"Titanfall is part of our DNA," says the latest announcement from Respawn Entertainment, before going on to reveal that they're having gene therapy. Titanfall 1, the studio's first game, is being removed from sale today and will disappear from subscription services on March 1st, 2022. It's the inevitable end for the wall-running mech battler, a multiplayer experiment that started cutting bits out of itself mere months after release.
A note about Titanfall. pic.twitter.com/Ew232HkUIo— Respawn (@Respawn) December 1, 2021
"We've made the decision to discontinue new sales of the original Titanfall game starting today and we'll be removing the game from subscribption services on March 1, 2022," reads the post. "We will, however, be keeping servers live for the dedicated fanbase still playing and those who own the game and are looking to drop into a match."
Titanfall has had a rough recent history. It came to Steam late last year but in a borderline unplayable state. Bugs prevented players from connecting to servers, and those that did manage to connect were normally met with hackers exploiting vulnerabilities in the game's aging multiplayer code. Titanfall 1 - and modern spin-off Apex Legends - have also experienced regular DDOS attacks. In April, Respawn tweeted that "help is coming ASAP" to deal with the attacks, but nothing materialised. At the time of writing, Titanfall has "Mostly Negative" reviews on Steam.
Although Titanfall technically remains playable, few players currently do. It's a sad end for what was a good game. Here's what handsome former editor Graham Smith (RPS in peace) said in his Titanfall review:
Freed from the anxious need to convince you that you're special, Titanfall instead builds a set of systems within which heroism and glory occur naturally. There is no "Titan level" akin to Battlefield's brief jet sections; there is instead the ability, every two minutes, to summon your own robot buddy from orbit. There is no running up to a door and waiting like a patient dog while an NPC master runs over to open it for you; there is instead the ability to overcome any obstacle with wall-running and double-jumping, and the opportunity to skillfully chain those moves together into swift, balletic combat.
I retracted much of my praise two months later, however, when Respawn removed its best mode.
Titanfall 1 can be seen as a halfway step towards the live service games of today. It was unusual in 2014 for a major first-person shooter to launch without a campaign, and still relatively new for a multiplayer game to launch without dedicated servers, a server browser or mod support. That's all commonplace now, and no one seems to blink an eye when Apex Legends ditches one mode or map for something new. The difference back then was that Titanfall wasn't free-to-play, and paying £45 for something that began to disintegrate so soon afterwards didn't feel great.
So, yes. While Titanfall remains 'playable' for those who bought it, its removal from sale ends all hope that it will be supported or repaired. The graveyard of multiplayer games will only grow larger, and I hope one day GOG or a similar service begins the work of restoring them, just as they did the DOS games of yore.