even know if I’ll release it-though if you’re reading it my decision was obvious. With this blog I run the risk of coming across as overly petulant or angry, far too pessimistic, or perhaps to some, even somewhat entitled.

So be it-I have a lot of feelings on recent news and I want to muse on them in long term written form, to give the structure and shape rather than ranting about this in a voice chatroom. I’d also ask that if you don’t have that much of an emotional investment in Titanfall 2, all I ask is that you try to imagine a similar situation happening to a game you love and care about-try to get into my headspace before dismissing me out of hand.  

I love Titanfall 2. I skipped over Titanfall when it first came out, as the lack of a SP component and somewhat lukewarm reception turned me off of it. Add in the fact that I’ve never really gelled with that sort of MP system and what not, and it just didn’t appeal. Flash forward to Titanfall 2 and again, I didn’t bite. True, it had a SP mode now but I had other games on my plate and didn’t think it would be one I’d keep up with. Then I believe it was recommended to me by Amna, in between our usual correspondence of memes, weather and microbe science, cooking shenanigans and nudes and musings on happenings. 

The mists of time obscure much, but regardless on recommendations from others and the excellent scores it was getting, I got the game. I decided to fire up the multiplayer and bounded around the map, wall running and  getting about 4 kills in a row before being slain. It was euphoric and I had a blast with it, so much so that I got deeply invested in playing it and still fire up a game from time to time. The SP and MP are excellent, and I have so much love for them even now-the single player isn’t what I’d call a high watermark of storytelling but its a simple story told well and its a fun ride to get through the end, with some really fun traversal and different gameplay sections. It also helps that Cooper and BTs relationship is fun to watch grow as they spend time together. 

However, as with many good things that are far too well made for an undeserving mankind, the game didn’t appear to do great saleswise. Releasing between COD and Battlefield was a horrendously bad decision, and a fantastic horde mode that could have helped the population took months to arrive. One of the best games of that year-the only thing that stopped it from being the best FPS was that DOOM came out that year-was regrettably one that just didn’t have great sales. But despite this, I was confident that with the quality on display, a better release window and the massive amount of word of mouth, a Titanfall 3 could do well.

Then EA bought Respawn, and the future became a hell of a lot darker-I don't even need to really go into much detail regarding EAs dev body count by this point. Yet still some shred of hope remained for one or two good games before EA stuck its dick in the pudding and ruined everything. The flame was kept alive for Titanfall 3 and then it was revealed that Respawn was working on a new game! I wasn’t really expecting a fully fledged Titanfall 3, but maybe a little hint that something was coming to tide me over. Instead it was just a reveal of a Respawn Star Wars game-not a terrible bit of news, but with zero titanfall news it was a bit of a sour note. What followed this, was silence.

And then. Then came the rumors the week before the reveal and release of the next Respawn game. Rumors of a "Titanfall "game-but not a Titanfall 3. A spin-off game. A battle royale, announced out of the blue and two weeks before another big multiplayer EA game. Then came the next tidbit, revealing that not only was it F2P, but it would have no titans. So it was that with bated breath, I waited for the announcement on monday to see how true this was going to turn out to be-and Apex Legends was revealed. A game without Titanfall even in the title and without the iconic Titans. It wasn't a great look, but I was even now willing to give it a chance-a BR game with Titanfall 2s parkour and look could be great! It could even be the game to get me into BR, just like Titanfall 2s MP got me into online play.

Then more was revealed. The game didn’t have the parkour of the previous games, nor did it even look much like the previous games in a lot of its art design. Loot boxes and microtransactions were in. And even now, though I slowly deflated and debated whether to bother I might have tried it to support Respawn.

Then came the next piece of news. The one that said that Titanfall 3 is not in development. And that Apex Legends was Respawns current focus going forward with the Titanfall world.

Then came the piece of news from Jason Schreier of Kotaku fame/infamy. And he claimed that Titanfall 3 had been in development but turned into this. Over the course of the monday the game was revealed, it also came to light that Titanfall 3 was scrapped due to the source engine used for TF2 looking not as good as they wanted which is bizzare considering Titanfall 2 still looks pretty good, at least to me.

"There are some people who think there are too many battle royale games or it's a fad, the world thinks we're making Titanfall 3 and we're not - this is what we're making. "To try and convince a sceptical audience for months with trailers and hands-on articles, we're just like 'let the game speak for itself' - it's the most powerful antidote to potential problems. "We're doing a free to play game, with essentially loot boxes, after we were bought by EA, and it's not Titanfall 3. It's the perfect recipe for a marketing plan to go awry, so why have that - let's just ship the game and let players play." Back in fall 2017, a Respawn source told Kotaku's Jason Schreier "Titanfall 3 was well into development" and would release by the end of 2018. The reason for the hurry was that the modified version of Valve's Source engine (used by the previous Titanfall games and reportedly also Apex Legends) - "was starting to feel dated", and "Titanfall 3 might not feel or look as good if it came out too much later" - which, clearly, it did not."

https://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2019-02-04-respawn-explains-apex-legends-surprise-release-and-why-there-are-no-titans

As of today Vince Zampella, one of the heads of Respawn, tweeted out that there was some Titanfall content coming out this year but given the vagueness, and the fact that Titanfall 3 was specifically noted to not even be in development I see little reason to feel excitement for something that could be anything but the game I was waiting for at this point. An additional interesting note, at least to me, is that Titanfall 2 was apparently considered successful by Respawn, in the words of Zampella himself.

"The game was successful, it sold well, but it didn't quite sell as well as it should have," Zampella admitted. "Maybe because it was super-crowded, the pricing was aggressive--it was a rough window to launch our game."

And in something of an addendum to that statement, I think its important to consider that part of that lack of larger success is releasing it in the worst possible time slot-a decision which, by the way, Respawn themselves pushed for apparently. I fully believed, and I still believe that a Titanfall 3 could do well. But instead of even getting anything, we get this and a bunch of hand waves for why it's here instead of Titanfall 3.

And this makes me angry. So very, very angry. Apex Legends is a game I refuse to ever play-not because its a bad game, not because its a BR game, and not because of its monetization. No, the reason I don’t ever want to play it is because Titanfall 3 was scrapped for it, and pridefully so in some of the interviews. I frankly find it disgusting, and I see little reason to bother ever playing it when my plates already full of good games that didn't come at the cost of something I was looking forward to. I love Titanfall 2-it isn’t perfect but its such a well crafted game and I adore the multiplayer. I vouched for the game hard and the thought that I might get another run with the series while being able to help support it from the word go was an appealing prospect. And yet, coming up on three years this fall that support and word of mouth has been rewarded with nothing but excuses and the scrapping of another actual Titanfall game, which I don’t even consider Apex Legends to be since it shares so little with Titanfall 2. 

It makes me question my adoration and support of Respawn as a dev team, and honestly I can’t say I’m looking forward to much they’re making in the near future. I don’t want them or Apex Legends to fail-and with 25 million players as of this week it doesn’t look like either will-but I’m just worn down and worn out by their handling of the situation and the problems they were apparently having with making Titanfall 3. If they release Titanfall 3, I’ll obviously go out and get it because thats what I want from them rather than what we got last week. And honestly despite my anger and frustration, it doesn’t really matter in the end. Apex Legends is at about 25 million players, and if they just tossed Titanfall in the trash forever they’ll be fine. Perhaps I protest too much and this is just a bump on the road towards Titanfall 3. Maybe Respawn will make a big announcement that will make this all seem unneccessary and a bit too angry. Its possible, but anything thats even proximal to EA already has a lot of suspicion in my eyes and with a BR thats done amazingly well and a shooter that did ok its not hard to see where the push to keep going will probably be. 

As for me, despite some of the benefits like it helping Respawns situation, and shooting up Titanfall 2s server populations I just feel burned out and weary of this situation. Again, maybe thats unfair or unreasonable but its the way I feel. At the end of the day, all thats happened is that I've gotten more bitter than boilingly mad about it. And because of that I think for a time I'm going to get my last thoughts out with this blog and then try to just move on so it stops eating at me. Maybe play some Titanfall 2 and enjoy one of the most fun MP experiences I've had, and then tear into DOOM eternal. Probably for the best. 

- “If you don't like bacteria, you're on the wrong planet.” ― Stewart Brand


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About Gamemaniac3434one of us since 11:25 PM on 02.01.2013

Who am I? I'm an avid gamer, beer snob, coffee snob and aspiring microbiologist. I love all sorts of different genres of games and different games from different years and as of recent years I've tried to get more into multiplayer games. I also really love microbiology and if you get me started on it, you will never get me to shut up about it.
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