EA has apparently cancelled a Titanfall game that they had not even announced yet.
Bloomberg cites a source who had given several details about the game, which had been going by the name Titanfall Legends. This would have been a single player story campaign set in the Titanfall universe. Titanfall Legends was being made by Respawn Entertainment, and directed by Mohammad Alavi, a veteran within the company who had left earlier last year.
Respawn Entertainment and their pet project Titanfall are both strange products of frustration within the industry. Respawn had been founded by Vince Zampella and Jason West, following their acrimonious exit from Activision, and the studio they had founded that was now owned by Activision, Infinity Ward.
Titanfall was Respawn’s first project, a wild reimagining of the military FPS genre that added giant mechs into the mix. While critically acclaimed, this game has questionable sales numbers. Vince Zampella would eventually claim that it had passed the ten million units mark by October 2015, but it was not clear if the game was considered a success as EA and Respawn never shared other details, like the game’s budget or sales goals.
Titanfall 2 had a clearer story behind it, as EA had made public their expectation that it would sell between 9 to 10 million units. This time EA would never share those sales numbers, though Zampella and then EA CFO Blake Jorgensen claimed they were happy with the game’s reception. Morgan Stanley estimated that it had sold 4 million units by January 2017.
Another attempt to make a new Titanfall would eventually lead to Respawn pivoting towards the free-to-play team shooter genre with Apex Legends. While Apex Legends is set in the same universe as the Titanfall games, this does not really matter in that game’s design. There are also two previously cancelled Titanfall games, and a mobile game that has been discontinued.
The news is particularly disappointing as Respawn had given reassurances to fans that they intended to return to the Titanfall universe. They said as much when they pulled the game off of physical and digital stores. They also seem to have teased this Titanfall Legends game in a tweet from September 2021.
It would not have been clear if Respawn had stumbled across the magic formula that would finally make Titanfall an unequivocable hit for them and for EA. Given the harsh ongoing economic conditions, the team that was supposed to make this game should have been fired, but EA is apparently working to retain them by placing them elsewhere in the company. We hope to see Titanfall return someday, but also that these developers get to stay in EA to see that day come.