Does Respawn Need A…..Respawn?

Cool title right? No? Awww. I’ll do better.

Ok. So this post is the direct result of Respawn’s recent comments. Apparently, they feel that it is tough to market their triple A title Titanfall due to the lack of a traditional single player mode. My initial thoughts mirrored the majority. The single player experience hasn’t been the focus of a first person shooter in YEARS. So why would the lack of one be a hindrance? Then I thought a little more and realized they may have a point.

See, if you think about it, they make a lot of sense. Think back to Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. Remember the commercial they dropped about 2 weeks before launch? All single player footage. Battlefield 3’s commercial that had people thinking COD KILLER!!! Single player footage. Almost every FPS that is released these days trots out a commercial full of carefully pieced together single player footage. So while we are all correct in stating that the multiplayer is what drives sales, the single player campaign makes the game LOOK good. Think about a Call of Duty commercial with all multiplayer footage. That wouldn’t wow you at all. It wouldn’t look amazing for a second. But a commercial built around major campaign set pieces? That is what makes you go YO DID YOU SEE THAT SON FIRST DAY COP MIDNIGHT RELEASE OMG and all that crap.

So now that we see they may have an actual problem…..How do they fix it? Well, the simplest way is to build a commercial around the actual gameplay. Run some matches, well, a LOT of matches. Get some really good gameplay footage. Splice it together and give it to the world. This is actually the approach they have been taking thus far, and it’s working for buildup purposes. But I’m not so sure that the trailers we’ve seen would make good commercials. They obviously don’t think it will work. Their comments speak to that fact. So what else can they do? Go live action like Sony has lately with their first party titles? That could be pretty cool. Expensive, but cool. Try some abstract marketing campaign that could potentially go viral? Not sure they want to leave things to chance. I really don’t have an answer.

I have no doubt in my mind about Titanfall’s eventual success.  The interesting thing about this situation is just how much goes into trying something new in the gaming industry. By all accounts, this game isn’t entirely new. But this is a decidedly new approach to the modern FPS. Obviously this new path has some new headaches to deal with, but don’t they all? Kudos to Respawn for having their own vision of the future of FPS. I hope it’s fully realized. Crappy commercials or not. See ya around!

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