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Everything We Know About Titanfall So Far - Preview & Gameplay

Posted on January 23, 2014

Titanfall is a highly-anticipated FPS mech game with a set release date of March 11, 2014. With all the excitement around Respawn Entertainment's first game—the studio founded by Infinity Ward's evicted Jason West and Vince Zampella—we decided to gather as much information about Titanfall as possible to share with you.


Whether you're new to the game entirely or already excited about it, this Titanfall intro & gameplay preview tells you everything we know about the game so far, including information on the weapons, maps, and most importantly, the Titans.


Premise: An Intro to Titanfall

The game takes place in the distant future in a region called 'The Frontier' (creative, we know); humanity has spread into the deepest reaches of space and The Frontier makes up the explored and uncharted territory that exists. There are two warring factions in The Frontier: the Interstellar Manufacturing Company (IMC) and the Militia. The IMC is responsible for the creation of the Titans and is interested in maximizing profits by using all the resources available in The Frontier; the Milita is a part of the Frontier's territorial defense pact. The Milita is fundamentally opposed to the IMC's rapid expansion in The Frontier and has taken action to stop them.

Our ground infantry and Titans are differentiated by their outfit – the IMC has standard-issue, shiny, high-quality Titans and equipment (cleaner textures and models, basically) while the Militia's equipment is scavenged. The DIY Titan route, really.

Titanfall Campaign & Story Implementation

There is no Campaign mode in Titanfall. Respawn decided it would be a waste of cost and labor to create a single-player mode that most players would either not play or would get through in a short amount of time. They focused on building a game on the Source Engine that is multiplayer only – something the Source Engine excels at (see: Counter-Strike, Team Fortress 2). A storyline does exist within the multiplayer mode, though exactly how the storyline is implemented in the game to be seen.

We do know that hero-like (commander) figures are present on the battlefield, in the HUD, and that missions are assigned to the teams by their pre-scripted AI leaders. Multiplayer matches are split into several segments, generally with the overall concept that the IMC aims to overtake the region for resources.

Each match initiates with a drop from our players (pilots). An objective is assigned (standard game modes, below), and once one team accomplishes the objective, the remaining pilots on the losing team can attempt an escape via dropship; the winning team uses this time to kill all the remaining pilots in similar fashion to what happens in BF2 when the tickets for one team expire.


Games are played with 6 PC pilots vs. 6 PC pilots. All pilots have the ability to call in a Titan. Games also feature NPC “minions,” either in the form of Grunts or Spectres. Grunts use similar models and textures to the player pilots and effectively resemble foot infantry; Spectres are bipedal bots (almost 'battle droid'-like) that can be hacked by use of a data knife – this converts them to the hacker's team and sets them to support the hacker in battle until death. Each team has twelve total AI that fight for their team. This makes for matches that are in total 24 v. 24 (48 total 'units' on the battlefield; 12 total human players).

Titanfall Multiplayer Game Modes

Game modes thus far include Attrition and Hardpoint Domination. If more modes are impending, we don't yet have details on them.

Attrition is the standard-issue Team Deathmatch mode: Teams are tasked only with killing the enemy team. The time limit is 10 minutes and winner is the first team to get 250 kills; kills are accrued by killing PC pilots, Titans, and NPC units.

Hardpoint Domination is an objective-based game mode. In this game mode, there are three different capture points on the map (A, B, C) that must be controlled by the teams; while a team has a point captured, points are earned for the team that count toward the win condition (see: inverse of Battlefield's attrition-based ticket system). If an enemy team already has an area captured, your team must first neutralize the point and then capture it for your own team. Standard Domination. Game length is fifteen minutes. Score to win is 400 points.

Titanfall Maps & Level Design

Only three maps have been featured so far in gameplay footage and trailers released by Respawn: Fracture, Lagoon, and Angel City. Fracture features a fuel depot, Lagoon is a run-down shanty town, and Angel City is a war-torn metropolis. We've seen the most of Angel City in official gameplay footage.

TF Fracture Battle TF Lagoon Pilot Titan TF AngelCity Pilot  

Titanfall's level design takes a somewhat unique approach when compared against other modern FPS games. Because of the parkour element—pilots are able to execute Mirror's Edge-like wall-runs, hangs, etc.—our levels are a lot more vertical than in most games. In Call of Duty, Counter-Strike, and even Battlefield (sans aircraft), we're presented with what is effectively a two-dimensional plane with limited Z-axis extrusions. Titanfall's levels feel smaller (X, Y) from what we've seen so far, but make heavy use of heightened buildings, obstacles, and – obviously – titans to add playable vertical space. Because pilots have the best tactical advantage when given height over a Titan (out of the peripheral vision), it's likely that buildings will be used to a greater strategic extent than in most other FPS games. This is amplified by specific gameplay elements (described below), like the ability to effectively hijack and destroy a Titan from the outside.

Who Are the Pilots?


Pilots are the player-controlled characters in Titanfall, the difference between them and grunts being that pilots are specially-trained to use the Titans (mechs) in combat. Pilots have the ability to fight outside of their Titan and have heightened athletic abilities to sprint, jump, wall-run, wall-hang, and jetpack around.

Pilot Loadouts (detailed below) include: a Primary Weapon, an Anti-Titan Weapon, a traditional side arm, a Tactical Ability, an Ordnance, and a Kit (pick two). When a Pilot is inside of their Titan, their loadout (input set) is overridden by the Titan's.

Titan Types, Advantages, & Titan Loadouts


There are three different Titans a player can choose from: the Atlas, the Ogre, and the Stryder.

The Atlas is the default Titan model and is the most balanced in armor, mobility, and firepower. The Ogre is built to take heavy damage. It has a 30% increase in rigidity compared to the Atlas due to its increase in armor; the Ogre features a finishing move where it rips the arm off an enemy Titan and proceeds to pummel the opposition into rage-filled death (“stop hitting yourself!”). The Stryder is the most agile of the Titans. It has a 30% increased thruster capacity (speed) and the lightest core, allowing greater mobility. It has a 23% decrease in armor from the Atlas to give it that increased speed. The Stryder can out-maneuver most Titans, but can be taken down easily by multiple hostiles.

Titan Loadouts have a Weapon, a Tactical Ability, an Ordnance, and a Kit (pick two). Titans also have a core ability. This is an ability that is special to each Titan and must be earned through persistent leveling and profile building. The Atlas, for instance, has a 'Damage Core' ability. The Damage Core ability deals more damage for a certain period of time, then hits a standard cool-down.

It takes four minutes to build a Titan from the start of the match. After this four-minute mark, a player can call in their Titan (the timer persists through death). Players can choose to get inside their Titan and fight or put it in Follow mode or Guard mode. In Follow mode, a Titan will follow a player around the map and attack any enemies that come within its firing range. In Guard mode, a Titan is left to defend its ground, potentially useful for giving warning to the guarded player when doing recon or sniping. Pilots can choose to hitch a ride on their own Titan, a friend's Titan, or get on an enemy Titan and attack it. While Piloting an assaulted Titan, you're alerted to eject and remove the attacker. Once your Titan is destroyed, it takes two minutes for another Titan to be built and deployed.

Continue to page 2 for Titanfall technical analysis (& specification speculation), Titan weapons, Pilot weapons, & loadout information.



Titanfall Weapons – Pilot Weaponry

Primary Weapons:

R-101C Carbine

This weapon has been featured in most of the Titanfall gameplay released up to this point. It is a full-auto, medium-range assault rifle with a 30-round magazine.

EVA-8 Shotgun

The shotgun is semi-automatic gun ('autoshotty') with a 6-round magazine.

Smart Pistol MK5

The Smart Pistol scans for hostile targets within a short-range and locks on to them. Any rounds fired will maneuver to hit the locked targets. Aiming with the iron sights allows the pistol to be used in manual targeting mode. This pistol has a 10-round magazine.

R-97 Compact SMG

The R-97 is a compact sub-machine gun that excels at close-quarters combat. It has a high rate of fire, low recoil, and a 40-round magazine.

Longbow-DMR Sniper

The Longbow-DMR (designated marksman rifle) sniper is effectively an auto-sniper, as found in the Counter-Strike series. It has a 6x zoom and requires numerous hits to take down a target (~4). You can read more about sniping in Titanfall and the removal of quick-scoping over here.

Anti-Titan Weapons:

Sidewinder AT-SMR

The Sidewinder is a rapid fire rocket launcher with a 25- round magazine. It's effective against large targets, but lacks precision due to its wide spread. The rockets that are fired do not have a large blast radius. This is reminiscent of the Unreal Tournament rocket launcher.

Archer Heavy Rocket

The Archer fires a single powerful homing rocket that requires several seconds to lock-on to the target.


Hammond P2011

The Hammond is a precision semi-auto pistol with a 12-round magazine. It has “good accuracy and damage at range” and has an integrated 'match trigger' which allows it to be fired rapidly.

Re-45 Autopistol

The Auto pistol is a close-range automatic pistol with a 20-round magazine.

Tactical Abilities:


The Cloak makes you almost completely invisible to Titans and Minions, but is not quite as effective against Pilots. A slight shimmer can be seen around the player's cloaked model.


The Stim pack boosts movement speed and health regeneration for a short period of time.


Frag Grenade

A standard high-explosive (HE) fragmentation grenade. High damage in a large blast radius, but single-shot; it appears that cooking the grenade is not possible/necessary in Titanfall.

Arc Grenade

Arc Grenades do less damage than Fragmentation Grenades, but arc-out lightning in their blast radius. This can be used as a low-power EMP that distorts the vision systems of nearby Titans and Pilots.

Kit (pick 2):

Power Cell

Allows Pilot's tactical ability to recharge faster.

Explosives Pack

Pilot Carries an extra ordnance

Dome Shield Battery

Titan's initial dome-shield lasts longer (normal shield time is 30 seconds)

Minion Detector

Reveals all grunts and spectres on your minimap, all the time.

Enhanced Parkour Kit

Allows extended wall-run and wall-hang

Other Known Pilot Weapons

Data Knife – Used to hijack Spectres. We speculate that this is a 'constant' weapon that is likely triggered by button press (i.e. 'f' in Call of Duty).

Satchel – An explosive (C4) of some type.

Titanfall Weapons – Titan Weaponry


XO-16 Chaingun

The Chaingun is a rapid-fire, heavy-bullet, automatic 'minigun' with an 80-round magazine.

40mm Cannon

The 40mm Cannon is semi-automatic and uses 40mm HE rounds (effectively grenades). It has a 14-round magazine.

Arc Cannon

The Arc Cannon creates lightning arcs between hostiles, capable of damaging numerous enemies simultaneously.

Titan Rocket Launcher (may no longer exist)

We spotted this in an old gameplay video and aren't sure of the specifics – it has likely been renamed to the Quad Rocket (below).

Quad Rocket

Fires four rockets per volley – similar to the right-click-hold volley delivered by UT3's famed red rocket launcher. The rockets are inaccurate at longer ranges, but stick in a tight, spiraling cluster until delivered to the target.

Tactical Ability:

Vortex Shield

This is an electromagnetic forcefield/shield ability that is used to grab enemy projectiles in mid-air before returning them back to the owner.


Rocket Salvo

This is attached to the Titan and launches an unguided rocket swarm. Good for panicked defense at the last minute. Fwshhooom.

Kit (pick 2):


Titan degrades slower when doomed.

Regen Booster

Titan's body-shield regenerates faster.


Pilot ejects and cloaks automatically when the Titan is doomed.

Nuclear Ejection

Titan goes nuclear when you eject, damaging those around it. See also: Martyrdom in Call of Duty.


Not a lot is known about the Snipers in Titanfall even after the closed Alpha. Respawn did make an announcement about sniping in the game, stating it would be a “different sort of animal.” It does appear an auto-sniper exists as a Primary Weapon for the Pilot (I was secretly hoping for a car-sized Titan sniper rifle), but that's about it. Early player opinions of the Longbow-DMR Sniper is that it acts more like a designated marksman rifle than a traditional sniper rifle.

Titanfall Control Scheme & Button Layout

For those playing with a controller or on an Xbox, we know of four button layouts available in Titanfall: Default, Fruit Loop, Bumper Jumper, and Button Kicker. With each button layout comes the ability to make it “lefty-friendly.” Layouts are as follows:

TitanfallBumperJumper TitanfallButtonKicker TitanfallFruitLoop


PC players – most of us – can expect traditional WASD / 1234 / QEFG / CTRL+Shift input options.

Titanfall User Interface

The layout on the screen is similar to most FPS titles and is easy to figure out. Interestingly, the interface is more of an overlay (HUD) than plastered 2D game interface, which has interesting implications for Oculus Rift users (could work well with the Rift).

The top-left hosts our radar. Large enemy dots on the radar indicate Pilots, the small dots are minions. During Hardpoint Domination, the A, B, and C points are marked on the radar with rectangles. We're not sure yet if firing will automatically place you on the radar. The top-right is where the Vid-Com appears to feed the player information about objectives or about their Titan (from NPCs). The bottom-left of the screen is where the scoreboard and time limit are located. This area shows who controls the objectives in hardpoint domination. Blue is for IMC, red is for the Militia.

In the bottom-middle is a bar that shows the LB and RB controls (because all the demo footage is run using an Xbox controller), indicating your chosen ability and ordnance. The killfeed lives above this bar. Any kills, points, actions, etc. appear here. On the right is where the rest of the killfeed goes. The bottom-left shows our active weapon and the remaining ammo. The bottom right shows Titan information: When your Titan is being built, called-in, or shielded, you'll see the countdown here; this is also where the Titan health-bar appears in Guard or Follow mode.

Upon death, the interface switches to a kill-cam. You can spawn-in as either a Pilot or a Titan, if it's available. There's no spawn delay, so players choose when they spawn-in.

Titanfall Gameplay Analysis, Predictions, and Thoughts

Taking into account Pilots, Titans, weapons, and maps, Titanfall is going to have many layers of design to learn. The different ways you can pair-up your Pilot and Titan loadouts create a wide range of skill levels and replayability. You'll have players who solely enjoy getting a Titan, getting inside, and blowing everything up until they either win or get destroyed; then you'll have players who have been featured in the gameplays released by Respawn, where the Titan and Pilot are used seamlessly. For example, a Pilot inside of a Titan got to a domination point, then got out of the Titan and put it in guard mode; while the Titan guarded the outside of the domination point, the pilot went to capture it and kill on foot. After the point was captured, the Pilot went back inside the Titan and defended the area from there.

This is a very basic strategy, but it's just the start of what players are going to do with their Titans. With every player having the ability to call in a Titan, the strategies available for people who play together are also vast. A team could coordinate their Titans so they all come in at the same time and work as a Titan group to slay the other team, or they could let the other team call in their Titans and destroy them before using their own. When a Titan is destroyed, it isn't available again for almost 2 minutes. That's more than enough time to call in your team's Titans and gain ground, accomplish objectives, or get kills before the other team gets their Titans again. Map control is important in any FPS, so being able to control where the other team has to drop their Titans is going to put them at a disadvantage.

The three maps that we know of have been featured in the gameplay videos that have been released. Angel City is the map that has been shown the most. The city doesn't follow a grid-layout, but does offer short-to-medium line-of-sight and larger areas that will be convergent points. There are some buildings that are open for Pilots to go inside and it looks like all of them can be climbed on. The buildings vary in height and offer different vantage points for Pilots to battle Titans and other Pilots.

The agility of the Pilots coupled with their ability to hide in/atop buildings makes it difficult for Titans in the city. Titan vs. Titan fights featured in the Angel City gameplay happen in larger areas where buildings are more sparse or in the open park area. This is likely due to the tactical disadvantage of Titans walking between buildings, which expose them for multi-pronged attacks. Angel City is a map where the Stryder Titan might be the most useful.

Fracture is the map featured in Respawn's E3 gaming demo. This map features large buildings and a couple wide-open areas. This map has long lines-of-sight and a lot of room for Titans. The Ogre and the Atlas would be very effective on this map. While the Stryder could quickly duck behind buildings, if caught in an open area, I'd anticipate a rapid death. Two-to-three players shooting an Atlas tend to bring it down quickly, I'm sure that in an open area a Stryder wouldn't stand a chance versus even one Pilot. This map also features areas where Titans can get on top of and inside of buildings based on size/location.

Titanfall wallpaper2560x1440

Competitive Play

Titanfall has some interesting competitive possibilities. Because of its heavier focus on gameplay and on more functional aspects of the technical side – like the longer draw distance and 60FPS framerate –Titanfall will enable high-level competitive play should Respawn decide to. The casual market is far more important for success and overall market penetration, but there's no disputing the continued march of eSports in the industry.

The issue with Titanfall is its player-count, though: 6 vs. 6 is a lot of players to find for a team – looking to CS:S and LoL, teams struggle just to get five reliable players, so 6 could shut a lot of teams out. If competitive play happens, I'd suspect they'd drop the player-count and potentially box-in the maps.

Quick Titanfall Technical Analysis: Resolution, Textures, & Framerate (FPS) // Steve

I'll let GN's Steve take this part of the article:

We know for certain that Respawn Entertainment has officially stated its heavy emphasis on delivering a constant 60FPS framerate on the modern consoles (Xbox One, PS4), both of which run on AMD's Jaguar microarchitecture. Jaguar is an impressive APU for consoles, but has very obvious limitations in its graphics output – the chip operates at a low TDP to minimize thermal stress (a common killer of previous-gen boxes), so it pushes approximately 1.23TFLOPS on the Xbox One; it's certainly powerful in its own right, but doesn't come close to some of the PC hardware we have available. Developers are still learning to leverage AMD's architecture and optimize for advanced graphics technologies, so these first few games in the new generation will be far more limited in their prowess than ensuing titles.

All of this stated, in order to hit a constant 60FPS, it's likely that Titanfall will run natively at 900p (or 720p on the low-end) and upscale to 1080p; this could produce some noticeable sub-pixel shimmering on higher-end displays, but will largely be acceptable. PC players can expect standard resolution options in the settings.

In reviewing existing footage on the web, it appears that Titanfall has taken a step back from the heavy use of soft-body dynamics in modern shooters (see: Battlefield 4, Crysis 3); we haven't seen any evidence of procedural environmental damage yet and most of the physics interactions executed upon object collision with Titans appear to be rigid-body (see: Titans walking into low walls, trees, buildings). This is likely in large part due to system resource allocation concerns, but it is also possible that some of these decisions were made for gameplay reasons; upon discussion, Paige (whom you've been reading this entire time) and I decided that building destruction would diminish quality of play. Because Titans are plentiful and likely to hit nearly everything in the map with weaponry, the destruction of buildings would eliminate some of the unique vertical play-space given to players. It also risks the mitigation of pilot effectiveness as matches progress, given that pilots' primary sources of efficacy (and fun, to that point) are in building/object interactions and tight cornering capabilities.

So for this reason, I can get behind the omission of procedural / scripted structural degradation.

There was some criticism directed toward Respawn after several videos of their technical alpha leaked; users pointed-out the low-resolution textures and noted that the overall fidelity of the game felt diminished as a result. Upon further research, an alleged Titanfall developer commented on a NeoGaf thread (a common source of leaked industry information), stating:

“All textures in this Alpha Test build are at 25% of the final game's resolution. So if you're staring at a 256x256 texture, that's actually a 512x512 texture in the real game. 512? That's a 1024. It's a huge, huge, huge difference. Especially on terrain, weapons, cockpits, hands, effects, etc.

There's a reason the build is under NDA. It's not for showing off, or giving people a fair idea of what the game looks like, or for pixel counting. You'll still have your chance to scream 'lolz pixels lazy devs Goldeneye N64 lololololol,' but now is not the time.”

At 25% their maximum resolution, a 256x256 texture (65536 pixels) should ship at 512x512 (262144 pixels) upon launch; doubling the square (length x width) quadruples the texel count. If this information is correct, the game should have a massive difference in appearance upon beta/alpha.

Keep in mind that the technical alpha was likely released for stability purposes and specific bug testing (CTDs, maybe), so it wasn't meant to be pretty. In fact, the entire package equated a tiny 4GB, indicative of where the 'low quality' comes into play.

Finally, I wanted to point-out (again) that the draw distance / view distance in Titanfall appears to be effectively limitless, at the moment; from the gameplay footage I've seen, it looks to me that rendering stops only when your vision hits a physical blockade. Further, a focus on static objects and non-interactive backdrops (ships battling above, background city) should further enhance the feeling of large scale from the ground. This allows level designers to play tricks to more uniquely utilize their full design space without creating a resource-intensive, horizontal-focused level, as seen in Battlefield.

Titanfall Specs - Titanfall Minimum System Requirements & Recommended Specs

I'm completely speculating based on existing knowledge of hardware and games here, so these are not official numbers. We are expecting an official statement from Respawn in the coming weeks.

SPECULATIONTitanfall Minimum RequirementsRecommended Specs
Operating SystemWindows 7 64-bit
Windows 8 / 8.1 64-bit
(Speculation: XP likely to be unsupported;
32-bit likely to be unsupported)
Windows 7 64-bit
Windows 8 / 8.1 64-bit
(Speculation: XP likely to be unsupported;
32-bit likely to be unsupported)
CPUUncomfortable speculating.FX-4100 / i3-3220 (or equivalent) or higher.
GPULikely near GTX 260 (or equivalent)Likely HD 7850 2GB or GTX 650 Ti Boost 2GB
(assuming max settings @ 1080p in a standard
source engine game).
System MemoryLikely 2GBLikely 4GB+
Storage SpaceUnknown. Based on trends, more than 10GB.Unknown. Based on trends, more than 10GB.

The Source Engine is fairly small, compact, and not very demanding. Unless Respawn have done some seriously heavy graphics stuff -- which we've seen all the evidence to contradict such a thought -- it's likely that Titanfall will run on a pretty slim system. Keep in mind that the game has been in development for 3-4 years now, before we know the finalized console specs, so it is likely that Titanfall was built conservatively and without major optimization practices; developers are still learning new console hardware.

Back to Paige.

Titanfall Thoughts & Conclusion // Paige

Titanfall is bringing a lot of changes to the FPS genre that are going to appeal to a wide range of players: Combining old elements of twitch shooters (Quake, Unreal) and tactical shooters, the possibilities for casual pub-stomping are endless. The FPS genre has been dominated by Call of Duty, Battlefield, and Halo titles for years; these games have ranged from being completely static to changing so much they lost their core fan-base. Titanfall is offering something new. The game mechanics are designed to encourage fast-paced play without entering the realm of old-school twitch shooters. Titans get players out of buildings and inside giant wrecking machines. This game isn't just for the FPS fan, but for anyone who gave up on FPS games over the last few years. Titanfall releases on the Xbox 360, the Xbox One, and PC.

- Editorial: Paige “dino pillow” Spears.
- Video Editing, technical analysis: Steve “Lelldorianx” Burke.