Respawn Entertainment’s second stab at pilot / mech action was a critical darling that fell victim to absurd release scheduling and a flat marketing campaign. Could a nasty case of sequel-itus also be to blame for its lacklustre sales? Perhaps. But for anyone still on the fence, Titanfall 2 is a meticulously crafted, generous package. The single player is far better than it has any right to be, and the steady stream of free updates have kept a small but passionate multiplayer fan base thoroughly engaged since launch.

And those numbers are steadily growing. Positive word of mouth, a number of digital and in store sales, and regular communication from Respawn has helped keep the conversation alive. Looking further ahead, is a player count boosting trip to the EA Access vault on the horizon? Perhaps to coincide with a certain E3 press conference later this year?

In the meantime, a healthy schedule of further DLC has been outlined between now and June, with the most recent free update, ‘A Glitch in the Frontier’ (featuring a fantastic extra pilot execution that finds a gruesome new use for the pulse blade), coming hot on the heels of the recent ‘Colony Reborn’ patch.

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Their strategy of providing all multiplayer maps free of charge is a smart one. It seems to be happening a lot with bigger budget releases, to great effect and positive reception. Gears of War 4 and Halo 5 adopted a similar approach, ensuring their own player counts stayed healthy and didn’t fragment. For me, the concept of premium map packs and season passes for competitive multiplayer shooters is starting to feel a tad outdated... (SIDE NOTE: Respawn have offered premium cosmetic items for both Pilots and Titans to supplement their revenue). However, this flurry of ongoing support does pose a more fundamental question: has the damage already been done? The first game was a massive success in the early days of the Xbox One (and on PC), and the potential of a multi platform sequel seemed like a no brainer.   

But the aforementioned sandwiching between EA’s own Battlefield 1 and Activision’s Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare heralded many cries of ‘dead on arrival’ when Titanfall 2 made its debut. The odds were stacked against them. Still, they soldiered on, and the promise of further maps, game modes, customisation options, and even a brand new Class of Titan has certainly piqued my interest. In fact, I’d go as far as saying the commitment and determination shown on the part of Respawn to make this work despite so many factors outside of their control is industry leading.

Based on the information that’s already out there, along with a healthy dose of speculation and dreaming ‘big’, here’s what we’d like to see in future Titanfall 2 updates:

THE SEVENTH TITAN

We already know a brand new Titan class is being added to the game. One possibility we’d like to see is a modular B.T. style chassis (your companion from the single player), allowing you to mix and match Titan abilities from the many different existing classes. You would effectively be assembling your own custom Titan, catering to your play style and affording greater flexibility in combat. The potential for balancing issues here could be disastrous, but a power based system (akin to the one tied to the Ion class special moves), forcing each weapon to draw energy from a shared resource, could help mitigate that problem.

A Call of Duty-esque perk mechanic could also work well, assigning a value to each available ability and forcing players to make tough choices on what they can take into battle. Do you want the Ion’s Vortex Shield, Ronin’s melee sword, and the Northstar’s longer range rifle… but in doing so, you sacrifice access to one additional weapon? This would definitely extend the robust pilot customisation even further, and add a layer of depth to assembling your preferred loadout. We’d also love to see an offensive shield focused class, combining the melee strength of a Ronin with the intense, close range damage of Scorch’s Thermal Shield. This could lead to some really interesting extreme short range encounters, with the possibility for other Titans to flank at range.

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TITANFALL 2 - THE BEST SHOOTER YOU’RE NOT PLAYING…

EDITORIAL
By JAY TEE
03/05/17

THE BASICS

A fast paced, on foot / mech hybrid shooter that combines a short but memorable single player with a continually expanding multiplayer component.

PLATFORMS

PS4, Xbox One, and PC.

PLAYERS

Offline - 1, Online - 12

CO-OP / MULTIPLAYER

Competitive multiplayer across several modes.

DOWNLOADABLE CONTENT

Plenty of free maps and new gameplay modes, as well as premium cosmetic DLC.  

Oooooooooooooooooooo… NEW TITAN…

The latest map, ‘Glitch’, feels like something ripped straight from the first game, with increased focus on wall running and flanking. Perfect, medium sized arena. And free!

EMBRACE CO-OP

I realise Horde modes are hardly revolutionary, but a progressive, objective based game type (akin to Call of Duty: Ghost’s massively under appreciated ‘Extinction’ saga) would feel right at home in Titanfall 2. Waves of enemies, randomly placed objectives, and even some light story telling, expanding on the single player, would make for an awesome addition. Left 4 Dead 2 nailed environmental storytelling with its graffiti notes and unique character dialogue, and I’d love to see a similar approach implemented here.

EA ACCESS

This is a no brainer. Get this game added to the Vault. I’ve waxed lyrical about this before. “Player counts will skyrocket, you’ll make WAY more money from customisation DLC, and the surge in gamer interest could pave the way for the sequel this game so richly deserves. If Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst can make the jump to your subscription service within a few months of it bombing, then surely Titanfall 2 has a shot at redemption?”

GET CREATIVE WITH PILOT ABILITIES

I absolute adore the Northstar’s Tether Trap. Why not make this a deployable weapon for Pilots? How about the option to choose whether to IMMEDIATELY chuck a grenade down a Titan’s throat when boarding, OR steal a battery for yourself or a friend? What about a Titan repair tool, that would allow Pilots to help out a friend (or repair their own companion) at the expense of being unable to carry an anti-Titan weapon? These would be fairly simple to implement, and open the door for all kinds of co-operative opportunities.