Titanfall recently made something of a world tour; an early opportunity to get hands-on with the first-person shooter that’s blowing minds and sealing Xbox One console purchases. We had the opportunity to speak with Respawn’s community manager Abbie Heppe about Titanfall and it’s incredible reception at the Tokyo Game Show.
- So Abbie you just got back from TGS, we heard about the four-hour queues for Titanfall – how was that experience?
It was crazy, we weren’t really exactly sure how Titanfall would read with the Japanese audience. It’s a first-person shooter and that hasn’t always been the biggest genre there, so it was like ‘Eh, we’ll go to Japan and see what happens’ and the coolest thing was that we came away and got a ton of feedback about the Titans from the Japanese audience there, and it was really nice. It’s probably the biggest compliment you can get, that you take mechs to Japan and they like them. That was awesome.
- You’ve been to TGS in the past, what was the reaction around Titanfall like compared with other FPS games you’ve seen demoed at the expo?
I remember going on press days and seeing some very empty… like, you were able to just walk up and play Halo [Reach]… I think I saw someone tying there shoes on one of the booths and then you’d walk away and there was a six-hour wait for Monster Hunter Tri and you just go like, “Holy shit!”. I mean if you were at E3 it would be the exact opposite. It’s really cool because it gives you perspective on what games and the games industry are like in other parts of the world.
- The Western audience seems obsessed with the speed and verticality of the maps, what elements of the game are exciting the Japanese gamers ?
It was very mech heavy. The funny thing is, when we were first starting to figure out how we were going to talk about Titanfall it was like ‘lets not use the word mech’. Because mech has, especially with Western gamers, an association of slow and heavy, and you have these expectations of gameplay that really wasn’t what Titanfall is. We really shied away from the word and then we went to Japan and it was really embraced there. ‘Ok, so we are going to talk about mech here.’
- Do you think always online is still the future of gaming?
The plan was always online for us, so it was an easy answer for us when people say ‘well how do you feel about that’, well we were always an online only multiplayer game anyway. It doesn’t have the same impact on us as necessarily would have on somebody else. It’s such a weird one, I think about the way I play games now, even when I’m playing single players game I’m ‘always online’. I’m always seeing that this person popped up on my friends list, it’s this very social and online even when I’m playing by myself. Unless you turn off all notifications and ignore the world. Even when I play on my phone I’m always online. I travel so much I tend to play a ton on mobile devices.
It very much is [always online] even when you’re not playing a multiplayer game, because we’ve made the social experience so much of what gaming is now. I get very frustrated when online features aren’t up to speed, I think it’s really just expected. But we have the easy bullet dodging, ‘we’re an online only game’ but I do think there is room for the a single player experience, and for stuff that isn’t necessarily online. I think you’re going to see more of it [multiplayer]. Even when they’re a single player game, they want to have a multiplayer component, which is sort of silly because I think developers should do what they are best at, and I hate the idea of somebody being forced into adding something into their game that they don’t want to do.
I think there is a lot the future generation is going to be able to do in terms of matchmaking, in terms of connecting gamers that’s going to make that social experience not feel forced.