The aphorism "all that glitters is not gold" proved to be false in one instance, namely on March 1, 2010. Then Infinity Ward president Jason West and Infinity Ward CEO Vince Zampella were fired from Activision due to "breaches of contract and insubordination." Sure, at the moment the future seemed bleak for these two senior employees, but it only took four months for them to prove that the glitter did turn out to be gold. Zampella and West established their independent game studio called Respawn Entertainment, which turned out to be one of the most loved development studios of recent times.
Fast forward three short years and Respawn were already teasing their first game. Teasing a blurry image on a newly launched website, potential players were both cautious and excited by the tease. Another image was teased, this time a trademark for the name Titan was also filed. In June 2013, Respawn Entertainment showed their game, Titanfall at E3. The always-online Xbox exclusive won over fans with its giant mechs, fast-paced shooting, and unique world design. The game was set to hit stores in March 2014. Titanfall, though an Xbox exclusive, launched with a favorable reception. The game launched with only multiplayer modes and still managed to garner a huge following. Sitting at a comfortably 86/100 score on Metacritic, Respawn Entertainment made their mark in the gaming world.
Oddly, right in the middle of Titanfall and the soon to be announced Titanfall 2, a surprise announcement sent excitement throughout the Respawn Entertainment fanbase. In June 2014, it was revealed that former Sony Santa Monica employee, Stig Asmussen, had joined Respawn. Asmussen, who served as a lead environment artist, art director, and game director for God of War III, was now working for Respawn Entertainment (as a game director) on a project that had nothing to do with the Titanfall franchise, but more on this in a bit.
In March 2015, the developer announced their workings on a sequel for Titanfall, simply called Titanfall 2. Running off the success of Titanfall, Respawn aimed to make the sequel bigger, better, and more accessible. Several new mechanics were added into the sequel - most notably, the rework movement system and the grappling hook. It only takes a quick YouTube search to witness the crazy combinations players came up with, with these two mechanics alone. Also new in the sequel was the inclusion of a single-player campaign. Thought the game was not particularly praised for its campaign, the fact that it was included appealed to a larger market. Titanfall 2 released on October 28, 2016, with favorable results coming from both fans and critics.
A wee bit earlier in 2016, on May 4th, to be exact, Stig Asmussen announced Respawn's next project. The project was to be a single-player third-person Star Wars game, which was revealed at E3 2018 to be Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. The revealed was met with great optimism, as Star Wars fans have been craving a proper single-player title set in their favorite universe for years. This, together with Respawn's proven development prowess, made for a helluva combo. Fallen Order is to take place shortly after Episode III - Revenge of the Sith, right after Order 66. Our protagonist, Cal Kestis, one of the last surviving Jedi, was discovered by the Empire and is now being hunted across the galaxy. After a wait that felt like forever, Respawn eventually gave the game a November 15, 2019 release date for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.
2019 held another surprise from Respawn fans. Without any marketing, announcements, or leaks, Respawn Entertainment released Apex Legends on February 4th. The free-to-play battle royale title has been in development since late 2016, and before its February 2019 release, it was unknown by everyone. Apex Legends, though a battle royale game, included a variety of elements such as classes, an evolving narrative, and even Respawn's excellent first-person shooting mechanics. Again, a Respawn title was met with favorable responses from fans and critics. Apex Legends is currently sitting at an 89/100 score on Metacritic. The game had more than 25 million players in its first week and 50 million players by its first month. As of July 2019, the title sees approximately 8 to 10 million players per week.
Respawn Entertainment announced in September this year that they are developing yet another new title. This title, named Medal of Honor: Above and Beyond, will be an Oculus Rift exclusive, and serve as a kind of reboot for the franchise. Dropping players in the boots of an agent of the Office of Strategic Services in war-torn Europe, the title sets out to give players an authentic, yet realistic, experience of 1940's Europe. Unfortunately, Medal of Honor: Above and Beyond has no release date yet.
With such a rich and diverse history, it is exciting to think of Respawn Entertainment's future. Dabbling in first-person shooters, third-person action, mobile, and even VR, Respawn has proven themselves to be a developer of many talents.
Kingdom Hearts devotee, From Software fanboy and aspiring Audiophile (the good kind that believes in FLAC files). Vincent enjoys writing about games almost as much as playing them.
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