Respawn Entertainment has cancelled Titanfall: Frontline, the first title in its multi-game mobile partnership with Nexon.
Frontline was in beta ahead of an expected launch early this year, but Respawn has confirmed that testing had provided the wrong result. "We've learned an incredible amount in the beta test of Titanfall: Frontline, but in the end felt the experience wasn't ready to deliver the intense action-packed gameplay synonymous with Titanfall," the company said in a statement on the game's website.
"While it's never easy to cancel a game, we're excited to take some of the concepts we saw resonate with players and build off of them in future Titanfall mobile games. Titanfall: Frontline's closed beta will be winding down in the next few days, and servers will go offline on January 20, 2017."
Titanfall: Frontline was developed by Particle City, a mobile team founded by Respawn and operating within its offices. The game was the first in a "multi-game, multi-year partnership" with Nexon - signed in October 2015 - which was supposed to help the Titanfall IP grow and reach new audiences. Respawn had previously partnered with Nexon of a free-to-play version of the original Titanfall for Asian markets.
It is safe to assume that other Titanfall mobile games will be released in the future, but the position of Respawn's IP is weaker than it will have expected when Titanfall 2 was picking up two dozen E3 awards ahead of its release last year. EA published the game in the week that separated Battlefield 1 and Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, a move that had critics and analysts scratching their heads with crossed fingers. While EA hasn't released any official sales figures, the game's first-week performance in the UK will have been far short of expectations. To be precise, prior to its launch, EA said it expected Titanfall 2 to sell between 9 and 10 million units in its first year - per Videogamer.
We may get a clearer picture of Titanfall 2's performance in EA's next fiscal report, but the company's executives have played down the apparently poor launch on several occasions. In November 2016, CEO Andrew Wilson insisted that Respawn's game addressed different user tastes to the more strategic brand of action found in Battlefield 1, and emphasised the long tail on both games. "We believe they both will have a long sale cycle, both this quarter through the festive season and deep into the years to come," he said.
At the end of the same month, Peter Moore expressed a similar idea. "One thing we do incredibly well is take a great title like this and leverage it for many years to come. We're going to be selling Titanfall 2 on a global basis for many, many years."