Tag Archives: Respawn Entertainment

One of the Titans

There be rumblings out there. I feel it in the earth and in the water. The ballistic crack of high powered assault rifles, the dull pulse of jet packs and the ground rattling thud of a Titanfall – mechanised war-suites injected into a battle ground from orbit. Things may never be the same again.

Talos

^Talos – Not one of the Titan’s…

Of all the upcoming games to tickle not just my own gaming loins, but the gaming community in general, this would appear to be the big one. The anticipation is as big as the titular war machines themselves. Everywhere I look the cogs of industry and marketing pump out teasers and adverts and posters and banners and footage and more showcasing this behemoth, this potential game change in the FPS genre. And I have to say, I like what I see.

Now, I’m not here to fellate Microsoft, Respawn (devs) or the game itself – it’s not like I’m getting paid for this shit and nobody reads it anyway, but I am EXCITED by this monster that will be slamming into my life on 14th March. There is something new about it, something fresh, something that no one has quite managed to pull off properly before, but it looks like Respawn might just have nailed it.

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Respawn Entertainment – for those who know not – is a ‘new’ development studio created by two gentlemen who go by the names of Jason West and Vince Zampella. These two colossi of gaming development were formally running ‘tings at Infinity Ward and are largely responsible for some of the biggest games in history; that being arguably the best titles in the Call of Duty franchise. It’s true to say that today, although the COD games are still raking in the kind of cold cash that would make a Russian gangster feel inadequate, they are feeling a little bit tired now. Ghosts was, predictably enough just a bit samey and somehow feels like the franchise is coasting, like Black Ops 2 did before it (and Black Ops 1, and Modern Warfare 3……maybe). Therefore you may be forgiven for rolling your eyes when I say “Respwan were responsible for Call of Duty blah blah” – but let’s not forget that COD fatigue has only kicked in recently; a few years ago things were different. A few years ago Call of Duty: Modern Warfare dropped – and that changed everything.

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^ COD:MW Changed everything

From the very beginning Modern Warfare felt different, unique, fresh, relevant, current. The things we take for granted (and indeed are now growing weary of) in COD games – and its competitors – were like flashes of brilliance that kicked the genre in the nuts and demanded it stood to f*cking attention. Relentless waves of enemies chucking pounds of brass at the tiny outcropping of cover you were huddled behind, forcing you to move under fire to the next position. I can’t tell you what a revelation that was for me. Having to move on without clearing a battleground was not something I was used to. Generally I am one to lay waste to my enemy before I stride over their cold corpses surveying the blood-washed arena which I have created, only then deciding after catching my breath that I will move on and do it all again. Add to this the characters, voiced by real and in some cases genuinely talented actors (Soap and the SAS guys particularly stand out) and a story that wasn’t a retreading of a World War II ‘favourite’, but presented a not-completely-unrealistic current-affairs take on the Middle East crisis. All with M4’s, red-dot sites, javelins, and Barratt .50 cals. It genuinely felt like “why hasn’t anyone done this before?”

And I can’t help but think – or hope – that those same guys have pulled it off again.

It’s fairly common knowledge that West and Zampella were fired from Activision in very disagreeable and unceremonious circumstances. What followed was an exodus of 40+ Infinity Ward employees who all joined Respawn Entertainment. That sucks if your Activision, but for us mere mortals it bodes well. Oh so very well.

Titanfall is their first game, and they are once again looking to slam the genre in the testicles with a big, mechanised boot. The game is touted as a blending of multiplayer and campaign. Injecting vertical combat with the use of jet packs enabling players to easily scale walls and buildings adding a 3rd dimension (or ‘verticality’) to the arena. This in itself is tantalising, giving a free-running element to proceedings which is very fashionable at the moment. The gameplay footage looks intense, fast paced, unrelenting – all the elements I enjoy most in an FPS.

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^ Collectors Edition is a must…

And let us not forget the mighty Titans. Mechs have always been popular in sci-fi, whether in film, game or literature, and I won’t waste your time by spouting off about examples which are doubtlessly already invading your head boxes as you read. But somehow no one has really ever pulled off the feat of really – REALLY – nailing the feeling of being in one and commanding the battlefield. Lots of games give you a ‘mech-moment’; maybe a whole level if you’re lucky to wander around and twat some bad guys with chain guns and rockets (and not much else) and have some fun. But Titanfall puts the mechs front and centre, seemingly striking the balance by having not just enemy Titans as well but giving the foot soldiers the advantage of speed, agility, jetpacks and the ability to climb on your back and pull your mech-brain out the back of your-mech skull. Not to mention the ability to seamlessly enter and exit your Titan without interrupting the flow of slaughter – and this includes commandeering enemy mechs as well. Kill? Or Commandeer? Choices, choices.

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I’m sure anyone reading this has already been touched by the Titanfall marketing machine and may be growing weary of the hype. Maybe it is hype. But bare in mind this is Xbox One and PC exclusive, not PS4. I hope very much the hype machine is being helped along by the fact that Titanfall is f*cking good, and not just because Microsoft are pumping squillions of Earth-monies into trying to dump upon their rivals.

Regardless, on March the 14th the Titan’s fall, and then we’ll know.

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The Future is Now…..or soon….or at least ongoing.

2014 is a go ladies and gentlemen, we are rolling. The Earth continues to complete a single revolution on its axis roughly every 24 hours AND simultaneously orbit our Sun at around 67,000 miles per hour. Mash those to astronomical factoids together and you get science, apparently. But you also get time, or more accurately our method of measuring it. Anyway, what was I talking about? Ah yes, games…..

So as we stride forth into the 2014-shaped yonder, your Bioshock Infinite’s and your Shadow Warrior’s are but distant memories, replaced instead with things in the shape of Titanfall and Dying Light. Yes folks, let us look forward to what meaty juices the rich world of games, gaming and gameage has to offer us lucky monkeys this coming 365 planetary revolutions (which is a year, I’m reliably informed).

I won’t do a list of most anticipated titles – only idiots do lists. Besides, there are too many games I’m interested in to do any kind of meaningful list, so I’ll spit my words and see what comes out.

So, not a list, and in no particular order.

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One of the first games dropping this year which has got me reasonably flustered is Eidos Montreal’s reboot of Thief. The first in this series came out back in ’98, with a sequel in 2000, both of which were great games (I didn’t play the 2004 instalment). They almost, sort of, started their own sub-genre in the First Person arena, with the onus almost entirely on stealth, plus as I recall the medieval steam-punk setting was pioneering at the time. I can’t help but feel like this reboot is somehow competing with Dishonoured which in many respects actually felt like a reboot of Thief in its own right, or at least was surely heavily influenced by its legacy. Various reports of a troubled development is always the sort of thing to set the nerves on edge (first announced back in 2009 but reworked from the ground up thereafter) however Eidos Montreal did a pretty good job with Deus Ex: Human Revolution, so here’s hoping.

titan

There’s no doubt Titanfall is personally one of my most anticipated titles of the year. This bad boy is the first game from Respawn Entertainment, but fear not, those guys are seasoned vets, with co-founders Jason West and Vince Zampella both coming from Infinity Ward and can claim to be chiefly responsible for arguably some of the best titles in the Call of Duty franchise. This game looks to be First Person Carnage at its finest, with the added dynamic of jet packs enabling you to scale buildings in a single bound thus adding literally another dimension (that being vertical) to the battlefield. Oh, and there’s also huge fuckoff mech suits (Titan’s in fact) for you to climb in fight against and oooh it’s all exciting. Please be as good as I hope.

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The other title REALLY tickling ones floppy bits is Elite: Dangerous (Frontier Developments) which I’ve written in detail about before. Strange thing this, because it seems as if my gaming family and I are the only human beings on the face of the frickin’ Earth who are in the slightest bit excited about it. How exactly is this possible? I have trawled a dozen “Most Anticipated Games of 2014” run down’s and not a single one gives it a mention, not even Games Radar’s 100 Most anticipated…… I mean, are they seriously saying there are at least 100 other games scheduled for release this year which they are more excited about? Really? Elite was nothing short of pioneering and changed the shape of gaming forever, so why aren’t people getting giddy about the reboot, especially when the Alpha release looks so saucy? What irks me more is the fact that games like Star Citizen (Cloud Imperium Games) and No Man’s Sky (Hello games) are both similar in theme and are both regulars on said lists. OK, the comparison isn’t entirely fair but you get my point.

star citizen

As it happens, Star Citizen does look pretty sweet. From what I can gather it’s a kind of double-release in that the game is actually comprised of ‘Star Citizen’ which is an MMOG, first-person, space-combat game with trade elements (like…er, Elite) but also ‘Squadron 42’ which is more of a single-player/drop-in drop-out co-op campaign typa’ thing (and we looooooovvveee co-op campaigns in these quarters).

no mans sky

No Man’s Sky also looks tasty, but in all honesty I’ve only seen a wee taster trailer from VGX and from what I can gather it’s still early days, although the ability to explore the universe from the deepest oceans right through to the furthest reaches of the galaxy is certainly a USP to keep an eye on.

Dying-Light-logo

Dying Light is another title high on my list for 2014. Techland have a lot to answer for after the woefully disappointing Dead Island, and Dying Light could – could – right those wrongs. All the elements are there; zombies, fluid free running, day/night dynamic, co-op (although presently un-specified what co-op elements it will offer) and although the above sounds like a mash up of Brink and Dead island – two awful, awful games – I have hope for this game.

mad max

Mad Max from Avalanche studios is next up. Big fan of George Miller’s first two films that follow ole’ Max Rockatansky in a post apocalyptic down under. I’ve often thought it’s the basis for a good game setting and indeed I would wager id Software were influenced more than a bit when they made RAGE a couple of years ago. Open worldy, survivaly, post apocalypticy; what’s not to get excited about?

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Let’s talk horror. More accurately, survival horror from the Godfather of the Genre himself Shinji Mikami. The gameplay footage and trailers from The Evil Within (Tango gameworks) look suitably unbelievably-horrific with all manner of totally effed up shiz  going on. In fact, I’m not ashamed to say it, when I saw the gameplay trailer showcased at E3 it was dark and late and I was tired and yes fine it made me feel reasonably uneasy and getting to sleep that particular night wasn’t a pleasant experience. I look forward to many more nights of equally uneasy sleeping experiences this year.

wolfenstein

Wolfenstein: The New Order (Machinegames) will hopefully be a solid FPS with B.J. Blazkowics back in the saddle, this time in a mech-infused alternate reality future where Ze Pesky Nazi’s won the war or something. This is the first instalment since waaaaay back in 1992 that doesn’t have id Software involved although Machinegames are using the id Tech 5 engine, so there’s that. What can I say, I can’t help but get excited for this, and the teaser trailer set to Jimmy Hedrix’s All Along the Watchtower just set the moody mood. Plus, I mean, Nazi’s, big guns, c’mon.

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Sticking with Ze Nazi theme, Sniper Elite 3 developed once again by Rebellion has us in North Africa doing the obvious. Sniper Elite V2 was an awesome game which included full 2-player co-op campaign and then went and upped the stakes with Nazi Zombie Army 1 and 2 to the oh-so-brilliant 4-player co-op. There’s been no official statement on just how co-op SE3 will be but I think Rebellion will have missed a trick if they don’t make it 4-player drop-in drop-out. Plus I’ll be pissed off with them, which I’m sure they will be devastated about.

TheDivision

Ubisoft had to make the list didn’t they? Will this be another year, with yet another disappointment from them? Let’s hope not. The Division, like soooo many Ubisoft games before it is brimming with potential. Don’t get me wrong, Ubi do make some brilliant games (Far Cry 3 a case in point) but they also have a habit of doing the worst console ports ever and just lazily dumping out PC versions without a care in the world and ruining what could be such amazing games. I am currently in the throes of wrestling with the PC port of Splinter Cell: Blacklist which has all the frustrating hallmarks of a Ubi port. I hope hope hope The Division isn’t the same because it looks like one of the few titles which could be considered ‘next gen’ (even though that phrase doesn’t apply to PC’s, but you get the idea). Plus it’s co-op and…..well, need I say more.

tales from the borderlands

I may have mentioned once or twice in previous posts that I’m a Borderlands fan. Have I? Well I am. A big fan. To say the least. Whilst we don’t have a new Borderlands game as such, we do have an episodic game ‘series’ in the vein of The Walking Dead and in fact developed by the same guys over at Telltale games. Tales from the Borderlands should begin sometime in 2014. Yay.

evolve

A recently announced title has immediately registered highly on my excitometer – Evolve from Turtle Rock Studios pits 4 players (in co-op, of course) against 1 almighty alien (also player controlled should you so desire). Said alien starts off in an almost infant like state while the 4 players try and hunt it down and murderlise it before it grows (or ‘evolves’….see) into its adult form. A sort of hunter-becomes-hunted element is one of the games strong suits, but also the idea of every level kind of revolving around ‘a boss’ in some way is intriguing. Not to mention the possibility of having a human in the shoes of the boss in question. All very delicious.

alien_isolation_2

Another recently announced title also sounds and looks like it has absolutely ooooooodles of potential. Alien: Isolation from The Creative Assembly. I don’t need to go over the history of Alien related games and how they have on the whole fallen so very, very short of their potential (the wounds of Colonial Marines are still raw for me…..) but this looks…..different. Whilst we are still looking for a worthy successor to Rebellion’s 1999 masterpiece Alien Vs Predator in the form of a James Cameron-a-like action-fest, Isolation appears to be taking a different approach and is instead taking its lead from Ridley Scott’s classic 1979 horror-in-space. Still early days on this but it looks like The Creative Assembly have nailed the atmosphere (which is exactly what I said about Gearbox and Colonial Marines prior to its release). Please don’t be shit.

metal gear

Rounding off the list is kind of an also-ran for me but I do have the odd pang of excitement when seeing some of the visuals. Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes (Kojima Productions) serves as the first instalment in a double-release comprising Metal Gear Solid: The Phantom Pain. All that doesn’t really interest me if I’m honest, the Metal gear games have been solid console performers since day dot but always felt very frustrating and repetitive for me, however early gameplay footage from ground Zeroe’s and an impressive film-like cinematic trailer just about gets it on the list.

So that’s it really. Or at least that’s the bulk of it.  There are other games which I am GAGGING to know more about and if they aren’t released this year then hopefully we will at least get some news on them. Such titles include Rainbow 6: patriots which underwent a root-and-branch creative overhaul after most of the senior players were ‘let go’ from Ubisoft. Rainbow 6 games always have potential and the premise for this looked outstanding, so let’s see what happens.

Furious 4

Gearbox has been schtum on Furious 4 for a while now but hopefully they will be ready to get the ball re-rolling on their 4-player co-op Inglorious Basterds-esque Nazi-killing romper stomper.

Among The Sleep is an indie-title I blogged about many weeks ago from Nordic Independent developers Krillbite Studios. I haven’t heard anything on this for a while but now that I have schooled myself in the world of non-violent first person games I am more eager than ever to get my hands on this.

Talking of Indie-games, The Dead Linger is a kickstarter project from Sandswept I’ve been backing and once again has so much potential.  Currently in its Alpha state, it’s a full-on, open world, 4-player co-op zombie survival game in the vein of Day Z. Who knows when this will be ready to hit shelves, but when it does, let’s just hope it’s good.

Lastly, and not leastly, this one is for Valve. This could be their year what with the imminent arrival of Steam OS and the Steam Machines, but must we go another year without any news on Half Life 3? What about Left 4 Dead 3? Will we see another sequel to possibly the best co-op series of all time? Do something amazing Valve. You know you want to.

And so that’s that. What more will the year of gaming offer us mere mortals? Hopefully lots of lovely stuff for me to play and write about.

You may now return to your lives.

P.S. I have never forgotten about Hidden & Dangerous, I just dare not utter the words…….