Yesterday, there was a rumor that reached our ears which suggested that Respawn Entertainment, the developer that was formed by some Infinity Ward veterans, would release their very first game on Xbox only. This news has been music to those fearing the worst for the unannounced console, as many people have been blown away by other offerings. However, this is not a big step forward for Microsoft, and it will not distinguish them from the competition any more than any other game.
After leaving Activision and going through lawsuits, a number of employees from Infinity Ward moved to form a new company: Respawn Entertainment. The purpose was to make new experiences and a whole new universe. Respawn’s new game, Project Titan as it is referred to currently, is a science fiction game. We know this from EA President Frank Gibeau who confirmed its “sci-fi oriented” nature while sources and rumors have all pointed to the same exact thing. This will be an attempt to set the new developer apart from their old franchises, such as Call of Duty, which were based in WWII and Modern Warfare settings. After leaving Activision and going through lawsuits, employees from Infinity Ward moved to form a new company and make new experiences and a whole new universe. While a great move from the company, making a science fiction game that, going by the employees’ previous games, may be a first person shooter for the Xbox consoles is not a great move.
Microsoft already has a giant first person shooter franchise, based in the science fiction genre. That game is the Halo series. The game features soldiers, deep and engaging multiplayer and all manner of spacey weapons and enemies. What does that sound like? Yes, Respawn’s first game, Project Titan. By making the game an exclusive to Microsoft’s home consoles, this new company will be putting their first game into direct competition with an already established and much loved set of games. Halo 4 was the beginning of a new trilogy for developers 343 Industries, and it did quite spectacularly. Presumably, there will be a sequel to this game to continue the trilogy with Halo 5 and this will saturate the Xbox 360 and 720 with what is essentially the same kind of game. Which one is more likely to get noticed more? The name Halo brings to mind science fiction action, a great storyline and an iconic protagonist. Whatever the name is for Respawn Entertainment’s game, it surely will not bring to mind any of these things.
Sony has an opening in next generation for a large scale science fiction game. I know many fans of PlayStation that look over at Halo with envious eyes and would gladly lap up a game in a similar vein. Sure, there is Killzone, but that is less about the science fiction elements than the warfare itself, with guns that look and feel similar to today’s weapons. This is something that Nintendo also sorely lacks for is Wii U and a release on the console would surely boost numbers. This, to me, makes the rumoured decision to limit the game’s potential to a platform with an established game, which is already rooted deeply in science fiction, baffling.
Lastly, the new Xbox will, if it is always online as some rumors suggest, have negative views attached to it. When the rumors were first swirling around the industry, many people instantly wrote the console off without even having concrete proof. If the rumors are true, it will be hard for Microsoft to shake this off. The negative views towards the console could be aimed towards the game which means the game loses its audience and potential fanbase. Bringing out a major release from an exciting new company and joining with this always online future may hurt its chances, regardless of the quality of the game itself or how always online may be integrated.
I hope for the game’s potential that the rumor is not true. It could prove disastrous for a new company and a new IP.