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News: Titanfall’s Mecha Aren’t Mecha…Apparently

Posted on : 01-07-2013 | By : | In : News

Hardware: , ,



In a recent interview with Game Informer, Respawn’s Joel Emslie said something disappointing and worrying in equal measure regarding the mecha in Titanfall. The main quote being “Mech is kind of a dirty word with us, we don’t like it. These aren’t mechs” (screenshot above). Despite the very obvious and widely acknowledged aspects that define the game’s Titans as mecha, it seems that this is another attempt by a game studio to re-brand mecha as something else and new (though with Hawken, Adhesive to their credit did change their tune). This is likely intended as a means to distance the game from any form of Japanese inspiration. Doing the typical American thing of making out that this was some kind of immaculate creative conception, which in itself is still worthy of copious eye rolling. Whilst this is a pretty shitty thing to do, what’s more worrying is how the mecha are being described as a “second skin” for the pilots. In that we may likely see the game with more human controlling mecha, which is basically the same route Front Mission Evolved went down. In short, that didn’t work out too well. Anyway we’re now somewhat skeptical about Titanfall, especially as the lead artist is saying stuff like this. Thanks to Bonk for the heads up.


Comments (40)

If they are going down this path why don’t they just call them power armor?

I’d bet they’d get a few calls from GW representatives if that happened

A mech with way more defense and firepower than a human, that’s also fairly agile.

So, Jehuty?

Basically as we all know, every giant robot series will call its giant robots something different. Armoured Troopers, Mobile Suits, Combat Armours, Walker Machines, Variable Fighters, Destroids, Heavy Metals, etc, etc.

But I think this is less of a case of people being aware of giant robots and the things that go along with them and more wanting to distance itself away from Mechwarrior and that style of gameplay, etc.

That’s not being contested though and they would all still be classed as mecha. Calling them Titans is perfectly fine, denying that their mecha is…odd.

Guys, I’m making a sort of sleeved vest contraption, but never call it a T-shirt. I’m doing totally original work here.

The way they describe it almost makes me think they’re just assuming their target demographic has never played any Japanese mech game and only knows about MechWarrior and Steel Battalion, and they’re going to look completely original with their fast, agile, second-skin mechs. At least, I hope that’s just their assumption, and they’re not completely ignorant of the genre, because it would really be bad if they’re trying to “reinvent” fast robots without knowing what does and doesn’t work in the games that already exist.

Isn’t it kinda obvious that they’re just avoiding calling them mechs since Americans are dumb and can’t understand a mech doesn’t have to be forty feet tall and slow as could be through simple semantics and is thus nothing to be “skeptical” about? Also, comparing anyone to Double Helix is a tad slanderous.

I agree wholeheartedly with Respawn. In fact, I don’t think they’re going far enough. Everytime I play a game with vehicles in it, all I can think about is how inordinately complicated the controls are. Why don’t the cars in Grand Theft Auto control more like people? People don’t have brakes, or a reverse gear. Do we need that? No, we don’t. Do we really need a turning radius on a car in a video game? Of course not. Why do they need to be our grandaddy’s cars?

Why do planes go so fast and fly in the air? Why don’t they carry handheld rocket launchers instead of firing missiles attached to their wings? Why don’t tanks walk on their treads instead of driving? It’s just so…arbitrary!

In all seriousness, though, what they’re saying does make sense, it’s just they’re being purposely blind to the genre that gets me angry. You’re a game designer producing a mecha game, and you’ve only looked at one mecha game, which was apparently Mechwarrior? If fast, quick, and mobile mecha were some obscure Japanese import-only niche market, I could say, okay, Call of Duty guys might have missed them. But Cybernator and Metal Warriors? No Gundam game ever? No Robotech game ever? No Heavy Gear? No Armored Core? No FEAR 2? No Lost Planet? You missed all of those?

You wouldn’t make an FPS without seeing what other games already exist in the genre. And while there is a bit too much copycatting in the FPS genre (who can tell screenshots between next-gen FPSes apart?) I don’t think being willfully blind to what are already solved problems in the genre will make for a good game.

Really, I think it’s about looking “cool”–Mechwarrior, oh, that’s for nerds, lollerz. The fact of the matter is, though, the team wanted to put giant robots in their game, and now they’re too ashamed to admit to liking giant robots and alienating their core audience. It’s a bizarre strategy–they aren’t selling what makes their game UNIQUE, they’re selling their game by saying “but it’s exactly like everything else, I promise!”

Precisely, it’s the denial that’s very strange and actually counterproductive (because the Titans are so clearly mecha and saying otherwise is just wtf).

Situation is pure & cristal clear. Respawn have to avoid any terms from BattleTech and Warhammer 40K or their lawyers will be quite busy till end of world.

Hardly, the terminology is in the public domain. Harmony Gold only cause issues with Battletech/Mechwarrior on account of the Macross designs used (as they own Robotech in the US).

There might be evidence to think otherwise. I can’t locate hard evidence at the moment, but there were a few supposed incidents where games were pressured to take the word “mech” out of their name–for example, the cancelled “Mech Lords” by the creators of Master of Orion was retitled “Metal Lords” before disappearing completely.

Interestingly enough, one of the infantry tech upgrades in Master of Orion mentions the term “mobile suits”–which are somehow inferior to power armor–and Master of Orion II calls their mecha “Battleoids”.

“Realistic” is the new trend. Mecha immediately links to Gundam or Macross/Robotech. Even Armored Core they are backing out of their more stylish tradition, and go for smaller mechas.

[…] of agility because you can't jump, but on the ground these things are super agile tanks." Mechadamashii, NeoGAF So, if they aren't mechs, what are they? What would you call them? Power Armour? Tanks? Or […]

I was wary of this game from the moment they said that single-player campaigns don’t matter anymore.

I was concerned that giant robots seemed to be the only vehicle in the game. That the overall presented scope of the universe was interstellar, and yet only two aspects of combat have been shown with little room for anything else.

i’m not angry, only because i dont care.

Care enough to respond.

Never been a fan of American “mechs”. Battletech’s walking tanks.

I thought American ‘mechs’ are only limited to what they usually call Transformers?

Heck, even Battletech initially borrows many Japanese mecha designs that resulting in almost never-ending lawsuits back then (hence the ‘Unseens’).

i think by borrow you mean steal

Whats their problem? It’s a huge two legged Robot. So its a mecha. The Classification for a power armor is completely differnt. Besides one of the Reason to take a look into titan fall for me is…because it has mechas and in a FPS Styled Gameplay.

We need more of this in the west. I dont like this Simulation Style Mecha gaming like Mechwarrior & Co.
I want more fast and agile Mechas like the votoms or Gundams in Videogames

Not made in Japan. That’s why.

Honestly, I would have been more interested if it wasn’t just another fps. I was kind of thrilled seeing those characters do parkour and then hop inside a giant robot to wreck their enemies, then gameplay portions happened and “oh, just another one of those”.

In any case, it seemed to me like the mechs were more along the lines of powerups than actual mechs the way they seemed to behave, of course I can’t say for sure, but I really don’t think controlling them will be any different than just being infantry, only you have more weapons and possibly can’t jump or crouch. Most AAA budgeted fps are devoid of complexity, not to say that things should be complicated in a game, but a little more than just what’s become standard today would be nice.

>”I was kind of thrilled seeing those characters do parkour and then hop inside a giant robot to wreck their enemies, then gameplay portions happened and “oh, just another one of those”.”

Haha… hahaha. Oh God. Sorry. But yeah I agree. Even a THIRD PERSON SHOOTER is more interesting than First. Why? Cause then you can warrant epic parkour hijynx.

I dunno, Mirror’s Edge was pretty badass with its parkour and it was all first person to boot.

But Mirror’s Edge doesn’t have mechs, which aren’t mechs…

Actually this game would be better if it featured parkour, were multilevel, or had more than just the walker vehicles. Hopefully it has more than that.

Yeah that statement pretty much set off the alarm bells in my head that scream “mechs that control the same as humans” which is pretty much a cardinal sin of design for me

Its hard to say where he’s coming from. As a long time fan of almost any kind of robot I can totally understand wanting to avoid any connection with Battletech/Mechwarrior, a series were the mechs are TORTUROUSLY slow to the point where many players feel so suffocated and impatient they want to scream. I’d rather never play another mech game again that play that lethargic plodding boring American crap.

However, these mech designs are certainly ugly enough to be in Battletech…so maybe, yeah, he just thinks he needs to brand the game different.

Wow, overblowing much? Like, far more people have enjoyed the MechWarrior series in the West than any Japanese series (obviously the opposite on the other side of the Pacific), so I guess you’re just impatient and melodramatic in your hatred of American mechs? I’ve met plenty of nerds who declare that faster mecha games are stupid and childish and a few who see slower mecha as sluggish and boring, so I guess it’s personal taste. I like both, personally, so long as they make me feel like I’m in a robot. That said, even in the slow-paced MW games, the machines commonly outrun and maneuver modern tanks, and people love their tanks in Battlefield, sooooooo…

Also, toplel at calling BattleTech ugly when your name is referencing the most hideous Gundam show (call yourself WarinthePocket or BeastofPossibility). Pot, kettle, black. Yes, old comment, but c’mon dude.

>Not liking the Zeta Gundam
What are you an autistic child?

yeah say whatever you want. It’s a Mech. Gundam is a Mech. Mechwarrior’s Battlemech is a mech. AT/AT is a Mech, AT/ST is a mech, Valkyrie VF battroid is a Mech. Gears from Heavy gear is a mech.

In the west, yes. Still using mecha so shut up!

Lol. Distance yourself from japanese culture all you want white piggus, that is a mech.

Hmm where shall I start.. I laughed alot reading all the silly, childish, rude, and ignorant comments about “Americans” and “white people” thanks for the laugh btw. In case you had no idea the internet is WORLDWIDE and so is the concept of robots which has been a dream of millions of men and women WORLDWIDE no matter if your Asian or American or Russian or hell I’m sure even an alien lol this is not a Japanese concept or American or any other.. Going over Such things is not only silly but wastes time which we as a human species could be advancing as humans together.. What causes the problem with progression and advancement of all HUMANS is very simple… Fear..fear that one person might have an idea that someone else might have or not give them credit.. Who did what first.. Hmm who made the first wheel or fire.. Or car.. Sure some might know the answer and others might look it up.. But those who decide to take these ideas of other humans and try to build upon the idea should be helped no matter what they call it.. A rose by any other name would smell but as sweet… Be part of solutions which is far better than part of the problem. Calling names, being pigheaded, rude, and counter productive just wastes your chance to be apart of the solution and be apart of the next great stride in human advancement. Create, think, be positive, helpful, invent.. If you see something wrong with a game or idea or creation.. Well then you are half way there to making it better. Take your vision as others have as in the creators of many great games and things that we see in the world and make something out of it…and yes I am an American and yes I’m white by skin color.. But I don’t look at it that way maybe.. Just maybe some of you won’t anymore either.. I am just as you are A HUMAN.. Games, life, inventions, creativity, and everything else as we know it are not defined by race, color, creed or nation..they are defined by and elaborated on by all of us.. We are all ignorant in one way or another which is to say there are things we all do not know.. We all fear things…which is to say there are things we all deep down are afraid of.. But! If we as a human race stop letting fear and ignorance guide us and think together and create together while lifting each other up everyone of us can and will not only benefit but achieve greatness as a sure some will try to make light of what I’ve said and some will even make rude comments but those are exactly what I’ve been talking about… We as humans are far greater in number together than to foolishly decide ourselves into categories… Yes each part of the human species are great but together without division between each working as a whole to better everyone as a whole we are epic on a grand scale…


Simply because you’ll never understand.

Wait, so we’re upset that Respawn isn’t calling these mechs and that they’re guilty of a reasoning we’ve completely made up? Alright, then.

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