The original Titanfall was one of the first major successful new gaming franchises to launch this generation, a bright spot during the rough early days of the Xbox One and a successful attempt to reinvigorate a stagnating first-person shooter genre with an innovative gameplay twist. But for all that Titanfall delivered, one fairly significant omission wound up turning off a not-insignificant segment of the gaming community: the game focused almost-entirely on its multiplayer mode, with no full single player campaign to speak of.
Now we know that won't be the case for the sequel. Titanfall 2 lead writer Jesse Stern has promised, among other things, that a dedicated single player campaign is in the cards.
While full details are yet to come about the sequel itself, it seems safe to predict that the single-player campaign will be part of a stated desire on the part of developer Respawn's to flesh out the storyline and mythology of the Titanfall universe; something that the studio's modest "startup" stature did not allow for the original attempt. Said Spencer (via Forbes):
"One of the shortcomings of the first game was we just did not have the mechanism to tell everyone ‘here’s who you are, here’s where you are and who’s around you.’ We knew all the answers, we just could not deliver it."
The original Titanfall took place in a futuristic war setting that allowed for a novel twist on traditional first-person shooter gameplay: while engaging primarily in the form of powered-up, extra-agile ground soldiers, players could choose to climb into the cockpits of massive humanoid robots that offered more deliberate mobility but drastically-increased size, strength and firepower. From the sound of things, Respawn's plans for the sequel are extremely ambitious; not simply fleshing out the facts of their world but telling a grand-scale science-fiction narrative of war, politics and human survival that will also deliver action and thrills in a world where "science meets magic." In fact, they're even talking about a potential TV series. Spencer elaborated:
"So we are doing our best to deliver a vision of grand global colonial warfare retelling the story of the American Revolution and the American Civil War in space. We imagined the next generation of immigrants moving out to the new frontier of an inhabitable planet. Rather than taking a traditional sci-fi approach to that we wanted to look at how that would happen practically, what the ships would look like and with machines that were designed for excavation and construction , demolition and working the land, and what happens when they are turned into instruments of war."
Titanfall was the first major project for Respawn, a development studio founded by Call of Duty creator/developers formerly of Infinity Ward. While the original was (initially) exclusive to the Xbox One, the sequel is planned for release across all platforms. The decision to add a robust single-player campaign feels like a no-brainer, as the lack of one was among the most cited reasons among those who chose not to purchase the original. However, it's not necessarily a guarantee of major success: The original game launched as much-hyped new IP with comparatively little competition near the start of the current generation of consoles, at a point when many of gaming's biggest franchises had yet to release full next-gen iterations. The sequel, on the other hand, will be contending with a much more crowded field and competitors who've had ample time to catch up - a field where even a well-reviewed game in a proven franchise (like Rise of The Tomb Raider) has difficulty making a real impact.
Still, few new IPs have launched with as much promise and solidly-met expectations as Titanfall - and after years of the genre being defined by Call of Duty and Halo sequels, FPS fans seem primed and ready to once again embrace a wider variety of content - not just Titanfall 2, but also the much-ballyhooed return of Doom later this year. And with the new campaign and Playstation 4 availability offering access to two big sets of gamers who passed the first time, this could well be Titanfall's chance to cement itself as one of the dominant players of this generation.
Titanfall 2 is currently being targeted for a fiscal year 2017 release.