Titanfall is indisputably great, but the game ultimately will live or die by its online functionality.
As discovered by Battlefield 4, releasing a game is only half the battle when it comes to online-dependent titles. For Titanfall to realise its true potential it must work – consistently and indefinitely.
And it transpires that Titanfall’s online health is in the hands of Microsoft, with Respawn engineer Jon Shiring confirming to Engadget that the game will use Microsoft’s much-touted Azure cloud computing servers.
"We're trying to figure out how many people will be playing and trying to make sure the servers will be there for that," he said.
"One of the really nice things about it is that it isn't my problem, right? We just say [to Microsoft], here are our estimates, aim for more than that, plan for problems and make sure there are more than enough servers available – they'll know the whole time that they need to bring more servers online."
The early indications are that things are going well. There have been a few issues with gamers connecting to matches on both PC and Xbox One:
We’re hearing that some PC users may be experience longer than usual load times. We are aware and working on a solution.— Titanfall (@Titanfallgame) March 11, 2014
If you're getting the message “Initializing” on PC, back out of the game and try again. It may take a few attempts as servers load!— Titanfall (@Titanfallgame) March 11, 2014
EA is doing the main communication on this - but X1 is seeing the same issue as PC, which is expected. It’s slow - you’ll eventually get in.— Jon Shiring (@jonshiring) March 11, 2014
We are hard at work on a real fix which should make the problem go away. Fingers crossed it passes checks and goes up later tonight.— Jon Shiring (@jonshiring) March 11, 2014
And it seems that some Belkin router owners are experiencing some additional issues:
@_HEADward We've noticed that other users are having similar issues connecting through Belkin's routers. We're looking into this.— Titanfall (@Titanfallgame) March 11, 2014
But with hundreds of thousands playing the game overnight these minor quibbles seem like quite the victory for EA and Microsoft. The real test now is to see how the servers cope throughout the week and after the game arrives in Europe this Friday.