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Respawn Entertainment: Making Titanfall | FTW February 2014

Respawn Entertainment has smashed all award records for their upcoming debut game Titanfall, in our latest For The Win interview we talk to the team about the studio's origin's and their pedigree for making some of the biggest FPS games of all time!

Joel Esmie (Artist): Starting Respawn was super turmoil. A lot of us came into it as a brand new company with a lawsuit...

Steve Fukuda (Game Director): Conditions previously were not so great at the point that we left, so this felt like a very good opportunity to just say 'yeah - we're free, we can do whatever we want'.

Vince Zampella (CEO Of Respawn Entertainment): When we started us it was just literally Jason and I and nothing else. We had people come and join us but at the time it wasn't, you know, we signed a deal with EA, we didn't have a game idea, we didn't have technology, we didn't have computers, we didn't have anything.

Drew McCoy (Producer): We didn't have a lease on our office space we were literally squatting. The landlord was nice enough to give us a key in the morning so we could come in.

Steve Fukuda: It forced us to be more creative, but it was even more of a challenge to be creative from a logistical standpoint. How do we work on a game when we don't have any tech?

Drew McCoy: The floors you see here were all nasty and full of broken glass and cockroaches, this place had been abandoned for a couple of years and that was the start of our company. It was literally guys in folding chairs in a circle just talking about games that they like and didn't like.

Jessica Cohort: How long did that last for?
SF: Maybe a couple of months...

JC: A couple of months?!
SF: Yeah, it was a long time.

JC: Of sitting on folding chairs?!
SF: Yeah.

JC: After you saw the response when you guys showed it off at E3, was it kind of like a sigh of relief?
DM: It was not just a sigh, it was trembling. A wave of reeling. To us a developers and gamers it was cool because it had all this gameplay mechanics that we really enjoy playing - we had no idea that the public at large were going to attach to it at all. I was trembling when we unveiled it thinking 'oh gosh, this is it, they found us out, no-one's going to like it'.

Abbie Heppe (Community Manager): It was like 'hey we're real!' Because before that you can't talk about it and you can't share it and you have community people that want to know and there's nothing that you can tell them, and so that moment right at the end of the Microsoft press conference where the trailer ran it was that moment of 'oh my God this is a real thing that's happening!'. Now we have this crazy run from here to March!

JE: Going into E3 and seeing peoples reactions to it finally was just shocking, so we thought okay, our little team is going to survive, we can keep going. Some of Titanfall's fiction can be seen in Respawn's fiery upbringing and what we went through to get here and it's us against the world from that point.

JC: Is there a method to the madness? What do you think it is that you guys have that allows you to constantly create awesome content? We had Medal of Honor, we had Call of Duty...
VZ: I think it's just an amazing team and we've grown it from here, some of us have worked together for a dozen years or more maybe and we have some news guys that we brought on from other teams and other successful projects.

DM: We have 76 developers, the company as a whole with our QA staff is under 100 and that's quite a lot for today's development world. I think it's really down to trusting everyone we hire and listening to everybody, We do company wide play tests all the time and we want everyone to be extremely proud of the game that's on the shelf at the end of the day. We are making a game that we truly believe in and want to play.

JC:Having this game already win so many accolades, does this add to the pressure?
VZ: It's better then we ever expected the response from the public and you know, it's something that you always want. You know, you never know, we've been building this game for a long time, we've put our hearts into it, but you know when you get it out there it's scary.

SF: We are so busy and foccussed that we ship the best possible game that we're not really thinking too much about what everyone else thinks.

JE: Having that pressure on you is insane. When we went to E3 we were paranoid and terrified. Did we make the right choices? Are people going to like this? Is it approachable?

DM: People's expectations are just through the roof and I hope we can exceed them, but you know, after looking at it for 4 years straight I have no objectivity left anymore.

JC: Do you feel like you've made it?
DM: Absolutely not. We gotta release something, we gotta have something people like and want more of. We still have to prove ourselves. The proof is once people get home and are sitting on their couch or desk and they're playing the game for real.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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