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Titanfall 2 Interview with Jon Shiring + Scorpio Questions

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Titanfall 2 Interview with Jon Shiring + Scorpio Questions Answered

Gaming Instincts had the chance to speak with the Lead Engineer of Titanfall 2 from Respawn Entertainment at E3 2016 after having a hands-on experience with Titanfall 2.

Leonid Melikhov

Hi Guys this is Leo from Gaming Instincts the Co-Founder and Journalist. Today we gonna be talking with Respawn Entertainment on Titanfall 2.

Jon Shiring

My name is John Shiring and I am Lead Engineer on Titanfall 2 at Respawn Entertainment.

Leonid Melikhov

Awesome. Game is 60fps just like the old?

Jon Shiring

Absolutely.

Leonid Melikhov

1080P?

Jon Shiring

Yeah.

Leonid Melikhov

On all consoles?

Jon Shiring

We’re not talking resolution, game’s not done yet. It’s not worth talking about it yet.

Leonid Melikhov

Ok, I see. How has the game been in development for?

Jon Shiring

Titanfall 2 shipped in March of 2014 and basically the whole company worked on updates and free patches and map packs for it. For about 8 months I think.

Leonid Melikhov

I was in that experience, I remember.

Jon Shiring

Cool

Leonid Melikhov

When the game launched, I played it and you know, it was kind of funny, game launched and it was super hype and about a month later it started to kind of slowdown a little bit. Do you think it was because of lack of content at first or there was something missing?

It was a good game in terms of foundation, but there was just something missing. And I feel like from what I played of Titanfall 2 and from what I’ve seen you guys put in an actual campaign, there is a lot more things, there are more titans. So, I think that’s definitely gonna help it out this time around.

Jon Shiring

Yeah, definitely one of the things we heard was people saying “we want more more more” So, we tried to attack that directly on Titanfall 2. Obviously, we have single-player now, we have an entirely new progression system that is going to be fun for people  and people won’t burn through the content as fast as they did last time. I think people will be really happy when they’ll see all that we have.

Leonid Melikhov

Do you guys still have the burn cards, or no?

Jon Shiring

Not talking about burn cards.

Leonid Melikhov

Not talking about the burn cards? Reason I asked that is because I didn’t notice any. So, I just wanted to know if they were there.

Jon Shiring

Yeah, there were none in the build that you played.

Leonid Melikhov

Ok. I know people will want to know if they come back or not, that’s why I had to ask.

What was the most challenging thing for you guys to work on in Titanfall 2, both from a technical standpoint and design standpoint?

Jon Shiring

There were a lot of challenges. One of the big ones was how do do you do a single-player campaign while still retaining the core of Titanfall with mobility, pilot and titan? And we didn’t wanna do single-player that was just kind of like training with bots from multiplayer. So, we wanted to do a real story-based offline campaign mode.

For a while now, a lot of the first-person shooter single-player modes have been all kind of  a standard formula that’s everyone has been doing. We really didn’t wanna do something unless it would feel new and different and so we did a lot of experimentation and trying to figure out what would single player be. We did a lot of 60 second bite-sized chunks and we had designers working on tons of them and we played through and figure out like “that one doesn’t work, this one does.”

How do we go further with it and build a game around it? What we have for single player is that it feels new and different and it’s not like any sort of campaign that we’ve on the team have worked on before. It’s something that has some good surprises in it and I think it’s gonna be pretty special.

Leonid Melikhov

How many hours in terms of length, what do you looking at?

Jon Shiring

We’re not talking about it in length here because it really does vary. From the tests we’ve done we’d say it is a meaty single-player campaign.

Leonid Melikhov

Ok. Do you guys have any kind of collectibles similiar to Call of Duty, maybe like Intel or backstory?

Jon Shiring

Not talking about it. Yeah, we wanna have some surprises for single player when people actually get to play it in October.

Leonid Melikhov

Do you have difficulties, easy, hard?

Jon Shiring

We do.

Leonid Melikhov

How many difficulties?

Jon Shiring

That is a good question that I don’t know for sure. I will defer.

Leonid Melikhov

Ok, you can email if you find the confirmation for that later.

Jon Shiring

Ok.

Leonid Melikhov

How is the online progression? You said it was different now. Before we had “Generations” do you guys still do “Generations” like prestiege?

Jon Shiring

Not talking about that ( laughs )

Leonid Melikhov

Ok, I see. How about this, what can you guys talk about? ( laughs )

Jon Shiring

I can tell you all about the new titans and the game mode.

Leonid Melikhov

Ok, sounds good. Let’s talk about the new titans.

Jon Shiring

Allright.

Leonid Melikhov

Which one’s your favorite?

Jon Shiring

The two we’re talking about right now is Ion and Scorch.

Leonid Melikhov

I played as the Ion one.

Jon Shiring

Ok. So, Scorch is all about the firepower. He has an incendiary projectile. He has flame-wall and he has the…You see the titans have that new Y ability? So his is a gas canister that will start to spread gas out and you can ignite the gas. It’s really good to trap people and catch them coming around corners.

Leonid Melikhov

It’s like the Pyro of the titans. Sounds pretty good.

Jon Shiring

Exactly. I really like Scorch and his kind of has his roots in the Ogre. His big and heavy armored titan.

Leonid Melikhov

Is he considered to be tanky because of his bulkiness?

Jon Shiring

Sure.

Leonid Melikhov

I remember in the 1st Titanfall we had that one guy that was tanky the big…

Jon Shiring

Yeah, the Ogre.

Leonid Melikhov

You had..

Jon Shiring

Atlust and the Strider

Leonid Melikhov

Strider was super fast. Atlus was like you typical assault soldier. So, are you still going with that theme where one has more armor or less speed? Or are you guys completely getting rid of all that, and they’re just unique on abilities?

Jon Shiring

It’s all different The Ion is more like the Atlus. In the game, time has past, Hammock doesn’t make the Strider, the Atlust or the Ogre anymore. They have new models, but you can see some of the lineage there. The ( long pause ) Scorch ( says thank you and laughs )

Leonid Melikhov

We’re only talking about 2 now… I mean you could mention something else ( laughs)

Jon Shiring

No no no ( laughs) You can see Scorch evolved from the old Ogre and you can see that Ion kind of evolved from the Atlus.

Leonid Melikhov

I’ve been told that the old titans are returning or no?

Jon Shiring

No. 6 titans and they’re all new.

Leonid Melikhov

6 titans and they’re all new? I thought it was 9 with the 3 old ones included.

Jon Shiring

Nope.

Leonid Melikhov

I see. 6 titans. And are you planning on adding more in the future?

Jon Shiring

We’re not talking about any patches or DLC.

Leonid Melikhov

Oh ok. That’s fine. What about the game modes? Titanfall the 1st one I think had Hardpoint and what else?

Jon Shiring

We’ve had a lot of modes. We had Pilot Skirmish, Pilot Hunter, Attrition and Capture the Flag…..uh..

Leonid Melikhov

Most people play Attrition.

Jon Shiring

Yeah. Attrition was our #1 and campaign was our #2. We have a number of modes that are gonna be returning, we’re not gonna be talking about all the modes yet. ( laughs )

Leonid Melikhov

Can you talk about something new?

Jon Shiring

What you played today was Bounty Hunt and that’s a brand new mode that we’ve brought here because it has lots of A.I. and a very target rich environment for people who might just get to come and play one match.

Leonid Melikhov

Right.

Jon Shiring

We wanted to have kind of mode that would be accessible to people.

Leonid Melikhov

Very fast-paced and quick in action.

Jon Shiring

Yeah. A lot of things to shoot at, but also gives you a chance to learn what your weapons do, what your abilities are and try out different classes in the limited time you get.

Leonid Melikhov

From what I understood. Bounty mode is where you basically go to a bounty area and you kill everything in sight as fast as you can to get more points.

Jon Shiring

Yeah. So, there is two factions in the game and they’re fighting over the 3rd faction called the “Remnant Fleet” and that is the A.I. that are dropping in those bounty areas. The A.I. come in increasingly difficult waves. At first they’re grunts, then you get specters and then you get some new A.I. Every time you kill one you’re getting points and the more difficult ones give your team more points.

So, you’re fighting over that bounty and finally you get the bounty titan and when you execute that titan and collect the bounty it’s a big chunk of points for your team. The two sides are fighting over a 3rd team of A.I.

Leonid Melikhov

It’s always a tied war going back and forth with the points.

Jon Shiring

Yeah. So, this mode is very based around fighting those A.I. We have other modes that are different, we have modes without A.I. and we have modes that are more players.

Leonid Melikhov

Ok. You will be talking about this more in the future?

Jon Shiring

Yep.

Leonid Melikhov

Sounds good. What engine is being used, Frostbite?

Jon Shiring

No, as you probably know Titanfall started with Source and we’ve replaced the render and ripped out a whole chunk of it.

Leonid Melikhov

Is it Source 2?

Jon Shiring

We’ve stuck with our Titanfall engine and we’ve done a huge amount of work to it. So, it’s even more weird custom thing that we got.

Leonid Melikhov

Ahhhh… I see. Cause I looked at it and I was like “well it doesn’t look like Frostbite 3.” But it runs way better than the original Source. Source was a very good engine for its days and I guess you guys did a lot of work I can see that.

Jon Shiring

Yeah. We have a new physically based render. We have depth of fields, we have HDR bloom. We have this really cool texture streaming system that one of our engineers worked on. So we did a lot of work to make it look…. ( pause )

Leonid Melikhov

Current?

Jon Shiring

Yeah, looks great.

Leonid Melikhov

I see. Why did you decided too stick with it, instead of going straight to Source 2?

Jon Shiring

That wasn’t even a consideration. We’ve built a lot of custom stuff to make Titanfall what it is and we wanted to continue down that path and continue to improve it. But, a lot of the ways we’re doing this is….rip out entire entire parts of the engine or replace it with something we’ve written and it is less and less like Source all the time.

Leonid Melikhov

You took the foundation of what it had originally. Lets take this out, lets put this in and customize to your own liking.

Jon Shiring

Not only did we do all of those rendering improvements, we have an entirely new audio system, entirely new physics system. We did major changes to our scripting engine to our scripting engines in the same amount of time. There is a lot of work that goes into it.

Leonid Melikhov

Why did you guys decide to go multi-platform?

Jon Shiring

I think, I mean…We definitely we wanted too…Look we make games and we want as many people as possible to buy them. And so…PS4 people weren’t able to try out Titanfall. We’re really excited to be bringing the game to PS4 while also making sure that it’s great on Xbox, great on PC. We just wanted to be..whatever platform you like to play on. That’s great, the game will be good on it.

Leonid Melikhov

I am sure you’ve seen Scorpio now?

Jon Shiring

Mhm

Leonid Melikhov

With those kind of specs I am sure your mind has been going crazy on what you can for future projects. What do you guys honestly think about where the Industry is going in terms of console generations? Do you think that consoles are slowly going away? We’re going towards more like the PC route or where you can buy different models like iPhone 6 or iPhone 7.

Jon Shiring

Having done a few launch titles now in my career. It is really hard to go to a small install base and try to wait for it to grow up. The really nice thing about this incremental approach is that we never have that moment where it’s like there’s only gonna be 5 million of these things out and we’re fighting over those 5 million people.

It is more work to have this sort of support for multiple generations in the same game, but it also gives us a lot of new opportunity to do big new things and have a huge audience that can play it. Definitely it seems like a lot of people are inspired by the incremental approach.

Leonid Melikhov

Going from what they have now too 8 cores, 6 tflops, 320 gigabytes does not like sound like an incremental upgrade to me at all. ( laughs )

Jon Shiring

No, no! That’s the great thing.

Leonid Melikhov

I thought about it, I was there at the conference and I was just like this is a new cycle.I like the idea that they’re letting you play a game on all of the devices, but that brings a question. How badly do the developer like you guys now have to downgrade for the lower entry platforms. How do you guys feel about that?

Jon Shiring

Yeah, it’s not something we’ve ever done before and the timing is such that we’re not gonna have to worry about it on Titanfall 2. I think it’s something that we’re gonna have to figure out as we go. It is an interesting problem of how you make the game great on the current platform or whatever the new ones. I don’t know yet what the right path will be, it’s something we’ll probably try a number of things.

Leonid Melikhov

I think we’re in a very interesting time for sure. I am very curios if they would allow for.. let’s say Titanfall 2 for example to allow you guys to release a patch or some kind of an update where now we can run this game in 4K. I wonder if that will be possible, and if it will be possible do you think you’d be up for that?

Jon Shiring

I don’t know if it would be and yeah. I am not gonna answer what the other company might do, but it is something that’s pretty cool. ( laughs )

Leonid Melikhov

It is something pretty cool so I am looking forward to that. What’s your favorite thing about Titanfall 2 from Titanfall 1, for you personally. The biggest change you think the game has.

Jon Shiring

For me….it’s single player.

Leonid Melikhov

Single player? I would probably agree with you on that because it’s just a whole different piece of content that you can go to.

Jon Shiring

And it’s a different experience then people had in Titanfall before but it’s still plays towards our strength of pilot mobility and we have now have this bond with the titan. You saw BT, our giant titan out there.

Leonid Melikhov

I am really looking forward too how character development will go and just things in general because this is a different type. You’re not talking to just soldiers now, you have these robots involved and all these things. So, I am really curios too see how the story turns out. I think you have a lot of interesting universes to play.

Jon Shiring

I agree.

Leonid Melikhov

I remember in Titanfall in the original game you guys had a lot of creatures in the background. Are you bringing any of those monster elements in some shape or form to any game modes or something? Cause I was like “look at that monster” I would love to kill it or something, it was just like a tease you know. Such a cool universe to explore and I just want more of it and I hope you guys have that.

Jon Shiring

You know it’s funny. Once Titanfall came out we’ve heard…..and you know how they do those word bubbles things?

Leonid Melikhov

Uh huh

Jon Shiring

We dd one of those and it was just the word “More” in like 260 point font with a bunch of little words around it We get that people just wanted more, more, more, more. They wanted to know more about this universe, more about the characters, more about backstory and so…

Leonid Melikhov

It just felt like an extremely well-polished multiplayer game and that’s it. It has so much in it that it could be in terms of potential. I always think that with sequels the game you actually wanted to do in the first place.

I always think that with sequels the game you actually wanted to do in the first place. Because sometimes when you’re making a game for the first time….you know it’s a new IP. You don’t know what people…how will people react to it when it’s released in public and then you look at it and you go like “oh shit” we should of done that but you didn’t know that back then, but now you do so you have all that power to make it good.

Jon Shiring

Yeah. What I found out is the only time developers get to really learn about  what they’ve created is after it releases. When you’re just iterating on it you never get the chance to take a step back and look at the reaction to it and see what is going well and what’s not going well. Once you release the game, you take a step back, you listen to peoples feedback, you listen to what they love. We’re developers so when we play it we see what isn’t working the way we wanted it too and then you go and start over again and you can do….everything is on the table.

As you saw, we did a whole bunch of changes to our multiplayer game and it still feels like Titanfall and we’re really happy with how it plays.

Leonid Melikhov

We have a few more questions and I’ll be done, I promise.

Jon Shiring

Ok.

Leonid Melikhov

Now I know you said you can’t talk about the new game modes in particular, that’s fine. Can you tell us around how many are there?

Jon Shiring

No. Sorry.

Leonid Melikhov

That’s fine. So we’ve got 6 titans, you showed us 2, so there is 4 more too see right?

Jon Shiring

Mhm.

Leonid Melikhov

4 more to see right in the coming months?

Jon Shiring

Yes.

Leonid Melikhov

The game is coming out…

Jon Shiring

October 28th.

Leonid Melikhov

A week after Battlefield, how do you guys feel about that? Is it interesting to be competing with Battlefield or you looking at it as something else?

Jon Shiring

No, I think the games are pretty different. But you know, it’s not the same kind of audience we’re going for so I am not worried.

Leonid Melikhov

Right. A week after that Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare comes out. Again, another shooter.

Jon Shiring

Mhm.

Leonid Melikhov

It’s gonna be a crazy months. Are you gonna be playing all of those games yourself? ( laughs )

Jon Shiring

I am gonna try too. It’s gonna be a busy time for me. ( laughs )

Leonid Melikhov

Yeah, I bet. Crunch time and all that and celebrating the launch.

Jon Shiring

I play everything. So…yeah I am gonna be all over everything that comes out this fall.

Leonid Melikhov

Awesome, sounds good. Well, is there anything else you’d like to say about Titanfall 2 before we take off?

Jon Shiring

Yeah. Before launch we’re gonna be doing a multiplayer tech test and so we want people to go to Titanfall.com and sign up for it. We’re not talking about when yet, but it’s something we really need everyone to join in and help us break all my code and all of the servers.

Leonid Melikhov

Is it gonna be like a open beta or closed beta kind of deal?

Jon Shiring

Can’t say yet. It’s gonna be a lot people.

Leonid Melikhov

A lot of people, ok.

Jon Shiring

We wanna have that massive scale of players hitting our servers, find all the problems so we release smooth launch.

Leonid Melikhov

With more content than what we played here?

Jon Shiring

Yes! There will be new things. There will be a new game mode in the tech test.

Leonid Melikhov

Awesome, sounds good. Well thank you so much.

Jon Shiring

Thank you.

Leonid Melikhov

Appreciate it.

Jon Shiring

Yeah.

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