Respawn uses Microsoft's Azure cloud servers to make Titanfall smarter
Titanfall will utilise Microsoft's Azure cloud infrastructure in a more detailed way than any of the previous Xbox One launch titles.
When the Xbox One was first detailed and features were highlighted, one of the major ones cited by Microsoft was the ability for developers to use the company's servers to crunch massive amounts of data quickly, thereby releasing the next-generation console to concentrate on other aspects of gameplay and graphics.
Forza Motorsport 5 is hooked to the cloud servers for Drivatar information - the artificially intelligent opponents that are made from the in-game driving abilities of real-world players. However, at the time Turn 10's creative director Dan Greenawalt said that the use of the cloud was restricted due to the speed of users' broadband globally. Information could only be drip fed back and forth, therefore.
Titanfall developer Respawn Entertainment has found a way to combat that however and is using Microsoft's cloud to basically handle all processing duties on the AI in the new first-person shooter. From the artificial intelligence of the Titans to enemy and ally AI grunts, the cloud servers will crunch the data remotely. Local console resources can be used solely for the nuts and bolts of the game, to keep frame rates up, supply extra detail, etc.
It is a groundbreaking use of the cloud, Respawn engineer Jon Shiring told Engadget. One that other development houses and publishers are keen to follow suit.
"Back when we started talking to Microsoft about it, everyone thought it was kind of crazy and a lot of other publishers were terrified of even doing it," he said.
"I've heard that since our beta ended, they've been pounding down the doors at Microsoft because they're realising that it really is a real thing right now."
READ: Titanfall preview
Xbox Live's lead program manager, John Bruno believes that this could be an important factor in the next-gen console war.
"We knew in the early stages of developing Xbox One that we wanted to tap into the power of the cloud in a way that hadn't been done before," Bruno explained to Engadget.
"We were convinced that enabling dedicated servers using cloud computing presented a great opportunity to realise our vision for Xbox One."
Titanfall is released in the US tomorrow, 11 March, and the UK on Friday, 14 March. You'll be able to see how the in-game AI benefits from cloud server use yourself.