The Rise and Fall of Titanfall

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The 2007 release of Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare significantly altered the trajectory of the first-person shooter genre, revolutionizing multiplayer games by introducing now irrevocable standards such as perk and progression systems. In unleashing the groundbreaking experience, developer Infinity Ward turned Call of Duty into a household name, effectively setting the stage for its transition into one of entertainment’s most lucrative brands. But while publisher Activision’s golden goose reached for the stratosphere, a behind-the-scenes falling-out slowly begat a very public legal dispute. Infinity Ward’s ousted co-founders Jason West and Vince Zampella refused to sit idly by after their split from Activision, however, instead striking out on their own with dozens of Call of Duty veterans tagging along.

Respawn Entertainment came as the result of this exodus. And strategic deals with Electronic Arts and Microsoft allowed the studio of industry veterans to venture beyond their wheelhouse, specifically to a distant future ravaged by war, wars fought with wall-running pilots and battle tanks. Frenetic movement ruled the day in Titanfall, alongside the exoskeletons that players could summon mid-battle. Critics and players lauded the first game’s ingenious design, though its online-only accessibility left much to be desired for those who wanted more out of the futuristic world. A second entry righted the wrongs of its predecessor on multiple counts, yet an ill-timed launch window and issues with hackers stunted its potential.

The series more or less lives on in Respawn’s uber popular Apex Legends, but the battle royale lacks many of its forefather’s more enduring charms. Much to the chagrin of Titanfall faithful, any hope for the brand’s proper return never lingers for very long.

This is the rise and fall of Titanfall.


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