Tech Analysis: Titanfall


May 4, 2013

With the deluge of next-gen shooters such as Destiny, Killzone: Shadow Fall and The Division content to stick to a 30fps baseline, it's clear that the ramp-up of environmental scale, higher grade effects and online integration perhaps excites developers more than slick frame-rates. However, given the yearly sales domination of 60fps franchises like Call of Duty this isn't necessarily the next-gen reality for which some gamers had hoped - even though luminaries like John Carmack suggested that this may be the case. In response, Respawn Entertainment comes from the shadows with its debut sci-fi first-person shooter, Titanfall. Described as a multiplayer-only experience for Xbox One, Xbox 360 and PC, the team builds on a well-established pedigree in console FPS design by working from a "60fps first" template - adding frills only where it fits around that core ideal.

Looking at the birth of the project it's a surprise to find that, of all the engines it could pick, Valve's Source engine comes up top of its list - though there are many reasons why this makes sense. Firstly, it has allowed a relatively small team to get production of the game up and running quickly, having begun the project in earnest under three years ago. Advantages of using the engine also include strong support for networked play, low latency controls owing to a streamlined rendering pipeline, compatibility with multi-core setups, and excellent optimisation for x86 platforms.

This adds to the prospect of an eventual PS4 release, being designed to that very architecture, though currently Respawn remains coy on the point of any Sony-bound ports, only stating that "it's definitely not out of the question" for the future. A timed exclusive is perhaps the likeliest scenario here, so we suspect that it's just a matter of how much sand remains in the hourglass.

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