Why Titanfall Feels Next-Gen, And Why 'Next-Gen' Still Matters

Why do we care about Titanfall? Why? It's difficult to explain without resorting to all those dead video game words we're not supposed to be using any more. Yes, I guess Titanfall is quite 'visceral'. It's 'cinematic'. It's um... frantic, it's -- what else. Next-gen?

Christ, I'll just come right out and say it: Titanfall is a mountain-dew soaked extravaganza. I will munch upon copious amount of Doritos, I will wash them down with some sort of caffeinated drink. I will place my cheese-dust covered digits on my Xbox controller and I will play the ever-loving shit out of this game.

Because Titanfall is good. It is very good. It's so good that it's hard to describe without resorting to hyperbole, to words that just don't really mean anything anymore. So I'll try and describe Titanfall with a more grounded word. It's an adjective.

That word is 'familiar'. Let me explain why that is a good thing.

Titanfall is familiar. If you've watched any in-game footage of Titanfall in action you'll know precisely what I'm talking about. You've played Call of Duty, you've played Battlefield. If you've ever pulled a left trigger, aimed down iron sights and shot a moving opponent, you've played Titanfall. It feels like that. Precisely like that.

I remember sitting at E3 not playing Titanfall, just watching. But because the core of the game was so 'familiar' I could easily imagine what Titanfall would feel like. That's what makes Titanfall such an exciting prospect. We know the core is solid -- pure Call of Duty in the best sense of that phrase. We know the under-the-hood grunt work will take care of itself therefore the crazy, over-the-top sci-fi ballistics is -- almost literally -- the 'visceral' icing atop that cake. The familiarity of Titanfall is such that it allows us to accurately imagine how the crazy stuff will play: the mechs, the double jumps, wall-running. It feels like an organic addition. It has that 'why didn't I think of this' vibe about it.

Familiar is the word. Titanfall feels like a pedestrian task redefined by something completely outlandish. Like washing the dishes, except the dishwater is lemonade. Like taking your dog for a walk in the park, except the park is now a jungle filled with spider monkeys. Like going to Woolworths for milk, except the tellers are now Oompa loompas and the aisles are littered with Ninja Warriors-esque obstacles that you must navigate to pick up your muesli.

After playing Titanfall someone casually mentioned to me that it was a video game that 'felt next-gen'. Again, that phrase. It's almost as dead and meaningless as 'visceral' or 'cinematic' -- but it makes perfect sense in the context that is Titanfall. Titanfall feels next-gen because it takes an experience that is completely familiar to us and re-situates it; expands upon it seamlessly. We are so used to shooting guns in video games -- it's as familiar and banal as folding laundry -- but in Titanfall this experience is redefined, it's made sublime by just a handful of tweaks. It's an idea that seems so simple in hindsight.

Take something familiar and make it... unfamiliar. That's Titanfall.

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Comments

    Dang, it does look good. Makes my PS4 decision a littler harder to swallow....but Im still ok with it.

      Don't worry. Without a doubt Titanfall will come to the PS4 one day.

        Well I spoke to the community manager at the EB expo (Abbie Heppe) and she implied due to the size of the Respawn team that they had no plans to bring it to any other system apart from Xbox One and PC at the moment.

      The only reason i'd consider an Xbone.

        I think it's coming out on PC as well.

          Sorry, i don't PC.

            It looks cool, but I'd wait to see what the performance/visual difference is between PC & XB anyway. After all the BF4 footage passed off as PS4/XBO, that was actually max spec'd PCs, I'm curious how good this will look at release.

      So Wow... I totally didn't realise this ins't coming to Playstation.
      How interesting. Are there many other games, especially AAA titles that come to a single console and PC?
      Could this be a new trend?

        You've got Capcom's Deep Down coming to PS4 and not Xbone. Not sure if it is going PC or not.

          But the difference is deep down looks astonishing bad where as everyone wants to play this :P

      You're always free to own two consoles.

      Just buy it on PC, no doubt it will play a lot better on PC anyway.

        i dont know! Im sure the shooting will as usual be better on PC but maybe the jumping and piloting will be more natural on a controller.

        i remember UT2003 and up on the PC and the double jumping, side stepping and bonus moves etc were a pain.

        that said i am sticking to my PS4 decision for this year. but i may jump in on Xbone if there are games to support that. and a single multiplayer only shooter isnt enough for me

          Strange, when I read this article the first thing I thought was: "Oh, so someone finally remade UT2K3/4 but with robots instead of people? Cool! Finally we'll get another decent FPS instead of this bland two weapon Halo/CoD bollocks." I didn't find the dodging or double jumping terribly difficult - you just had to be ready to take your finger OFF the keyboard a little more.

          As for using a controller, you could always just get a receiver for a controller and then just use a regular controller. Heck, you can do it now for the PC with 360 controllers (and I think PS3 as well), so I imagine it'll be possible with the next gen controllers too. Seriously, $10 off ebay will get you one for current 360 controllers. You may have to mess around a little bit to get it working the first time, but it's straightforward after that. $10 well spent.

    That feeling is not called next-gen. It is called being original.

    Most people have forgotten how games are supposed to be original instead of clones and just dub any original games "next-gen" since it is the trend now.

    I'm pretty sure next thing that will be said is new Dragon Age is "next-gen" because it is a major improvement from DA2 AND it is scheduled for next-gen console.

      Most people have forgotten how games are supposed to be original
      I can't say I agree with this, most games do not have to be original to be good. Trying to be original is not the be all and end all when developing a video game, and a lot of games stand out as being good with out nessercarily being original.

      I'm also going to buck the trend here and say as someone who played Titanfall at the EB Expo, I don't think it's completely original. That's not to say it's a clone of anything, it's just much of the parkour and campaign multiplayer ideas I have played in games like Brink before (Even if the game was let down by other things). However, the game feels and plays great, and still has original ideas like the mechs, the enemy AI in multiplayer and the epilogue concept at the end of matches.

    It does look like a fun game, and I'm keen to try it, but I just can't muster the same amount of hype for it everyone else seems to have, and I think the main reason for that is that it looks so familiar. It's Call of Duty or Battlefield with mechs, or it's Killzone with better mechs, and while those are all solid games, they've never really drawn me in for long periods of time.

      Reminds me more of Planetside 2 then anything else, on a slightly smaller scale but with faster (possibly better but I haven't played it yet) combat.

    IT'S ON PC TOO!!!!!!

    So I am fine with my choice of PS4

    I will munch upon copious amount of Doritos, I will wash them down with some sort of caffeinated drink. I will place my cheese-dust covered digits on my Xbox controller and I will play the ever-loving shit out of this game.

    Isn't this the kind of CoD attitude we wish wasn't in the games industry?

      That was supposed to be a joke, I guess I was just trying to say 'this is the kind of dumb game that will appeal to that crowd, it makes me want to play a game like this'.

        Hey! Remember when Halo 4 advertising was surrounded by bags of Doritos and bottles of Mountain Dew?
        I found that really sad.

          just like how every CoD preorder came with a 4 pack of V or Mother or whatever energy drink company struck the deal with Activision

          -edit-
          I believe it was only EB who did this

          Last edited 09/10/13 11:04 am

      Yeah. It also tells me the Author is a COD fan. And this game appeals to COD fans.....

        Seeing as the game is made by Respawn Entertainment which is essentially Infinity Ward (as in the people originally behind COD), if this game didn't appeal to CoD fans there would be something very wrong.

    " If you’ve ever pulled a left trigger, aimed down iron sights and shot a moving opponent, you’ve played Titanfall. "

    So going by this, it is basically a generic FPS game. I think you failed in your attempt to convince people it is next-gen.

    If you ask me, It is an even more frantic COD style game with a few added bells and whistles, and maybe an attempt to incorporate vehicular combat ala Battlefield.

    It is a good thing for Respawn that I am fine with that. I am just able to call the game out as what it actually is.

    Last edited 09/10/13 11:43 am

      "" If you've ever pulled a left trigger, aimed down iron sights and shot a moving opponent, you've played Titanfall. "

      So going by this, it is basically a generic FPS game."

      Look mate, if you want some whacky bullshit like kinect controlled backflip-whilst-kicking-eggs-to-ADS then that's fine. Personally, though, I'm not against the idea of a shooter feeling like a shooter. What I think Mark was getting at was that it has tight, responsive controls without all the unecessary crap and clunk some shooters get burdened with.

    I haven't actually played this, so I only have videos to go by. It looks okay. I stopped enjoying Call of Duty after about the third game (back when it was WW2) and I've never really cared for the multiplayer. Is there anything here to be excited about in that case?

      From what I understand it will play like Brink in terms of story. As in the story is delivered in the form of multiplayer matches with cutscenes comprising both players & bots.

    Looks pretty exciting, Battlefield with mechs style. It'll come to PS4, devs have already said it's a timed exclusive, so it's cool MicroSoft has something, but also glad that everyone will have the chance to play it. I really hope it succeeds, COD is just an embarrassment to the industry imo and it's about time something other than Battlfield takes a stab at that audience. Good luck to it, hope the devs get that revenge after being fired by Activision.

    Well it will be out for PC, might try this. But I don't really like the fact that it's an online only game,

    It doesn't really give me the same level of excitement as what the author is experiencing

    Last edited 09/10/13 12:07 pm

    I play mainly FPS and this looks fine, but I don't get all the hype over it?

    OMG you can climb in Mechs. But shit, didn't the Unreal Tornament games used to have that stuff? It wasn't that great.

      Correct. You won't get it - until you play it.

      I was wondering where the hype was, until I played it.

      It's the gameplay that'll rope you in. When you get the chance to play it, you'll understand then what the hype is all about.

    I'm excited! You just know the gameplay is going to be really tight with that team behind it and I love the twists on the genre like parkour and mechs. I do wish they had a fully fleshed out single-player campaign as part of the package though, but for economic reasons it makes sense where they're putting their focus.

    Also, that article was really fun to read, thanks Mark!

    I've played this at EB expo. It deserves the hype. The game is amazing and will eat the likes of COD and Battlefield for breakfast.

    Getting this day one, without question.

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