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Video Game / Titanfall

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>"It's on the way. Standby for Titanfall."

Sarah, Militia Command

Titanfall is a 2014 Competitive Multiplayer First-Person Shooter Mecha Game published by Electronic Arts for the Xbox 360, Xbox One and PC, developed using Valve Software's Source Engine. It is the first game developed by Respawn Entertainment, a studio comprised of former Infinity Ward employees, and appears to be a Spiritual Successor to the Modern Warfare series of games they had worked on previously. It was announced as a Microsoft exclusive, though Respawn have not ruled out bringing other titles in the franchise to other platforms in the future.

Combat in Titanfall takes places on two levels: initially focusing on ground-based infantry combat similar to Modern Warfare, players (as "Pilots") are able to call-in and control the titular "Titans" as the match progresses, adding an extra dimension to the conflict. Titans act as a huge force multiplier for players and shift combat into a new perspective, as players are now 20ft tall and have shields but lose the ability to jump (replaced by a dash) and now have to deal with fighting enemy Titans. Pilots still on the ground aren't powerless, either, being more nimble than Titans and are easily able to Attack Its Weak Point with Anti-Titan weaponry and the ability to "rodeo" on enemy Titan's backs and bypass their shields by firing directly into sensitive components.

Titanfall is a multiplayer-only experience, and seeks to "combine fast-paced multiplayer action with heroic moments from traditional campaign mode". Rather than splitting development between a Single-Player story campaign and a Multiplayer component, Respawn decided to roll the story campaign into Multiplayer via a special "Campaign" multiplayer mode that takes players through maps in a specific order and with extra cutscenes and expository dialog added to give context to the match.

What story is given goes as such: Mankind has discovered an oddly-dense cluster of inhabitable solar systems they dubbed "The Frontier", and began colonization efforts. However, due to waning profits and interest the IMC, a Mega-Corp that grew from bankrolling the colonies, eventually abandons the Frontier and retreats to the Core worlds. Decades later, it is discovered that the abandoned colonists have managed to grow and thrive on their own. The IMC returns in force, claiming their previous ownership. The people of the frontier form a Militia to resist the IMC's exploitation of their worlds.

The sequel, Titanfall 2, was released in 2016, this time on the PlayStation 4 as well as PC and Xbox One. A mobile Real-Time Strategy Spin-Off, Titanfall Assault, was released in August 2017, but has gone defunct after July 2018. Apex Legends, a Free-to-Play Battle Royale Game Spin-Off, was launched in February 2019.

Standby for trope-list-fall:

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    General tropes 

  • Ace Pilot:
    • All of the Titan Pilots are this (at least when it comes to the Titans, with a good dose of being The Ace on top of that: they can parkour-run on buildings that would leave most other videogame protagonists envious, and have the absolute adoration (or fear) of the Grunts.
  • Action Bomb: One use of Titans are as walking nuclear bombs: while mainly used to attempt a Taking You with Me attack when the Titan is doomed, it's also useful for clearing out clusters of enemy Titans or dealing major damage to an enemy dropship during the Epilogue of matches.
  • Action Girl: Applies to any Player Character with their gender set to female.
  • Alternate Company Equivalent: Titanfall is funded by Electronic Arts as a counterpart to Activision and its Call of Duty franchise.
  • Armored Coffins: Averted; Titans have an Ejection Seat should it take too much damage, allowing the pilot to exit their machine. The pilot, however, can still get shot while in the air, if you can get a bead on them .
  • Awesome, but Impractical
    • The Plasma Railgun weapon has a charge-up time which increases the damage it does for by waiting for the bar, that appears when aiming, fills. Considering how fast Titans can move, the slow speed of the weapon's charge time as well as the projectile having travel time, can make it Difficult, but Awesome. It does get easier to use with an upgrade that nullifies the charge time, but reduces the damage dealt, making it into a slightly deadlier 40mm Cannon.
    • The Mag-Launcher can deal good damage if it hits. Sadly, the ways a Titan can dodge it is numerous. On the other hand, it is the only pilot anti-titan weapon that can engage titans through indirect fire, i.e. you don't have to expose yourself to hit the titan.
  • Battle Butler: The Jeeves AI, styled as a prim and sophisticated English butler, will gladly eviscerate your enemies for you while you are away from your titan.
  • BFG
    • All Titans lug massive handheld weapons compared to foot-mobile personnel.
    • Infantry always have portable anti-Titan weapons at their disposal.
  • Boring, but Practical: The "R-101C Carbine" assault rifle; nothing particularly flashy or cool about it, but it has a good balance of accuracy, power, and range. It can be used effectively at both close-quarters and long distance. Even though it's the first weapon available to players, many who have unlocked the entire arsenal still use it. Even after a nerf or two it remained one of the best weapons in the game. Invoked Trope, as the developers wanted the Carbine to be the workhorse of the game.
  • Bottomless Magazines: Averted for Pilots (except for those under the effect of some Burn Cards, which give regenerating ordnance), but in full effect for Titans - they carry infinite reloads,note  even for a Quad Launcher (which is reloaded by replacing some 40-60% of the weapon) you just picked up. In addition, entering your Titan refills your Pilot ammo.
  • Cannon Fodder: AI-controlled "Grunts", who more or less serve as MOBA "creeps". Killing them contributes towards getting to a player's Titanfall threshold and the team's score on particular game modes. They don't pose a very serious threat unless a player is inattentive. Private matches give options for upping the threat posed by grunts and spectres, however.
  • Catch and Return: One Titan ability called "Vortex Shield" magnetizes bullets and rockets fired at it, then throws it back at enemies.
    • Can turn a fight against an enemy Titan into a Tennis Boss if both of you are using it.
    • The "Amped Vortex Shield" Burn Card turns it into an Attack Reflector.
  • Chain Lightning: The Titans' Arc Cannon can jump from one infantry unit or Titan to another. Great for clearing out Grunts and Specters, or hitting enemy Titans that are too bunched together.
  • Charged Attack: The Charge Rifle for Pilots and the Arc Cannon / Plasma Railgun for Titans work with this mechanic.
  • Colossus Climb: Pilots can climb onto allied Titans to hitch a ride, while climbing enemy Titans will allow them to target the machine's internal systems and destroy it faster than anti-Titan weaponry.
  • Competitive Balance:
    • So you've called your Titan down and you're destroying the opposing team with ease - hooray! ...Except all enemy pilots carry anti-Titan weaponry that can take your Titan down in a few shots and can climb aboard your Titan and Attack Its Weak Point. However, players can modify their Titan loadout by including "Electric Smoke", which will fry enemy pilots attempting to "rodeo" their Titan. While it has a long recharge time, with the appropriate Burn Card, its cooldown time can be sped up. Failing that, friendly Pilots can ride on the shoulder of a Titan as well, preventing enemies from climbing aboard.
    • Each class of Titan adheres to a different trait: the default "Atlas" model is a Jack of All Statsnote , the "Ogre" is a Mighty Glaciernote , while the "Stryder" is a Fragile Speedsternote .
    • Pilots can hold a "legal" maximum of forty sixnote  Burn Cards. They may exceed this limit, but they cannot use any more cards until their deck is within that limit. Players will often find themselves tossing away extra cards that don't meld well with their preferred loadout.
    • A Titanfall cannot occur on a rooftop of any structure, despite available space. This is for player accessibility and the prevention of potential camping.
    • There is no destructible terrain, despite this being an eminently realistic potential feature, because the use of it is key to Pilot mobility / survivability.
  • Competitive Multiplayer
    • With several game modes and gameplay of a First-Person MOBA:
    • Campaign: The campaign of both sides, with each map having story cutscenes happening in the background evolving as either the IMC or Militia is winning.
    • Attrition: One of the two modes that appear in Campaign. It's the game's standard game mode and is a variant of the standard Deathmatch, that pits you against the enemy team in a race for the most points, by killing enemy infantry (known as Minions), Pilots and Titans, with player-controlled-character kills earning more points.note 
    • Hardpoint Domination: A simple capture point mode and the second mode to appear in Campaign. The more points held, the more you score, the faster you win. Titans have a high advantage in capturing points, nulifying any Pilots present, there by making it so it cannot be contested unless an enemy Titan is present.
    • Capture The Flag: Much like any FPS, it's a faster Capture The Flag gametype. Only Pilots can pick up flags, but Titans can return the flag. Utilizing the freerunning kit is essential to capturing the flag successfully.
    • Last Titan Standing: A "one life" Deathmatch gametype where everyone starts in Titans right away. If all Titans on one team dies, they lose. It's still possible to help your team even if your Titan dies (provided you eject), but as you're much more fragile in this mode, the best you can do is get potshots and distract the Titans.
    • Pilot Hunt: A pure Deathmatch mode, where only Pilot kills count. Minions still spawn, but provide no points, aside from decreasing Build-Timenote  and spawn few and far between, to help Pilots focus on enemy Pilots.
    • Marked for Death: A variation of Pilot Hunt where one pilot from each side is Marked for Death. Points are awarded for killing the marked person.
  • Co-Op Multiplayer: The Title Update 8 added "Frontier Defense", a Tower Defense mode where players must defend a Harvestor from incoming IMC enemies controlled by the AI.
  • Death from Above: One popular way of taking out enemy Titans is for the player to have their Titanfall right on top of enemy Titans. Successfully killing an enemy Titan by dropping your own on top of it could count as Cherry Tapping due to the long delay and warning given to enemy pilots nearby. There is a kit that causes your Titan to deploy faster, but using it offensively is still very difficult.
    • It's possible to take out deployed Titans their dome shield with a Titanfall (and easier since they are stationary). It was also possible to damage Evac Ships severely by dropping a Titan on it, but the latter was classified as a bug by Respawn and has since been removed.
  • Deployable Cover: The Particle Wall Titan ability creates a one-way energy shield, so you can shoot through it will still being protected. If it takes enough damage it will turn red then eventually fade completely.
  • Diegetic Interface: It's subtle, but your Titan's cooldown markers and other HUD elements are one. When your Titan closes its cockpit they take a few seconds to appear, and when your pilot looks down to trigger an eject some of them can be seen at the edge of the screen.
  • Ejection Seat: Pilots using Titans can opt out of the machine when it takes too much damage with this mechanic. It requires Button Mashing to trigger it, but one of the equippable abilities makes it automatic (while also giving you some brief invisibility when it activates).
  • Energy Weapon: The Charge Rifle, an anti-Titan weapon that fires lasers capable of punching holes in Titans and searing pilots.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: The term "Titanfall" refers to the process of a Titan dropping from orbit onto the battlefield.
  • Forced Tutorial: Justified in order to familiarize the player to the game's Humongous Mecha and Le Parkour mechanics.
  • Goomba Stomp: Inevitably, pilot, meet Titan foot; Titan foot, meet pilot.
  • Grenade Spam:
    • Several Burn Cards can cause this, but with pilots jumping all over the map, it's not going to be a big advantage.
    • There's also the "Triple Threat" and "Mag Launcher", a pair of weapons (for Titans and pilots, respectively) that can spew grenades all over the place.
  • Grievous Harm with a Body: One of the kill animations for Titan-on-Titan melee involves a Titan ripping off an enemy Titan's arms, then beating it to the ground with said arm. Also combines with a Punch Catch.
  • Hand Cannon: The game's revolver, the "B3 Wingman", is only a secondary weapon, but it has very impressive range for a sidearm.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: With the Vortex Shield, you can send back enemy fire. And it's not limited to Titans. A quick and smart pilot can catch an Archer rocket and send it flying back at a pilot, both catching them off guard and killing them.
  • Hollywood Hacking: Pilots can hack stationary turrets and Spectres to automatically attack the enemy. This is accomplished by literally stabbing them with a "data knife."
  • Infinite Supplies: Titans will get destroyed, but as soon as they do you get a message from your command saying they're readying another one to send to you in a couple of minutes.
  • Invisibility Cloak: One on-foot pilot ability is a cloaking device meant to be used against Titans.
  • Kaiju: The Boneyard stage has some gigantic bone strewn about. The Airbase has living ones walking about. A mission in the Story Mode involves deactivating a series of sonic towers that keep them off the base.
  • Kill Streak: Titans; one of Respawn Entertainment's goals is to allow all pilots access to them. The quicker the pilot scores kills and complete objectives, the faster they can call their Titans to the battlefield.
  • Kinetic Weapons Are Just Better:
    • Despite its futuristic setting, there are only three energy weapons present in Titanfall, two of them only accessible by Titans. Old-fashioned machine guns and (futuristic) rocket launchers are still used by pilots and Titans alike.
    • In addition, the railgun (available in Titan loadouts) is one of the more powerful weapons in the game, capable of taking down even an Ogre in just a few hits at almost any range.
  • Leave No Survivors: The winning team is tasked with killing all the opposing players in a game's Epilogue. Either that, or Sink the Lifeboats. Justified Trope: Only the Pilots are allowed to evac; the grunts aren't given any priority for immediate evac. A living Pilot is a huge investment of time and resources, and just six pilots on a battlefield can change the course of a battle. Making sure they get out, and conversely, making sure the enemy Pilots don't get out, is a big priority.
  • Le Parkour: When a pilot isn't using a Titan, they have the ability to do this, climbing ledges and running across walls such as slanted billboards. These abilities are augmented through the use of a short-range jetpack. Use is encouraged by the fact that it's safer to Wall Run than to remain on street level, where an enemy Titan can stomp on you. Wall-running is also considerably faster than running on the ground.
  • Lightning Gun: A Titan can use the "Titan Arc Cannon" to deal Chain Lightning damage to clustered groups of enemy personnel. It also drains Vortex Shields instead of being caught or reflected by them.
  • Little Hero, Big War: The most popular game mode Attrition averts this trope by making the objective to win a match not by killing more players on the other side, but by influencing the course of a whole battle between two whole armies with reinforcing infantry. Most FPS multiplayer modes have teams of just 6-12 players on each side about the size of a couple of fireteams, Titanfall has two whole battalions of infantry (assumed battalion size due to numbers being in the hundreds) and they are not useless because troops can actually kill each other (or careless players, to many people's embarrassment). Players are expected to function like special forces by inflicting mass casualties, converting enemy robotic infantry, hacking artillery turrets, and calling in Titans (Grunts are trivial to a Titan, you can literally walk all over the enemy). Though killing enemy players, and reducing enemy Titan support helps, inflicting more player kills than the other team does not ensure victory.
  • Ludicrous Gibs:
    • For the most part, any interaction between a Titan and anything that's not a Titan will result in this. Walking over a pilot/grunt will instantly crush them, and most Titan weapons will reduce pilots/grunts into tiny pieces, if hit directly. Meleeing a pilot with your Titan, even if they're in mid-air, turns them into a red mist.
    • More specifically, the Stryder-class Titan has an execution attack (meleeing an enemy titan once it has been doomed) that shows it tearing the enemy pilot from their cockpit and squeezing them until they explode.
  • Macross Missile Massacre:
    • Titans have a variety of rocket-based attacks available as a secondary weapon— the default shoots off unguided missiles in rapid sucession; attacks unlocked later fire in clusters, or lock on to enemies.
    • Sidewinder Anti-Titan Rocket Launcher. Think assault rifles that spits rockets.
  • A Mech by Any Other Name: Mecha in this game are called "Titans". The alternate name was chosen to avoid the connotations the word "mech" normally carries to a western audience, that of a very large, but very slow machine. Titans are smaller than "giant" robots, and Titanfall plays significantly faster than MechWarrior or Hawken.
  • Men Are the Expendable Gender: The AI Grunts, who are extremely weak and literally expendable, are exclusively male.
  • Mini-Mecha: The eponymous Titans are 24-foot tall robots.
  • Mooks: Every match continuously spawns Grunts and Spectres for both sides and are generally terrible against pilots, making them Cannon Fodder. Killing them grants the player some Experience Points and are counted into their respective teams' score in Attrition Mode, but killing pilots is worth much more.
    • Elite Mooks: Captains are named Grunts, although they don't do much damage otherwise. Spectres are slightly tougher health-wise, but still isn't a big threat. This all changes in the Frontier Defense co-op mode, where even lowly grunts can and will overpower you if you give them a chance. Even worse, Spectres can now Rodeo-attack you, and Self-Destruct Spectres runs really, really fast, and 3-4 of them detonating at once can destroy a near-perfect health Stryder.
      • Superpowered Mooks: You'd think AI-controlled Titans in Frontier Defense are easy pickings as they are in regular pvp mode. Nope. The "Standard" Titans don't deactivate themselves while rodeo attacked, Mortar Titans (Atlas-type) with Rocket Launchers can lay on the hurt at extreme ranges thanks to their arcing rockets, Arc Titans (Stryder-type) are fast and permanently emit electric pulses like your Arc Grenades or Arc Mines would, with the same shield-vaporizing effect as both weapons, and Nuke Titans (Ogre-type) are more than happy to bumrush the objective (and you, if you're defending it), which usually means up to 10 Ogre Titans barreling down at full speed, each one ready to deploy Nuclear Ejection if it dies.
  • Mook Horror Show: If an entire squad of Grunts is slaughtered in a matter of seconds, the survivors react in the way you'd expect.
    Grunt Captain: "My whole squad is dead! I need backup! Please send backup!"
  • Neck Snap: Performing a melee attack when you come up behind an enemy unit results in one.
  • Noodle Implements: According to Grunt chatter on Angel City, Barker once saved his squad with nothing more than an obsolete second-gen Atlas and a blowtorch.
  • On-Ride/On-Foot Combat: Both games use this as their main hook. The Player Character is the pilot of a Humongous Mecha (whose AI allows it to also function as a Robot Buddy), and gameplay of the main campaigns involves switching between the mecha, and the more maneuverable pilot (with some levels forcing you to stay inside, some forcing you to explore on foot, and others letting you decide what works best). The multiplayer treats riding a mecha as more of a powerup (albeit with some tradeoffs) granted by achieving enough kills.
  • Our Weapons Will Be Boxy in the Future: Played with, with most anti-personnel firearms occupying about the same place in terms of boxiness as modern weapons, though the Hemlok BF-R seems to be a deliberate homage to science-fiction guns using this aesthetic. Many of the titan weapons, on the other hand, are shaped rather like large metal boxes, and, true to the trope, are proportionally huge compared to the titans carrying them.
  • PVP Balanced: All Titans take a few seconds to "boot up" whenever the pilot enters it, cannot be destroyed upon entering the battlefield due to a timed energy barrier preventing arms fire from opposing pilots and Titans and every pilot carries some kind of anti-Titan weapon.
  • Real Robot Genre: The design of the Titans is a hybrid of Eastern and Western Mecha with the Titans having limbs and hands able to carry mecha-sized guns rather than having them mounted onto them like an Arm Cannon.
  • Regenerating Shields, Static Durability: Titans have two life gauges - the primary gauge measures the Titan's durability, while the secondary one wrapped around the larger one measures shields that recharge when the Titan isn't under enemy fire.
  • Roboteching: The Smart Pistol Mk5.
  • RPG Elements: A progression system allows players to improve their abilities and equipment the more they play.
  • Self-Destruct Mechanism: Titans can be set to overload their reactors upon being critically damaged, turning them into an incredibly deadly bomb.
  • Sentry Gun: Pilots can order their Titans to act like one when they're not piloting it. Additionally, pilots can also hack large stationary guns if available on the map. Finally, in Frontier Defense pilots can place a small sentry gun in between enemy waves.
  • Short-Range Shotgun: The "EVA-8" shotgun has longer range than some examples, but still way short of realistic.
  • Sink the Lifeboats: Whichever side wins a match is actively encouraged to destroy the enemy's dropship before it can escape with its survivors.
    • This is present in Campaign and almost every game mode in Titanfall, except for Last Titan Standing.
  • Standard FPS Guns: Played fairly straight for most of the anti-personnel weapons and sidearms. When we get to anti-Titan weapons, however, it gets somewhat harder to classify.
    • Pistol: As sidearms, they're available in automatic (RE-45 Autopistol), precise (Hammond P2011), and Hand Cannon (B3 Wingman) varieties. The Smart Pistol MK5 is a primary weapon for balance reasons, as it's capable of automatically targeting enemies and firing a series of target-seeking bullets at everything it's locked onto.
    • Assault Rifles: The R-101C Carbine is the only straight example of this, a Jack of All Stats available from the start of the game.
    • Submachine Guns: The R-97 Compact SMG and C.A.R. SMG share a sort of Ryu and Ken balance, with the latter sacrificing ammo capacity and fire rate for enhanced accuracy and damage, making it something of an assault rifle/SMG hybrid.
    • Machine Gun: The Spitfire LMG has excellent damage and fire rate at the cost of low initial accuracy and a long reload time. It's also well suited to damaging Titans at close range after climbing onto them.
    • Shotgun: The EVA-8 Shotgun is the only variety available at launch. While still a Short-Range Shotgun, it can easily kill an enemy in one or two shots from a respectable distance.
    • Sniper Rifle: Similar to the game's twin SMGs, the Longbow-DMR Sniper and Kraber-AP Sniper fill a similar role, with the former being a semi-auto sniper rifle and latter being a bolt action model that one-shots infantry and deals more damage to Titans at the expense of magazine size, fire rate and hit-scan property.
    • Marksman Gun: The G2A4 Rifle kind of fits here, being a science fiction expy of the real world Mk 14 EBR.
    • Battle Rifle: The Hemlok BF-R is a heavier rifle that fires in 3- or 5-shot bursts with good precision and damage.
    • Grenade Launcher: The Mag Launcher.
  • Smart Gun: The Smart Pistol Mk5.
  • Tactical Withdrawal: A unique take for a First-Person Shooter - once a match ends, the losing team must evacuate via a Drop Ship. The ship leaves after a period of time or is destroyed by the opposing team.
  • Taking You with Me: The Titan kit Nuclear Explosion allows pilots to set their Titan's nuclear reactor to detonate just after ejecting, taking out nearby enemies.
  • Tennis Boss: While there are no bosses in the game, opposing Titans with Vortex Shields can get into a tennis match where one Titan catches another's bullets and throws it back, only for the Titan to catch the bullets that his target caught and throw them back, and so on until the shields run out of power or someone misses.
  • Title Drop: A literal example, "Titanfall" is also the term that the game uses for calling in your Titan, which drops from the sky a few seconds later.
  • Too Awesome to Use: Respawn limited the amount of Burn Cards you can havenote , to discourage this. Still, the rarest Burn Cards are the "Instant-Titan" Burn Cardsnote  and Spectre Camo. The "Instant-Titan" Burn Cards are the rarest as they are only gotten by reaching level 50, meaning that in theory, you can only get 10 of each throughout the game. And that's if you have enough space for the cards in your inventory. Subverted somewhat with the patch that added the Black Market, where players can use Credits (won by playing the game normally and completing daily challenges) to buy Premium Booster Packs. The catch? They are the most expensive of all Booster Packs (50000 Credits) and only offer 4 random Premium Burn Cards.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: The "Epilogue" once a match ends can be this for the winning team, whether it's denying the opposing team their Drop Ship or wiping out every single one of them.
  • Video Game Dashing: All Titans can perform this, with a visible "dash meter". The Stryder-class takes this up to eleven, which allows it to dash three times in quick succession. With its core ability active, it can dash an UNLIMITED number of times. This is justified with pilots, as they all have jetpacks which allow them to move in three dimensions.
  • The Workhorse: The R-101C carbine is meant to be this for the whole game. Also, most of the guns in the game are based on the R-101C platform (kinda like the AR-15 platform in real life). See Boring, but Practical above.

    Story/Lore-specific tropes 

  • Absent Aliens: There are no sapient species seen, but dangerous alien fauna play a major role in Mission 6 "Here Be Dragons" and Mission 7 "The Three Towers". Swampland, one of the maps for the "Expedition" DLC, is also set on an uncharted world that nevertheless is covered in ancient ruins and contains artifacts of unknown origin.
  • Ace Pilot:
  • Action Girl: Militia specialist Sarah in Mission 7 participates in the battle with a small covert ops team that successfully destroys two of the three Resonance Towers at the Sierra Airbase, which causes the base to be overrun with hostile wildlife.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: At the end of campaign Mission 8 "Battle of Demeter", Militia leader James MacAllan irreversibly sabotages the reactor at Demeter so that it will blow no matter what. As the IMC awaits for evacuation, IMC combat coodinator "Spyglass" suddenly and unexpectedly aborts the retrieval, leaving all IMC ground forces to die on the surface in favor of moving the larger capital ships away from the planet. Subverted when considering the size of the explosion, and MacAllan ordering the Militia leaders to do exactly the same thing, Spyglass makes a justified decision.
  • Airborne Aircraft Carrier: The IMS Sentinel is stated by the Militia to be a "super-carrier".
  • The Alcoholic: Barker; in his debut scene for Mission 4 "Get Barker", when playing as the Militia, he's so tanked that he's slurring his words.
  • Amoral Afrikaner: Sgt. Blisk. He's a high-ranking IMC mercenary and a very bad dude— at one point, he orders his men to shoot down fleeing civilian ships. This is the first thing we see him do.
  • Arc Words: "Take the ship". Fifteen years ago, IMC Vice-Admiral Marcus Graves let MacAllan go, following The Mutiny aboard the IMS Odyssey, which began a long chain of events leading to MacAllan abandoning the IMC. Following the end of Mission 8, Graves defects, joins and leads the Militia, after MacAllan's example.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: One of the animals seen in Titanfall is a massive, four-legged creature that looks like a dinosaur. In Mission 7, the trio of Resonance Towers keep local animals from overrunning an IMC base. When all three are taken down, one of them begins rampaging through the base, shrugging off missile strikes from attacking fighters as it crushes everything beneath it.
  • Back from the Brink: Despite its losses at Demeter, the various descriptions for the DLC packs show that the IMC is not only nowhere near finished, but is actually counterattacking, focusing on lightly defended settlements and mining worlds in order to keep their war machine going.
  • Batman Gambit: When the IMS Sentinel appears in Mission 4, MacAllan orders Militia fighters to head on a suicide run to damage the super-carrier. Militia leaders are aghast about this order; at the end of the mission, MacAllan states the Militia can now directly attack it, as it's left in dry dock for refueling and repairs at a loosely-guarded IMC facility. This leads to Mission 5 "Assault on the Sentinel''.
  • Battle in the Rain: Mission 2 "The Colony" and Mission 3 "The Odyssey" for both sides takes place on Troy, a jungle planet that, at the moment, is overcast and raining constantly.
  • Big Damn Heroes/The Cavalry: At the end of "Get Barker", if the Militia wins, the Third Merchant Fleet warp in over Angel City and beginning pummeling the IMS Sentinel with missiles, forcing it to retreat.
  • Black-and-White Morality: It's not exactly hard to figure out who's truly the antagonists. In the first mission alone, the IMC opens fire on civilian vessels while fighting the Militia. Blisk justifies it by insisting that "today's civilian could be tomorrow's Militia". In the second mission, the IMC tests their new Spectre combat robots on helpless settlers. When MacAllan tells Graves he's fighting for the wrong side, it's not hard to believe him. Meanwhile, the Militia only attacks legitimate military targets (their only gray action is attempting to shoot down an IMC Dropship to prevent IMC pilots from retreating and ensure they never escape unscathed) . By the end of the game, they win quite a few defectors from the IMC to their cause.
  • Crossover: For April Fools' Day 2014, IGN made a fake trailer for an upcoming DLC allowing one to replace Titans with Optimus Prime.
    One shall stand. Titans shall fall.
  • Cutscene Power to the Max: A few cases.
    • At the beginning of the IMC campaign in "Made Men", a group of Spectres bring down a Militia Titan by dog-piling it. Spectres are nowhere nearly that effective in actual gameplay. Zig-zagged when a decent player pops the "Spectre Camo" burn card, in which case there is a highly competent Spectre running around the map, and it may very well rodeo a Titan. The Frontier Defense Co-op wave defense game mode gives Spectres the ability to rodeo Titans.
    • At the beginning of the final campaign mission, Militia players can watch an Atlas leap on top of a dropship and bring it to the ground.
  • Cybernetics Eat Your Soul: Hammond Robotics would like to assure you that this is not the case.
    Spectre Camo Burn Card flavor text: "Don't think of it as throwing away your humanity. You are merely discarding your human frailty."
    • The fact that the Burn Card is quoting Doctor Hammond (founder of Hammond Industries), probably sets off a lot of WMGs, especially since Spectres are way more aggresive than the cannonfodder you usually see.
  • Cyberpunk: Besides the Titans, personal Deflector Shields and gravity-defying technology, corrupt Mega Corps, "frontier" worlds and the like are also present.
  • Dead Man Writing: The closing narration of the Militia campaign is an audio recording MacAllan made shortly before the Battle of Demeter.
  • Defector from Decadence: MacAllan used to be one of the best officers for the IMC, but a news report in the game's intro indicates he has defected to the Militia. Subverted as he simply disappears off radar for fifteen years, until the current conflict brings him out in the open. Although he initially refuses to assist the Militia, after they rescue the civilians under his leadership, he plays this straight by assuming command of the faction. Following the destruction of the Demeter base, Graves pulls a Heel–Face Turn, leading the Militia on a raid against a Hammond Robotics facility to steal an army of Spectre combat drones to aid them. The ending of the Militia campaign also indicates a lot of IMC soldiers have defected to them.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: Besides the literal possibility of dropping a Titan on someone, this can happen to you and anyone on Demeter in the end of the 8th mission. You don't get a grand explosion to show the effect of it; Your screen turns white as the game slowly ends, signifying everyone's death and sacrifice on Demeter as it explodes.
  • Dying Moment of Awesome/Heroic Sacrifice: MacAllan's sabotage ensures the base's reactor at Demeter goes critical, and he dies with it. The destruction of the base completely changes the course of the war and cripples the IMC's ability to fight effectively in the Frontier.
  • Elites Are More Glamorous: A Titan pilot who has achieved "Full Combat Certification" (i.e. the player) is a warrior who has underwent extreme mental and physical challenges in infantry combat, Le Parkour movement, and Titan combat. They're basically a futuristic version of modern-day special forces. Invoked Trope: Grunt chatter often reflects how awesome they think pilots are.
    Grunt: "Are you seeing this?! The pilot is on the fucking Titan!"
  • The Empire/One Nation Under Copyright: The Earth-based "Interstellar Manufacturing Corporation" (IMC) fills this role, seeking to end the independence of the outlying colonies defended by the Militia. The IMC, however, are only a small subsidiary of a much bigger entity, Hammond Robotics.
  • Enemy Chatter: Grunts, both IMC and Militia, engage in lively conversation while they're in combat. Their topics of discussion range from the purely practical (e.g. warning their squad members about hostile pilots) to the hilarious.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • Admiral Graves pointedly asks how many civilian ships Blisk took out in The Refueling Raid.
    • Some IMC grunts question why, exactly, their superiors felt the need to wipe out a non-allied town in the Colony map.
  • "Everybody Dies" Ending: The Demeter mission ends with the deaths of just about everybody fighting except for Blisk, who quits the battlefield as soon as he has a reason to.
  • Everyone Has Standards: At least one grunt is unhappy with the idea of Fem Bots being used as sexbots.
    Militia Grunt: "That's disgusting, Manny!
  • Evil Brit: IMC forces seem to be composed of Australians and British troops, judging from their accents. Sergeant Blisk of the IMC is a notable aversion: he's South African, according to supplemental information.
  • Excuse Plot: The little plot that's there is in service to getting the player into a giant robot for the purposes of fighting other giant robots. To elaborate, in The Future, humanity has developed Faster-Than-Light Travel and colonized a sector of space known as the Frontier. Eventually, Hammond Robotics begins become increasingly predatory towards the resource-rich Frontier, and decades-long tensions ignite in the form of a Militia fighting for independence from the Core Systems. Hammond Robotics deploys its private army, the Interstellar Manufacturing Corporation, to put down the uprising.
  • Failure Is the Only Option: While its possible for the IMC side to win missions in the campaign, the Militia always achieves some secondary objective or goal and ends up coming out ahead regardless.
  • Family Business: The IMC and Hammond Robotics are owned and run by the Hammond family.
  • Faster-Than-Light Travel: Referred to as "jump", this allowed humanity to become an interstellar civilization.
  • A Father to His Men: Although James MacAllan doesn't want to be part of the IMC/Milita war, he quickly joins the Militia when they save the colony he was exiled to, and encourages his men to fight for the ideal of the Frontier's independence. When he joins the Battle of Demeter, he even says "I wouldn't put you into the fire I myself would not go in", and backs these words up by not just piloting a Titan for the first time since his retirement, but also pulling a Heroic Sacrifice to destroy Demeter, his last words assuring the Militia men left that It Has Been an Honor serving alongside them.
  • Fighting for a Homeland: The Militia fighting to throw the IMC out of the Frontier.
  • Genius Bruiser: Spyglass, the IMC's tactical AI, is mentally superhuman in all aspects. Spectres, the IMC's Killer Robots, are physically superhuman in all aspects. Spyglass likes to use modified Spectres as disposable avatars to directly participate on the battlefield. Do the maths.
  • Godzilla Threshold: The IMC are really in dire straits if they promote a robot to the rank of Vice-Admiral after the events at Demeter.
  • Good Colors, Evil Colors: The Militia's attire consist of naturalistic brown and green colors in contrast to the more industrial gray motif of the IMC.
  • Great Offscreen War: MacAllan makes mention of "The Titan Wars" in "Get Barker"
  • Handwave: Burn Cards as the presentation for the Comeback Mechanic, explained as rather illegal cards given to pilots pre-missions that stand for aftermarket upgrades - if a pilot needs it, they'll burn them before they deploy. The mysterious benefactor who slipped them under the door is never brought up again.
  • Heads I Win, Tails You Lose:
    • In Mission 8, the IMC is attempting to shut down the reactor core at the Demeter base to prevent the Militia from self-destructing it. Halfway through the mission, MacAllan sabotages the reactor so that even if the IMC succeeds in shutting down the core, it will send out a shockwave that will self-destruct the base anyway. Demeter is destroyed no matter what.
    • Also, Mission 1 involves the First Militia Fleet attempting to refuel. Regardless of who wins, the Militia successfully refuel with the loss of a dozens ships and escape. The only real difference is whether the Redeye, a Militia ship that's trying to refuel over the combat area, is shot down.
    • A better example is in the ninth and final mission "The Made Men": the Militia are attempting to steal an army of Spectres, but no matter what happens, the robots all self-destruct at the end. Even if the Militia didn't get them, it's still a big blow to the IMC war effort.
    • Frankly, as stated in Invincible Hero, the Militia fulfill their objectives in every campaign mission, regardless of which team wins the actual match: they succeed in recovering the data from the IMS Odyssey, they extract Barker out from under the IMC's nose, the IMS Sentinel is destroyed, etc.
  • Invincible Hero: Regardless of whether the IMC or Militia win in any campaign mission, the latter will achieve their objectives no matter what.
  • It Has Been an Honor: In Mission 8, MacAllan's last words are this to the Militia troops on the ground, right before the reactor core of Demeter blows.
  • It's Personal: In the final mission, after Graves tells Blisk the Militia will win because they fight for a cause, in contrast to Blisk who simply fights for a paycheck, Blisk counters with "Oh, I'd fight you for free."
  • Keystone Army: The IMC is heavily dependent on the refueling facilities at Demeter because it's the only settled planet within reach of the Core Systems. In order for them to receive reinforcements, the ships arriving from the Core Systems expend all their fuel to reach Demeter, at which point they refuel and head onto the Frontier. Losing Demeter will cripple the IMC irrevocably as their reinforcements would take years to reach the Frontier instead of days. The Militia successfully destroy the base at the end of Mission 8.
  • Kick the Dog: Mission 2 has the IMC "field testing" its new Spectres by attacking innocent colonists.
  • La Résistance: Half of the pilots in a match will be part of the IMC, fighting against the other half in the Militia.
  • Mass "Oh, Crap!":
    • The Militia get this when the IMS Sentinel jumps in on top of Angel City in Mission 4. However, they regain control of the situation
    • The IMC after the IMS Sentinel blows up, and again when the IMC base on Demeter is destroyed.
  • Mecha-Mooks: "Spectres", cybernetic infantry used by both sides. With the destruction of the Demeter base, the IMC becomes increasingly dependent on Spectres, to the point they begin to vastly outnumber actual humans that comprise the IMC.
  • Mega-Corp: Hammond Robotics. Their military branch, the IMC, serve as one of the game's two playable factions, and is able to field a private army with enough firepower to rival the Frontier's military strength.
  • Mêlée à Trois: Mission 6 has dragon-like animals that will attack both IMC and Militia forces.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: The hostile wildlife the IMC is concerned about in Missions 6 and 7 are large, flying animals that resemble dragons. Mission 6 is even called "Here Be Dragons".
  • Might Makes Right: Blisk's philosophy
    Graves: "No person is better than another, Blisk."
    Blisk: "I disagree. You kill me, you're better. I kill you, I'm better."
  • Mission Control: Three characters fulfill the role for each side - for the Militia, MacAllan, Cheng "Bish"note  Lorck, and Sarah; on the IMC side, Blisk, Graves, and Spyglass.
  • The Mutiny: Fifteen years ago, MacAllan led a mutiny against Graves aboard the IMS Odyssey due to being fed up with the IMC's immoral targeting of civilians and escaped with the ship. At the review board afterward, Graves maintained MacAllan and his men managed to take over the ship. However, we find out at the end of Mission 8 that Graves let him have the Odyssey with his blessing. It shouldn't be surprising that Graves defects to the Militia after the Battle of Demeter.
  • Obviously Evil: Let's see, a Mega-Corp with callous disregard for human life and rather sterile-looking white uniforms and decor vs. homesteaders on the Frontier that— we've already lost you, haven't we?
  • Only One Name: Sarah and Blisk are only ever addressed by one name.
  • Psycho for Hire: Blisk, who could care less about whether the ships the IMC destroys are civilian or Militia.
  • Railroading: One of the weaknesses of the multiplayer-based campaign is that, even if you Curb Stomp the enemy team, your side will still lose when the plot says you need to.
  • Rank Up: Spyglass becomes Vice-Admiral after Graves defects following the destruction of Demeter.
  • The Revolution Will Not Be Vilified: The Militia are squeaky-clean heroes, in contrast to the IMC who cannot seem to resist kicking puppies at every chance they get.
  • Robot War: The conflict between the IMC and the Militia is gradually becoming this after the destruction of Demeter. Since the IMC will not receive human reinforcements from the Core Systems for years (and also because many IMC soldiers are defecting), they must make up their losses by manufacturing more Spectres. It's likely this is the reason Spyglass is promoted to Vice-Admiral. In the last mission, Graves attempts to persuade Blisk to join the Militia and turn the war into solely a humans vs. machines conflict, but Blisk won't have any of it, and firmly chooses to remain an IMC faithful and fight with the machines. That said, while Most of the IMC's combatants in the frontier are machines, the people calling the shots back home for the IMC are still human.
  • Scenery Porn: Lots of it
  • Sequel Hook/No Ending: Mission 9 ends with the Militia having the upper-hand in the war, but the IMC are far from finished. Indeed, the closing narration for the Militia campaign delivered by an audio recording of MacAllan is a Rousing Speech of confidence that victory will come soon. On the other hand, the IMC campaign closes with a message delivered by Vice-Admiral Spyglass stating they remain an effective fighting force despite being cut off from the Core Systems, and they will adapt and prevail.
  • Settling the Frontier: The Frontier Colonies, with the more "rural" settlements and homesteads resembling futuristic Wild West towns.
  • Shout-Out
  • Slobs Versus Snobs: Professional soldiers fight for the extremely wealthy IMC; the Militia is composed of a rag-tag army of bandits, homesteaders, mercenaries and pirates.
  • Spiritual Successor: Many of the developers previously worked on the first two Call of Duty games and the first two Modern Warfare games. Indirectly, it could also be considered this to Brink!, which also featured Le Parkour and attempted to meld campaign and multiplayer gameplay.
  • Take Up My Sword: Just before he dies on Demeter, MacAllan asks Graves to lead the Militia and continue where he left off; Graves does.
  • That's What I Would Do: Throughout the campaign, the Militia are proactive while the IMC is forced to be reactive to their actions. However, the latter manages to always be hot on the trail of the Militia. How? Fifteen years ago, Graves and MacAllan ran war games where they simulated a way to destroy the IMC using a ragtag guerrilla group, and Graves recognizes MacAllan is using the exact same tactics they developed back then.
  • The War of Earthly Aggression: The primary conflict of Titanfall involves a militia consisting of citizen-soldiers from the Frontier Colonies fighting to maintain their independence from the Earth-based IMC.
  • Time Skip: The final mission occurs three months after the end of Mission 8.
  • Title Drop: In more ways than one - "Standby for Titanfall."
  • Villain Protagonist: Playing the IMC campaign really comes across as this.
  • Wham Episode/Game Changer: The end of Mission 8 - for the first time in the entire conflict's history, the Militia have the upper hand, and the IMC are forced into a defensive position as they are no longer able to receive reinforcements and supplies from the Core Systems.
  • Wham Shot: At the end of the Tutorial Level, the scenery hologram outside of the room shuts itself down, revealing a window to a planet outside. The player is on a spaceship.
  • Where It All Began: A map Wargame in Expedition DLC takes place in simulator, similar to the training mission.
  • Your Terrorists Are Our Freedom Fighters: Played with; the Militia are seen as terrorists by the IMC, but serve as protecting the Frontier. At the same time, not everyone in the Frontier sees the Militia as heroes. MacAllan specifically founded the colony the Militia find him in to get away from the war. As he so fittingly puts it:
    MacAllen: They'll call us terrorists or worse. But we can't win playing by their rules.


Video Example(s):



A player destroys a dropship picking up enemy players at the end of a multiplayer match.

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5 (8 votes)

Example of:

Main / SinkTheLifeBoats

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