This is, I suppose, an interesting question. Titanfall came out earlier this year amidst much hype, and then... it disappeared. Completely. Literally, no one talks about it, not even to criticize it. Its mindshare was absolutely zero.
Was Titanfall a failure? Let's consider the question from various parameters:
- Review scores: Titanfall seems to have done well here, with an overall Metascore of 86, which includes a 9/10 on this very site. This wasn't any world breaking success or anything on this front- and compared, especially, to Zampella and West's last major game (Modern Warfare/2), is a dramatic step down, but it's a reasonable success here.
- Sales: Things get much messier here. Six months since its initial release, we have no numbers whatsoever for this game. We know that it sold 900,000 in the US on the Xbox One... and that's it. Microsoft won't give us numbers, EA won't give us numbers, Respawn won't give us numbers, third party agencies like NPD won't give us numbers. There is a distinct lack of any commentary on this game's sales performance, apart from various representatives from EA saying 'it did well,' which, if it did, where are the receipts? Why hide the numbers?
- Online population: Amusingly enough, the game, which can only be played online, seems to have dwindled out as far as the online population goes. To be specific: on PC, the game is a ghost town. You can't find any games without much difficulty, and this is in spite of some major and aggressive Origin sales for the game (at least two in six months) as well as free weekends (also at least two in six months). It's slightly better on Xbox One and Xbox 360, but it's not even the most popular, or the second most popular, shooter on those systems- Call of Duty and Battlefield are both ranked higher.
- Did it help the Xbox One? This was supposed to be one of this game's primary functions. EA and Microsoft both positioned Titanfall as a major system seller for the Xbox One. When the Xbox One began to fall clearly behind the PS4 right after its launch, people pointed to Titanfall as the game that would reverse (or at least stall) the trend, and help the Xbox One regain momentum. And yet... this did not happen. There was no noticeable increase in Xbox One sales once Titanfall launched. In fact, Xbox One sales fell after the launch of Titanfall in the US (which is the game's and the console's strongest territory), and this was in spite of some aggressive bundling, pricing, and promotions of the game and the console.
- The biggest game of this year: This ties directly into its sales performance, I guess, but Microsoft billed Titanfall as 'the biggest game of this year' in its press releases leading up to the game's launch. By any metric- review scores, sales, online population, hardware boosts- the game failed at living up to its billing. It is clear that a game like Destiny, for example, or even Smash Bros. 4, will easily beat this game on all of those fronts. Even Mario Kart 8 beat Titanfall on all of those fronts. What was supposed to be the biggest game of this year became barely a blip that didn't even leave any lasting mark on the gaming landscape.
- The intangibles: There are three intangibles to consider- this game, the next game from the makers of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, was supposed to be one of those games that would reinvent the FPS genre, reconceptualize how we approach shooters. This game, like Halo with FPSs, and Gears of Wars with TPSs, was Microsoft's bid to go for three out of three as far as defining shooter titles being exclusive to the Xbox goes. And finally, this game was supposed to earn the Xbox One (and itself) some major, major mindshare. People would keep talking about the Xbox One, because Titanfall would be the big thing in gaming, and hey, that was only on Xbox One. Each would help the other grow. Except... again, it failed on all these three 'intangible' parameters as well. The game's mindshare, as mentioned above, was absolutely zero. The game changed nothing as far as first person shooters go. And certainly, it being the defining shooter of its generation, or being exclusive to Xbox One, are both laughable notions as far as this game goes. It seems to have, then, failed with the intangible parameters as well.
In my estimation, then, Titanfall was a resounding failure. It may have been a modest sales and reviews success (just barely, at that), but on the whole, on any scale, tangible or intangible, absolute or relative, the game seems to have failed. I don't know what EA, Respawn, or Microsoft expected from Titanfall, but what ultimately happened to it was certainly not it, I am assuming.
What do you think? Did the game fail?