Respawn Entertainment muddies the water, probably on purpose.
Today’s Bad Press article is more of a Bad Devs article. If there’s one thing I’ve reinforced here at MMO Fallout over the years it’s the idea that our readers should know how to read marketing material. Because public relations in game developers know how to lie in a way that isn’t technically lying. So when a game developer responds to rumors that their game is shutting down by saying they are “committed to the brand,” it doesn’t actually say that the game isn’t shutting down. Alternately when a company says they have “no plans to introduce microtransactions at launch,” that doesn’t exclude them from doing so one month later. Or sometimes they just lie because what are you going to do about it.
Respawn Entertainment’s PR department is playing a game of doublespeak this week, pretending to contradict the press and seemingly blaming them for misrepresenting a statement from one of its own employees, while not contradicting either at all. Earlier this week, Respawn Entertainment’s own community coordinator Jason Garza said in a live Q&A, very frankly, that Respawn doesn’t “have anything in the works. There’s nothing”, when talking about Titanfall. Very straightforward, very clear. Here is the quote:
“I’ve said this before. It’s just… we don’t have anything in the works. There’s nothing. There’s nothing there. We’ve got too many other games in the works right now.”
As you would expect with such a statement, it got picked up by the press. And why not? Respawn stating they have nothing in the works for Titanfall is a news story people want to read about. On the 22, Respawn responded to the coverage on Twitter by lying. Well not lying. They responded to a statement that wasn’t made with a comment that doesn’t say anything.
Contrary to what some folks are reporting, Titanfall is the very core of our DNA.
Who knows what the future holds…
— Respawn (@Respawn) September 23, 2021
Read that over in your head upwards of ten times and you’ll quickly realize that the statement doesn’t say anything, nor does it contradict anything. It doesn’t deny that Respawn isn’t working on Titanfall at the moment, and it doesn’t deny that they have nothing planned. It’s a vague response to a vague theoretical with a vague hint toward a vague future. Who knows what the future holds? Respawn knows and their community coordinator literally told us at the present moment that future holds nothing.
Which isn’t to suggest that Respawn will never make another Titanfall. A comment like “Titanfall is the very core of our DNA” is a meaningless statement riddled with marketing drivel. Respawn can abandon the series and still claim its memory is the core of their DNA, it will still be their foundational game. It’s a denial without a denial and an attempt at reinvigorating faith while showing absolutely none on their part. They can’t even bring themselves to show the confidence of “yes there will definitely be another Titanfall.” Because they don’t know that.
Respawn Entertainment has no clue if they will ever make another Titanfall game, but they know for certain the probability of another game is not 0%. If Garza was wrong, they would have addressed it head on. But their unwillingness to do so points to him being on the money. Respawn has no plans for Titanfall at this moment. They don’t know when they will have plans. The honest approach would be to confirm that and you can throw in some PR speak about how you’re always conceptualizing where the future of the series leads.
This response doesn’t show confidence.