Titanfall 2 Interview: Art Director Talks Campaign, 60 FPS, Launching Close to Battlefield 1 and More

on August 30, 2016 12:58 PM

Recently, DualShockes had a chance to chat with Titanfall 2 Art Director Joel Emslie, and he provided quite a lot of interesting details on the upcoming game, that will launch on PS4, Xbox One and PC on October 28th.

Emslie talked about the single player campaign, how the team feels about launching close to Battlefield 1, the importance of hitting the 60 frames per second spot on all platforms, and much more.

Read everything he told us below.

Giuseppe Nelva: There are two FPS games coming out very soon and very close to each other under the Electronic Arts umbrella, Titanfall 2 by you guys and Battlefield 2 by the folks at DICE. Is there any friendly rivalry or collaboration between the two studios?

Joel Emslie: Yeah there’s definitely collaboration between us. We’re part of the same family, and I think if you really look at Battlefield and Titanfall, they are two completely different games.

Even in the same first-person shooter genre, they bring completely different games to the table, which I think for the developers it’s good, because we inspire each other in different ways, but the community of gamers always wins in this situation.

They get triple-A games, and they get variety, and they get to choose where they spend their time, and how, and I think that’s great. Just play your choice. That’s really all that happens there.

G: Could there be at least a little bit of friendly competition?

JE: I think everybody’s always trying to push each other, but as far as i know, we’re just so different that it’s it’s not even a thought.

To me shipping shipping Titanfall 2 and completing it, and bringing it to the market, is a huge win already. I think what’s really cool, having EA as a publisher, is having two juggernauts releasing in the same window.

It’s pretty awesome, because we know that they’ve got their end covered and we have ours, and I think if another publisher was trying to compete with it, that’s a tough tough game to play or keep up with.

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G: What’s the lead development platform the for the game?

JE: Now it’s kind of weird, i think that everything is kind of built in tandem. You know, with the compressed timeline that we developed the game on, we’re always doing everything simultaneously, so there really isn’t a lead platform to develop on. We treat them all equal, with equal quality and equal approach.

G: When did you start developing? Immediately after Titanfall, or there was a little bit of delay doing DLC and maps?

JE: Yeah there was a little bit. And there were some good things that came out of DLC that worked their way into Titanfall 2. So i think i would say we did DLC for a while… A couple months… You know, I want to say we took a break after Titanfall, and like a few months after we started started going at it, because we knew we wanted to add single player, and that was a large undertaking.

So we knew it was going to take time and we we wanted to use as much time as possible to get there.

G: So it’s been like a couple of years in development?

JE: Yeah, nearly two years on that project.

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G: That’s actually quite quick. You achieved a lot in a relatively short time.

JE: Well, we we have a history ofdeveloping games in two years. We like to keep it that way. From a development standpoint, it keeps you honest and it keeps your
deadlines on the horizon. You don’t get lost. Otherwise you can kind of get caught in patterns of development and you can go on forever.

I think it keeps the objective clear.

G: Do you already know the resolutions on all platforms? Are they already finalized?

JE: The resolutions are still a little bit development. We have some features where we’re still putting the finishing touches on, that could help the resolution of the
game, but it’s something that we don’t want roll out at this point, or talk about because we’re not sure if it’s right for the game and if it works properly.

Everything that we put in a game has to go through a vetting process to make sure that it’s right, and that includes resolutions. Making sure that we still get that 60 FPS, that low latency both in single-player and in multiplayer.

G: So it’s going to be 60 FPS on all platforms?

JE: Yes. We strive for that. That’s really a huge huge goal in our minds. We feel that Titanfall runs its best at 60 FPS.

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G: The single player campaign… It’s a big thing, especially for me, since I absolutely suck at FPS games in multiplayer…

JE: Me too (laughs).

G: Yet, I enjoy the single player a lot…

JE: For the single player, we really heard the community. It was very very vocal about wanting a single player, and the entire crew has a pedigree of doing single-player games.

And, you know, why not why not take on that challenge for Titanfall 2, and learning from the ins and outs of Titanfall and bringing that into a narrative, and not just going down a list of check marks for single player, but building something really special.

Even I was surprised by the single-player, and how it turned out. There’s a lot of variety. The locales are extremely exotic, and we had to approach it very carefully to figure out how to, number one build a relationship with your Titan, not just have this disposable character personality around you, but have something that you can actually start caring about… But also keep that really high speed fluid parkhour nature with the pilots, and weave that into your puzzle-solving, and dealing AI, and working with your titan. That’s a huge undertaking.

G: Actually I have seen that there is quite a bit of humor in the titan too. Is that something you specifically aimed for?

JE: Yeah, I think what we were aiming for was lots of personality, and I think when you Inject personality into the story and the single player, you can have these moments where people are actually laughing along with the story. I think it’s a good thing.

It’s good not to take things too seriously, and have a little bit of light-hearted moments once in a while.

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G: You said that there is a lot of variety in the campaign. How meaty is the single player going to be? Can we consider it at least as meaty as the multiplayer, or it’s something that can be seen more as an addition to the multiplayer? Do you have an idea of how long the campaign is?

JE: I think people speculated, but we’re not talking about how long it is at this moment, but it’s a lot longer than people would expect. And it’s a completely separate entity from multiplayer. It’s developed separately by a separate team under the same roof. We have a multiplayer team and a single player team.

They work in tandem, they feed off of each other, they share ideas, and single player was a fantastic place for us to actually show off our multiplayer titans and their personalities that come with that, along with their mechanics.

So if you want to, you can hop in the single player, play offline and experience some of the multiplayer mechanics, and learn them there in a safer environment, and in a more digestible, slower-paced environment.

G: In the single player gameplay that you showcased, it also looks like you change titans, but that kind of conflicts with the idea of bonding with yours. How does that work?

JE: Without spoiling, you don’t change titans. Your titan, in the lore of Titanfall 2, he was specifically created by the Militia for the first time. He can encounter other boss titans and synthesize their weapons and abilities. He is a very special type of titan.

His loadout can adapt, and there are some really cool details that we have added in there. Like when you’re not piloting him, and he is running around on his own, he’s a leftie. He fires from the left. When you’re piloting him, he is right-handed.

It’s a nice visual language, and our animators are always trying to find ways to show when a titan is being piloted as opposed as running around on their own. Your titan has layers of subtlety all put together, he has a lot of extra bones in animations that help him emote, so you can connect with him even more.

G: One last question: How close are you to gold?

JE: Very close, but even before coming to Gamescom I i found out that we had a little extra time last week, and I’m like “More! Get more artists on this! We need to add more!” That’s because one of the things we also heard from the community was a request for more titans for multiplayer, more weapons, more customization, and we heard loud and clear, and everybody in the entire team has been doing everything they possibly can to get everything we possibly can in the box.

There are six titans in multiplayer, and they all have unique core abilities, and there are more pilots that also have unique core abilities specific to each pilot. So there is a lot there. You can level up your titan and pilot independently on their own. You can level out your weapon on its own, and unlock all this cool stuff for it. There is plenty of customization.

 /  Executive News Editor
Hailing from sunny (not as much as people think) Italy and long standing gamer since the age of Mattel Intellivision and Sinclair ZX Spectrum. Definitely a multi-platform gamer, he still holds the old dear PC nearest to his heart, while not disregarding any console on the market. RPGs (of any nationality) and MMORPGs are his daily bread, but he enjoys almost every other genre, prominently racing simulators, action and sandbox games. He is also one of the few surviving fans of the flight simulator genre on Earth.
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