Xbox and PC game Titanfall was originally prototyped running on a Ratchet & Clank engine, it was revealed in journalist Geoff Keighley's newly released The Final Hours of Titanfall feature. In the extensive and fascinating feature, it's revealed that Insomniac Games founder Ted Price called Respawn Entertainment cofounder Vince Zampella in July 2010 to tell him he could freely use Insomniac's "Luna" engine to make the game that would become Titanfall.
Price and Zampella were already friends and were both in similar situations, working on games to be published by Electronic Arts. (Insomniac's game was the co-op shooter Fuse). Because of their existing friendship and because Price wanted to help Respawn succeed, he offered up the engine, which powered Ratchet & Clank: A Crack In Time, and Respawn prototyped Titanfall--then known as R1--for a period of one year using that technology.
It's also revealed in the feature that EA offered to let Respawn use the technology behind Lord of the Rings Conquest and The Saboteur from the since-closed studio Pandemic Studios. Respawn also considered using Epic Games' Unreal Engine, but decided against it because developers feared they would not be able to achieve 60fps in that engine. EA finally switched over to Valve's Source Engine, which runs the final version of Titanfall.
The Final Hours of Titanfall also touches on many other interesting facts about the game's development. It's revealed in the the feature that after learning the specs for Microsoft's Xbox One, Respawn reached out to Sony in hopes of finding out how the PlayStation 4 would compare. However, Sony was not willing to talk specs yet and instead offered to help Respawn make a PlayStation Vita version of Titanfall. That, of course, never happened.
We also learn in the Titanfall feature that the version of the game you know and (maybe) love today wasn't always structured as you now know it. In fact, in an earlier version of Titanfall, players would begin rounds in titans, only to transition to a pilot as an "extra life." But in February 2013, just 13 months out from release, Repsawn changed the game so that you began as a pilot and could call in your titan from above, leading to the name Titanfall.
The full Final Hours of Titanfall hits on subjects like the rift between Respawn founders Jason West (who is no longer with the company) and Vince Zampella that grew as a result of the massive Call of Duty lawsuit, Titanfall's prototyped single-player mode, and how the game came to be an Xbox and PC exclusive. It also features some neat concept art of the various in-development versions of Titanfall, and shows off some early prototype videos of the game.
One month after release, new copies of Ubisoft's role-playing game South Park: The Stick of Truth, developed by Fallout: New Vegas studio Obsidian Entertainment, are now available at retailers like Amazon and GameStop for $40. That's $20 below the game's original $60 asking price at launch last month.
The new, lower price point is currently good for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC versions of the game at Amazon, while GameStop's savings are only for consoles. The PC version continues to sell for $60 through Ubisoft's store and Steam. It's unclear if the new $40 price point for South Park: The Stick of Truth is an official price drop or just a retailer-led promotion. We have reached out to Ubisoft for comment.
For more on South Park: The Stick of Truth, check out GameSpot's review.
If you're not convinced that Oculus VR's decision to sell to Facebook was a good idea for the future of virtual reality, you'll become a believer a year from now. That's according to creator of the Oculus Rift headset, 21-year-old Palmer Luckey, who told Hip Hop Gamer at PAX East that he would have been skeptical about the deal, too, if he were just an average person.
"Knowing behind the scenes what's going on and what we need money to do and what we're going to be able to do with this deal, I know for myself that it's the best that we could possibly do," Luckey said. "So if people give us some time, I think they'll agree with us. A year from now, everyone--I think even a lot of the doubters, will look and say 'You know what, they really did make the best choice.'"
Luckey went on to explain what the Oculus VR sale to Facebook has allowed the company to achieve. He recalled that before the deal went through, some prospective employees were afraid to come on because Oculus VR was a high-risk start-up that could not promise stability. Now that they have the backing of Facebook, however, Oculus VR is in a position to hire anyone it needs because people no longer have that concern, Luckey said.
"A year from now, everyone--I think even a lot of the doubters, will look and say 'You know what, they really did make the best choice'" -- Palmer Luckey
He also said that selling to Facebook means Oculus VR--which will remain autonomous--allows the company to build its own custom parts instead of harvesting smartphone scraps for its virtual reality headsets. This will in turn allow for a "way better" product, he said.
Luckey further stated that Facebook and Oculus share the same dream that virtual reality will one day become mainstream. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg wasn't shy about saying this when he announced the surprise $2 billion buyout of Oculus VR late last month.
Another benefit of selling to Facebook, Luckey said, is that now more AAA developers are getting excited about working on virtual reality games. Because Oculus VR now has stability, it means that developers understand "VR is going to be around for many years" and don't need to worry about dedicating resources to a platform that could disappear.
On the other end of the spectrum, Luckey teased that the influx of cash from the Facebook means Oculus VR can sign deals with independent studios to fund virtual reality games. The first of these deals are closing "really soon," he said.
Also in the interview, Luckey said when the Oculus Rift headsets finally do go on sale, they will be sold at cost. If they cost $200 to make, Oculus will sell them for $200, he said as an example. Of course, Oculus has not announced a release date or price for the final, consumer version of Oculus Rift. The latest development kit currently sells for $350.
Finally, Luckey addressed the other major virtual reality headset on the market, Sony's Project Morpheus. He said he does not consider this headset to be a competitor because Sony is catering only to its consumers, while Oculus is targeting a much wider audience.
"I think Morpheus is less competitive because it's for PlayStation 4," Luckey said. "They're trying to sell to their people and we're trying to sell to PC gamers and maybe mobile later on as it gets more powerful. Even if we were competing, I just think we have the best technology and the best team. But I am really excited that they're doing a pretty good job."