I didn't buy an Xbox One at launch to play Forza Motorsport 5 and I didn't buy an Xbox One because I'm dying to play the next Halo game. I got an Xbox One at launch because I know I'm going to want to play Titanfall, a game set to drop in March.
Titanfall impressed critics at E3 and also impressed me during hands-on at PAX Prime, but I think we'll have to wait just a little bit longer to jump online with Respawn Entertainment's new IP. This worry could be unfounded. It could be the nervous mind of an early adopter mulling over his next-gen console purchase, but hear me out:
- Titanfall arrives on Xbox One, Xbox 360, and PC on March 11th, only three weeks after Garden Warfare arrives on Xbox One and Xbox 360. If there's a console that can support multiple, concurrent shooter audiences, it's gonna be an Xbox, but I worry that EA will pull an Ubisoft (techincal term) and release one too many games too close together, meaning either PvZ or Titanfall gets thrown under the bus like Rayman.
- I've played Plants Vs Zombies Garden Warfare which was freaking awesome. I've played Titanfall which was also awesome, but they seem too similar. Can gamers consume two entertaining, team-based, multiplayer-focused shooters back to back? Obviously in Titanfall you get to pilot a giant mech, but in Garden Warfare you get play as a big purple Chomper. In Titanfall, you can double jump with your rocket pack, run on walls, and bring down hulking metal men with a single trigger. In Garden Warfare you can pilot a bulb of garlic and call in a corn cob airstrike that blows up zombies and creates a massive popcorn explosion. With classes and online competition at the heart of each game, how can someone decide between the two? I know I couldn't decide if I had to choose.
- We heard news that Titanfall, despite being a totally new IP, had already secured a deal with K'NEX construction sets. The sets will be debuted at New York Toy Fair in February, about a month in advance of Titanfall's release. My thought is that Respawn and EA want to have the ever-growing Spring semester of game releases on lock, but news about licensing deals could also mean that the publisher hopes to position Titanfall to be a much bigger release. Maybe K'NEX is the beginning of EA's larger push behind the game as a tentpole 2014 release. Taco Bell has certainly tarted itself up for cross-promotion with gamers this year, I'd try there next.
- Last, it appears as though a Titanfall beta is in the works for eager gamers to test out the multiplayer action at home in a real-world environment. When is the beta supposed to launch between now and March? Let's say it's open for two weeks in February. Do either of those two weeks interfere with Garden Warfare's launch? How many months would it take to implement changes from the beta? It just doesn't seem feasible to launch Titanfall in just the third month of 2014.
Lots of hotly anticipated games get delayed by months or weeks or even days just so a publisher can put that extra push behind it, and I think EA's point in releasing Respawn's game in the first half of 2014 speaks to their desire to stay clear of competition.
Let the new IP breath and find its feet in the next generation of hardware. Conjecture, rumor-mongering, call it what you want, but I wouldn't even mind a Titanfall delay if it means more gamers will enjoy the class-combat in Plants Vs Zombies: Garden Warfare. The games share too many similarities and the audience seems too small to divide. Xbox 360 has quite a large install base at this point, but both games have features enhanced on or held for Xbox One.
Am I crazy? From a business standpoint, what should Electronic Arts do with these two hotly anticipated shooters? Can gamers continue consuming the shooter genre at this rate? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.