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E3 2013: Titanfall "Behind Closed Doors" Preview

We got a chance to see Titanfall during a "behind closed doors" session with Electronic Arts, but the company wouldn't provide any hands-on gameplay. Instead, we were crammed into a mini-theater and exposed to actual ten minutes of gameplay performed by developers from Respawn. It was basically the same scenario demonstrated during Microsoft's Xbox event on Monday, only just a little more for only us to see.

That said, this "hands-off" experience is based on visuals alone, but I probably wasn't the only one walking out of the dark booth wanting the real deal. The demo's scene began with the squad jumping out of an aerial transport, and then ended with them getting back in. Between those two points, the player, a pilot in the Militia, had to protect specific locations from the Interstellar Manufacturing Corporation (IMC).

"Titanfall" refers to the player's 24-foot Titan mech dropping (falling) into the scenario once constructed (which takes a minute). I noticed that this walking vehicle had an auto-pilot "guard" mode (or so it seemed), as it was able to shoot and stomp without the pilot in the cockpit. However once he approached the Titan, it grabbed him like a rag doll and stuffed him into the cockpit like some kind of tasty meal.

The team, managed by Respawn players hidden behind a curtain, protected specific locations that were in turn protecting a large craft hovering above the battlefield. Failing to protect this ship didn't end the match, allowing the players to fight their way back to the aerial transport and gain experience.

Honestly, the whole double-jump aspect reminds me of Unreal Tournament 2004 or, going even further back, Starsiege: Tribes from 1998. That's not a bad thing, and Respawn builds on that idea by allowing players to jump between vertical surfaces, run along walls, and mantle up ledges and elevated surfaces. The player is super agile, and these maneuvers add a bit of thrilling speed to the overall gameplay.

The demo also revealed that once a Titan is destroyed, players must wait two minutes before another one can be constructed. It's unclear how customizable these Titan mechs can be, but they seem to have three basic abilities including a dash move, a magnetic shield and a set of rockets. There seems to be different weapon sets too, as one Titan featured a pulse-type rifle while another had a heavy machine gun.

"The visionaries at Respawn have drawn inspiration from their proven experience in first-person action gaming, and are building on that pedigree by taking a new approach to game design and creating an all-new universe with Titanfall," EA said on Monday. "The game is entirely multiplayer, in a new experience that combines fast-paced multiplayer action with the heroic set piece moments traditionally found in campaign mode."

Unfortunately, we couldn't take pictures or video, so you'll have to keep drooling over the gameplay video until EA teases with more info. The game will arrive in Spring 2014 for the Xbox One, Xbox 360 and Windows PC.