Footage has emerged of the Xbox 360 version of Titanfall, as reported by CVG News. And my professional opinion is that it looks… well, fine, actually. In fact, it looks a lot like Titanfall. You know, the one that Xbox One has been pinning so many of its hopes on. It’s not clear whether the game is laggy or the video capture is imperfect as this isn't the highest-quality capture I've ever seen on YouTube. But the point is, it’s recognisably Titanfall. Observe:
Now, let me be perfectly clear: Xbox One's version of Titanfall is excellent. Sure, its frame-rate is a bit flaky and it doesn’t run at 1080p, but the game is fundamentally extremely fun and everyone likes it very much. The GamesRadar UK team even plays it at lunchtimes. Sign of a good game, that. When we play it because we want to, it must be good.
But that’s why I suspect it’s going to turn out fine on Xbox 360 too. The concept behind Titanfall is strong regardless of next-gen power. And after all, Bluepoint Games' 360 version reportedly has all the 6v6 multiplayer, Titans, Burn Cards, rockets, shields and everything else the ‘big’ version has. The only real difference is that it runs at 30fps and upwards, as opposed to Xbox One which runs at 60fps (and downwards).
That 30fps could have an adverse impact on how well the game plays, due to every press of a button taking twice as long to be reflected on-screen. OK, I've simplified that a little. There are other factors too that make it not quite that cut-and-dried (like frame buffers and upscaling and what-have-you), but that’s the basic idea.
Case in point: Call of Duty would be worse if it ran at 30fps because it demands quick reflexes to react to an enemy threat in the blink of an eye. But with Titanfall, I doubt it will affect the game as much. The Titans’ movements are slow enough that they don’t demand laser-fast reactions necessarily. A commanding use of cover, spacial awareness and mastery of the dash control are of much more use to a Titan pilot than a twitchy trigger finger. And as for the on-foot combat… well, it won’t be as slick as Call of Duty, but it will be the same for everyone.
The simple fact remains that this 360 version (apparently) is Titanfall. And it’s been conveniently overlooked by Microsoft’s advertising department because they’d probably rather it didn’t exist. They want to secure as many sales of Xbox One Titanfall bundles as possible, not champion the fact you can also buy the same game on a machine you already own.
There’s nothing wrong with that strategy. But maybe there is something wrong with a last-gen version existing at all. Personally I don’t think we should be seeing last-gen versions of new-gen games at all any more. Watch Dogs, Assassin’s Creed… I just want the new-gen games to be as revolutionary as they should be. If there’s any suggestion that multi-generational development is holding back a game, it’s a bad thing for the industry. And if a next-gen showcase can be run perfectly well on the previous generation hardware, there's something wrong somewhere.
If Titanfall turns out to be every bit as enjoyable on 360 (or, god forbid, better), then let’s be honest: why should people upgrade to next-gen? It’s Xbox One’s biggest game. Ideally, you shouldn’t even be able to buy a PC version, let alone a 360 version. But I bet the 360 version will sell more, even if it has a higher RRP, which apparently is the case in some areas.
The 360 version has already had a two-week delay to ensure Bluepoint could “put the finishing touches on the game”. Well, it can’t be delayed forever. It's out tomorrow in the US and Friday in the UK. It’s too late to cancel… we’re about to get Xbox 360 Titanfall. GamesRadar has not been sent a copy to play, which is unusual. Normally, that means a game isn't very good. But in this instance, I bet it's because it is.