The Abandoning of Campaign-centric Design Part 2
After a weekend of playing the Titanfall Alpha, Blankman wrote an excellent post on The Abandoning of Campaign-centric Design. Capping off the discussion, he provided a link to a new interview with Respawn’s senior map designer Mohammad Alavi.
The great thing about telling the same story from two different points of view is that you can tackle character motivations and plot points from various different perspectives. When you play as the Militia you’ll see one side of the fight. As the plot progresses you’ll accompany the main characters on their adventure, learning their motivations and back story. Even though the plot will make complete sense from start to finish, you’re only getting half the picture. After you’ve completed the campaign on one side, you’ll have to play from the other to fully grasp the scope of events that you participated in. It’s also really cool to see how the “other side” perceives the faction you just played on – it’s interesting how propaganda and labelling can be used to demonise the “enemy.”
I am going to make most of you here wince, but this is really almost identical to the approach Splash Damage was attempting with Brink. The difference is the experience, talent, and resources of Respawn which is ensuring top-notch production values from animations to sound bites to intense, engaging gameplay and (most relevantly to this comparison) rock-solid network coding. Respawn will succeed where Splash Damage failed.
I was not given a code, so I am not under NDA and can speak freely about the Alpha. I can attest that throughout my game time, the instruction and information given via “radio chat” literally took my breath away. Over and over again, I was astonished (gratefully) by the sound bites, “Did the narrator just tell me that?” This was not Cortana telling me three seconds after I entered a tunnel that I should go over to that hole in the side of a mountain, or some stupid voice telling me for the 10th time in 30 seconds “Bruthas, For the Aaaaark!”.
In the trailer embedded below, the audio seems like typical campaign, narrator-in-your-helmet stuff and it does that element of the game no justice at all. The info given via audio in Titanfall is pin-point accurate in its relevance and timeliness. It is succinct, helpful, and immersive. It was one of the most impressive features of the unforgettable Alpha. In the game proper, it is contextually perfect, and it is a game-changer.
I pine for Titanfall this weekend.
This was just released officially via the EA channel. It is footage that everyone has seen already, but as mentioned above, relevant to this discussion.