The last time we wrote about Titanfall 3 on this website was April 2023, which really, isn’t that long ago. So it pains me to say that, only a few months later, it is again time to talk about Titanfall 3. Specifically, a designer’s recounting of how the game was actually months into development before being shelved.
If the last time hurt because it was about the potential for a future game, this one hurts even more because it’s about a game that could have been. In an interview with The Burnettwork (via Insider Gaming), veteran designer Mohammad Alavi—who only recently left Respawn after spending over a decade there—recounts what was going on at the studio in the days following Titanfall 2’s release:
You want to hear a crazy cut story? Titanfall 3…you know, Titanfall 2, came out, did what it did, and we were like, ‘Okay, we’re gonna make Titanfall 3,’ and we worked on Titanfall 3 for about 10 months, right? In earnest, right? I mean, we had new tech for it, we had multiple missions going, we had a first playable, which was like, on par to be just as good if not better than whatever we had before, right? But I’ll make this clear: incrementally better, it wasn’t revolutionary. And that’s the kicker, right? And we were feeling pretty decent about it, but not the same feeling as Titanfall 2 where we were making something revolutionary, you know what I mean?
Alavi also says the multiplayer team were having trouble, since the game’s sensations as they stood were “just too much”, that everything was “cranked up to 11″ and players would “burn out a bit fast”. But ultimately, he recounts that what really killed off Titanfall 3 was the fact that—having been influenced by the release of PUBG, and seeing huge internal success porting Titanfall’s mechanics to a Battle Royale map—what the team were planning to add to the series started sounding better as its own game:
And at the time, I had just literally become narrative lead designer on Titanfall 3, I had just pitched the mission, the story, the whole game, that me and Manny [Hagopian] had come up with, made this big presentation and then we went off a break, and then we came back from break, and we talked about it, and we were like, ‘Yeah, we need to pivot. And we need to go make this game’. Because we literally cancelled Titanfall 3 ourselves because we were like, ‘We can make this game, and it’s going to be Titanfall 2 plus a little bit better, or we can make this thing, which is clearly amazing.” And don’t get me wrong, I will always miss having another Titanfall, you ’know what I mean? I love that game, Titanfall 2, like I said, is my most crowing achievement, but it was the right call. That is a crazy cut. Such a crazy cut that EA didn’t even know about it for another six months, until we had another prototype up and running that we could show them!
That is somehow the saddest possible story to read about the game’s demise, yet also the most understandable. I know it’s part of the furniture now, so much so that unless you’re super into it (and millions are!) you might even forget it exists, but I remember the first week Apex Legends came out and that shit was fun. I don’t think there’s a studio in the world that wouldn’t have made that same pivot, at that time, if given the chance.
Still…allow us, once again, this moment to wallow in our sadness, because as fun as Apex Legends was/is, it does not have huge mechs falling from the sky, and it does not have a singleplayer campaign where you move through time.
Here’s the full interview if you want to check it out: