After EA’s recent closure of Visceral Games and the reallocation of their Star Wars project, a lot of fan cynicism is likely to arise as a result. But what does this really mean for Respawn Entertainment and the future of Titanfall?
With heavier investment into Respawn Entertainment, they will be able to continue bringing us Titanfall titles in the future with more certainty. A closer knit relationship with EA would also mean allowing for more flexibility with release dates. Originally, Titanfall 2 released on October 28th. That’s just seven days after Battlefield 1 arrived on the shelves. As a result, opening week sales suffered badly for Titanfall 2. Although, as time has gone on, Titanfall 2’s incredible multiplayer has been noticed by the gaming community and apparently, by EA too.
With EA’s closer involvement, questions have been raised in relation to Respawn’s creative freedom suffering under the more restrictive rule sets that publishers like EA often impose. In anticipation of this worry, EA Executive Vice President, Patrick Soderlund states, “We want to have the best games. We have a good relationship,” Soderlund said. “The creative freedom is still here: DICE, BioWare, our studios have creative freedom and creative integrity. That’s what gets those studios to make great games.”
Right now, that would actually be more believable after Soderlund helped introduce Hazelight’s A Way Out at this year’s E3. This is a game with very original ideas in storytelling and co-op gameplay that EA have seen fit to help fund. Fans of Respawn Entertainment will also be pleased to know they have plenty of works in the pipeline. Ex Call of Duty creator and CEO of Respawn, Vince Zampella has confirmed in an interview with GamesBeat that Respawn Entertainment will be working on a VR title for the Oculus Rift, another Titanfall game and a Star Wars project that is “coming along fantastically”.
That last one brings us back around to Visceral’s closure and EA’s acquisition of their Star Wars project. When questioned on whether this story and the one of Visceral's closure were at all connected, Zampella confirmed they were not and the two Star Wars projects are completely separate. Although he did remind us of the now added pressures of working under EA, stating Respawn must now deliver consistently brilliant games and continue to innovate. Although, the added resources are welcome. In a closing note, Zampella tells us “For fans, my message is we are still Respawn and we are going to make things better. It doesn’t change the future of Titanfall. Only positives come from it, like more resources.”
After a few controversial decisions surrounding microtransactions in their games, it remains to be seen what future experiences of Respawn’s title will be like. Titanfall’s ongoing monetisation scheme has been very tasteful as they have opted to release all DLC completely free, limiting microtransactions to cosmetics only. Will that continue to be the case? Or will EA’s now added sway affect Respawn’s currently flawless track record with public relations?