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Titanfall branching out to single-player, TV

Respawn planning on solo campaign mode for sequel, wants to produce scripted, animated spin-offs

The Titanfall series is branching out. What started as a Microsoft-exclusive multiplayer shooter will not only be going multiplatform in its sequel; it will roll out a full single-player story mode. That's according to a Forbes interview with lead writer Jesse Stern, who is also looking to bring the series beyond games.

"What inspires us is the junction of technological advancement with the inevitability of conflict and war and what the next war might look like," Stern said. "In Titanfall 2 there will be a lot of [scenes] where science meets magic, but keeping it grounded and dirty and human and real."

That approach will likely define not just the Titanfall sequel, but a TV spin-off that Stern and Respawn are working on with Lionsgate TV. Respawn CEO Vince Zampella reportedly wants to bring the franchise into scripted and animated TV, but there are still hurdles to clear.

"It would be very expensive," Stern said. "We are trying to find a way to tell a story in the worlds we want to be in and produce in the TV model."

Titanfall launched in March of 2014, and last October Zampella announced it had passed the 10 million-user mark. This sort of expansion makes sense for the franchise, as Zampella told before the original game's release that its exclusivity and multiplayer focus were both borne of the studio's small initial size. With a team of roughly 60 people, Respawn opted to focus on fewer platforms and the places where players would spend the bulk of their time.

"We make these single-player missions that take up all the focus of the studio, that take a huge team six months to make, and players run through it in 8 minutes," Zampella said at the time. "And how many people finish the single-player game? It's a small percentage. It's like, everyone plays through the first level, but 5 percent of people finish the game. Really, you split the team. They're two different games. They're balanced differently, they're scoped differently. But people spend hundreds of hours in the multiplayer experience versus 'as little time as possible rushing to the end' [in single-player]. So why do all the resources go there? To us it made sense to put it here. Now everybody sees all those resources, and multiplayer is better. For us it made sense."

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Latest comments (8)

Paul Jace Merchandiser 5 years ago
I personally didn't mind the lack of a single player campaign in the first Titanfall, as there were always more than enough online players to play through the entire multiplayer campaign. But this move should help bring in more players for the sequel.
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Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 5 years ago
Kill the TV show and put that dev money into a story mode that's offline with optional couch co-op and yeah, yeah, the usual online ply and I bet the new game does better. Defiance proved a game-show mix won't work well enough to support more than a few seasons and nothing about a Titanfall show would make a game any better if you really think about it.
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Aleksi Ranta Category Management Project Manager 5 years ago
Im with greg on this one. What is it with studios and their fetish to make tv-shows aswell? Do they have better parties? Is it "cool" to make a tv tie-in? Do the studios just have insane amounts of disposable income on their hands? Is it just because mechs on tv are super cool for under age kids who dont have a high enough age to buy the actual game? what what what....
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Show all comments (8)
Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing 5 years ago
Big robot shows are defined by Japanese animation and there isn't a single western movie that can keep up with the type of action they portray. Titanfall was great at replicating this type of action sequence for a computer game. But a TV show made in the Canadian woods by a company not know for SciFi shows? Put me on the list of people who thinks this show will be buried in some menu where no player will ever dare to look at.
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Richard Browne Head of External Projects, Digital Extremes5 years ago
Aleksi - pretty simple and that's marketing. You don't spend $50m on an IP just to have it be a game with a limited market, especially when you self impose that market to the lesser successful console. IP has to travel, TV is a much more sensible route these days than film IF they can find a good home and a decent showrunner for it.
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Hugo Trepanier Senior Game Designer, Ludia5 years ago
It makes sense to want to diversify any solid IP's distribution and products. Here's a good modern respected example: Marvel. They have TV shows, movies, comics and games, many of them very good, plus tons of tie-in products. No one is complaining about that.

So why wouldn't other game developers aim to be all over the place with their IP and why restrict to just one market?

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Hugo Trepanier on 9th February 2016 5:34pm

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Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing 5 years ago
The story of IPs being adapted into video game is ridden with tragedy. The history of video games branching out into other media has been an unmitigated disaster.

The Top100 grossing movies of all time has ZERO IPs that started as a video game. The Top250 highest rated movies on IMDB has ZERO movies based off a video game. On the TV side, things do not look better. You have a few serviceable shows aimed to sell Nintendo games and more recently live action shows that you best refrain from namedropping.

Sure, compared to the production and marketing budgets of AAA games, a quickfire $5 million anime production is small change, even if you hired Production I.G. But remember, Disney branches its IPs into other media to make money there and the tough question for a video game company is whether their TV adaption will rake in mad money, or just be a PR cost write-off. Probably the ladder. Once you move into live action adaptations for something such as Titanfall, budgets will quickly become ruinous.
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Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 5 years ago
@Hugo: It took Marvel MANY years to get where they are now and those years were full of fun to watch but mainly crap adaptations that made and lost money, distanced some fans and almost took the company out of the not just comics entertainment business entirely. I was one of those people grimacing at the old Spider-Man, Hulk and Captain America TV shows back in the day (even as a kid I knew they were cheesy), that terrible cash-in Fantastic Four movie (eek!), and a few other things (too many Punisher reboots!).

Titanfall as a game works better than as a film because if all the story is in the series and the game lacks that what it needs to get solo players into more than the big bang shooty stuff, it's not going to get many new converts because strip away the action and its just another shooter with a good gimmick.
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