Respawn Entertainment's Titanfall is a bit of a technical stunner, albeit not so much in terms of raw visual grunt as in terms of how it makes use of Xbox One's cloud capabilities. Speaking to OXM in our latest issue, however, software engineer Jon Shiring has resisted the idea that you should buy Titanfall on the strength of its technology alone.
"We're not going to try to say, 'You should buy this game for technical reasons'," he told us. "The game is awesome on all fronts - the gameplay is really new and different, and I think that's what people want."
As you hopefully know by now, Titanfall is an always-online multiplayer endeavour in which teams of human Pilots, AI troopers and hulking, summonable mechs do battle. As with all Xbox One developers, Microsoft has furnished Respawn with access to free dedicated servers and remote processing power; the latter is being used to run AI calculations, allowing the developer to field large armies of computerised cannon fodder alongside 14 human players and as many as 14 self-piloting Titans (exact player headcounts are still TBC for all modes).
Shiring offered a few more insights on Titanfall's Xbox cloud support in the mag piece. "The extra bandwidth is what lets us build a world with moving objects, and the available CPU is what lets us do things like AI," he said. "It's not just a bullet flying through the air and moving and causing network data, it's an actual AI that's making decisions and trying to shoot at things and looking around.
AI soldiers serve a number of purposes in Titanfall. For one thing, they're a source of easily grindable XP. For another, converting AI troops to your cause using a Data Knife is a way of putting pressure on the other team. "Even at the top level, the AI will always provide this mix that has unpredictable results and it keeps it interesting and exciting," observed game designer Mackey McCandlish. "They can help or hinder depending on how you learn to interact with them."
Titanfall is out in March for Xbox 360, Xbox One and PC.