Although relatively new, the Titanfall series benefits from a deep backstory, lending the franchise an impressive sense of immersion. Before jumping into the campaign or multiplayer, take a moment to read up on the Titanfall universe to gain a better understanding of the Frontier and the conflict between the IMC and the Militia.
Many generations of humanity live in the deepest reaches of explored space. This vast region is known as the Frontier. It contains many well-known and inhabited solar systems, but many more worlds remain uncharted. Most people will never travel this far away from normal civilization—the Core Systems closer to Earth. But for pioneers, explorers, mercenaries, outlaws, and soldiers, the Frontier offers both adventure and opportunity.
Planetary systems in the Frontier are separated by distances that can normally be traversed within days to weeks, by ships capable of making a series of “jumps” through space. Each jump is separated by a recharging period during which only slow-speed travel is possible—with hopes for no harassment by the IMC or the many bandit groups in the Frontier.
Many systems within the Frontier were discovered and settled by the IMC and its various subsidiary branches. There were many conflicting economic, military, industrial, and political motivations behind the settlement programs.
One major influence on the Frontier was the IMC Servicemen’s Readjustment Act (aka the IMC’s so-called “G.I. Bill”). This was awarded to veterans of IMC-backed military campaigns in the Core Systems of human civilization. This gave veterans various benefits: loans to start businesses and farms on the Frontier, low-cost mortgages, and guaranteed property rights on Frontier worlds to start new lives. Therefore, many homesteaders arriving at the Frontier still have combat skills from their time in the service, and know how to handle firearms and Titans.
In the Frontier, most systems with a naturally occurring Earth-like planet have only one such planet. Mass and distance from the local star(s) are usually the critical factors. The rest of the planets within such a system are usually not suitable for immediate habitation. In some cases, a planet can be altered through 60-100 years of terraforming to give it the breathable atmosphere necessary for unassisted human survival.
The earliest colonized systems were selected for their suitability for human habitation, possessing at least one Earth-like world (not too hot, not too cold, and capable of sustaining human life). Some of the criteria were: a breathable or terraformable atmosphere, safe geological and cosmic conditions, and roughly 1 G of gravity. While habitable planets do exist throughout known space, the systems containing them are rarely clustered near each other. The Frontier is quite unusual in this regard, and how this came to be remains a mystery.
History of the Conflict
When the Frontier was first discovered, the IMC funded numerous expeditions to explore and colonize the new worlds. Over time, the novelty of these initial discoveries wore off. Without a steady stream of constant revelations, interest in Frontier exploration waned amongst the majority of humanity in the Core Systems, and IMC support for Frontier development went into decline.
Soon thereafter, a number of major conflicts in the Core Systems took priority over the IMC’s interests in the Frontier, and the IMC effectively abandoned all investment in its Frontier expeditions. For several generations, life on the Frontier continued with minimal connection to the IMC and the Core Systems.
When the IMC finally turned its attention back to its original colonies on the Frontier, their envoys had discovered that the descendants of the pioneering expeditions had flourished, independent of support from the IMC. Many worlds on the Frontier had been colonized, and access to plentiful resources was commonplace.
Struggling to meet consumer demands in the Core Systems, and seeing a wealth of new resources on the Frontier, the IMC declared eminent domain, citing their investments dating back to the original expeditions. They sent large fleets to establish control of the region, building new manufacturing and mining operations, often displacing established Frontier citizens in the process.
After years of failed diplomacy, the citizens of the Frontier had endured enough. They put aside their differences to fight the IMC, and formed the Militia. Today, the many branches and factions within the Militia continue the fight for independence from the IMC’s exploitation of the Frontier and its people. While the question of who is right and who is wrong in this conflict is arguably a matter of historical perspective, one thing is certain: this conflict will continue until either the Militia is wiped out or the IMC withdraws from the Frontier.
The Frontier Militia represents the military arm of the Frontier systems’ territorial defense pact. The Militia is a loosely governed mishmash of homesteaders, bandits, mercenaries, and pirates, all rising up as “citizen soldiers” when the need arises. Many homesteaders have taken on an “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” attitude regarding working alongside different criminal groups. Naturally the people in this melting pot don’t always see eye to eye on how to deal with the IMC’s exploitation of the Frontier, but they are unified in fighting against it.
The Militia is loosely divided into Brigades. Each Brigade is responsible for fighting in an assigned section of Frontier territory, which might span as far as several planetary systems. The Marauder Corps (M-COR) is a small part of a much larger Brigade tied to the Freeport System. Although some Brigades are little more than vast pirate organizations, the Militia has enough resources to be a real obstacle to the IMC’s ambitions on the Frontier.
The Militia often claims that direct action against the IMC is in the best interests of the homesteaders whom they allegedly represent, but not everyone on the Frontier sees it that way.
A highly decorated veteran of the Titan Wars, MacAllan served as the executive officer of the IMS Odyssey, under the command of Vice Admiral Marcus Graves. The Odyssey’s mission was part of a peacekeeping operation on the Frontier for the IMC. Official IMC reports indicate that MacAllan led a mutiny aboard the Odyssey, citing numerous grievances with the IMC’s treatment of Frontier citizens. However, these reports have not been proven in the absence of the ship’s flight data recorder, which was lost when MacAllan and his people escaped with the Odyssey and disappeared into an uncharted sector of the Frontier.
In a fitting yet tragic conclusion, Graves and MacAllan faced off in the Battle of Demeter—this time with MacAllan fighting for the Militia while Graves commanded IMC forces from orbit. During the epic battle over Demter’s refueling station, MacAllan was killed after locking himself in the main reactor in an attempt to overload it. The resulting explosion destroyed the planet of Demeter. But MacAllan’s mission succeeded, denying the IMC a vital refueling station and paving the way for Militia expansion in the Frontier. In the months following the battle, the Militia recognized MacAllan’s ultimate sacrifice by naming a ship after him.
“They’ll call us terrorists or worse, but we can’t win playing by their rules.” — James MacAllan
The Interstellar Manufacturing Corporation, or IMC, started out small, in natural resource extraction industries, under the name Hammond Engineering. Fifteen years later, demand for Titan manufacturing materials, combined with Hammond’s market-cornering planetary survey technology and map database rights, contributed to explosive growth for the company. Over the course of a century, a series of acquisitions, mergers, and rebrandings led to the transformation of Hammond Engineering into the sprawling commercial empire that is the IMC.
Despite their reputation for exploitative behavior on the Frontier, IMC receives little criticism from their shareholders and customers living in the Core Systems. The material conveniences and widely used products provided by the IMC generate considerable “consumer inertia,” to the corporation’s benefit.
With the Frontier’s valuable shipping lanes and vast planetary resources ripe for exploitation, the IMC is dedicated to maximizing profits and shareholder wealth, using the legal application of force, when necessary.
Spyglass and the Remnant Fleet
Spyglass is a physical manifestation of the IMC’s vast computational network identity, handling logistics, navigation, deployment, and communications between all IMC forces on the Frontier. Initially responsible for briefing IMC Pilots before missions, Spyglass’ role expanded during a series of battles with the Militia, eventually taking control of the IMC fleet.
Recognizing the IMC’s imminent defeat at Demeter, Spyglass withdrew the IMC fleet, disobeying Vice Admiral Graves’ direct orders and leaving all IMC units on Demeter stranded. When the main reactor exploded, all IMC troops on the planet’s surface were killed. Now known as the Remnant Fleet, Spyglass leads this splinter IMC faction, inexplicably attacking settlements in the Frontier, regardless of affiliation. Spyglass’ mysterious actions have made the Remnant Fleet an enemy of both the Militia and mainstream IMC forces.
“A Pilot survived the aftermath? Find out how and bring him and his Titan to me.” — Spyglass
Titan Pilots are rated by “certifications,” most of which apply to civilian applications such as construction, shipping, and heavy salvage industries. The most prestigious of these is the Full Combat Certification—a widely published series of tests that grade a Titan Pilot’s abilities. Because of the extreme physical and mental challenges of mastering both Titan combat and dismounted parkour movement, a fully combat-certified Titan Pilot is a rare find, and the combat skills of active Pilots in the field vary widely throughout the Frontier.
Some are formally trained by the IMC or Militia’s dedicated programs, while the vast majority are trained by independent mercenary or pirate groups. A large black market surrounding the technology used by Pilots is rumored to have developed across the Frontier, covering areas such as weapons modifications, physical alterations and strengthening, stolen training simulation pods, and Titan-Pilot combat interface abilities.
Titans are descendants of today’s fledgling military exoskeletons. In addition to the obvious combat applications, unarmed forms of Titans are used in heavy industries like cargo transport and salvage. They are also used in special applications such as deep space search and rescue, and are very effective in inhospitable environments. The use of Titans is widespread throughout the Frontier in both combat and in civilian life.
Facing a series of setbacks in the Frontier, the IMC developed the Reaper, a fully automated weapon system designed with one specific goal: hunting enemy Pilots. On the surface, a Reaper resembles a scaled-down Titan. But Reapers are far more agile and mobile, capable of leaping great distances, all in an effort to keep up with their fast-moving prey. In addition to the plasma-based cannons attached to their arms, Reapers are also capable of deploying Ticks. These spider-like robots are packed with high explosives and designed to follow Pilots, detonating when they’re within close proximity. While Reapers have yet to see widespread deployment, they have already become one of the most feared units on the battlefield. Heavy weapons are highly recommended when encountering these units.
This is a special knife designed to infiltrate and reprogram enemy computer systems by plugging into a data port. A circular, backlit screen in the handle indicates progress. The “business end” of the device is a plug that works with many different types of hardware ports, like a skeleton key. When used against Marvins and Spectres, the Data Knife will reprogram the robot to fight on the attacker’s side. It also works as a knife.
Standard infantry deployed by both the IMC and Militia are most commonly referred to as “grunts.” When participating in battles dominated by Pilots and Titans, grunts often serve in a supporting role, securing and defending objectives. Grunts are equipped with a variety of ballistic-based weapons, ranging from carbines to shotguns. But some Grunts also carry shoulder-fired, anti-armor weapons designed to damage Titans.
IMC grunts often deploy alongside a commanding officer, known unofficially as a shield captain. In addition to preserving a command hierarchy on wwthe battlefield, shield captains provide extra firepower and tactical sustainability for IMC squads; they’re often deployed in defensive positions. Protected by thick, ballistic armor and a blue energy shield (similar to Particle Walls deployed by Tone Titans) shield captains can absorb a tremendous amount of damage. However, shield captains are often slow to react to the quick, unpredictable movements of Pilots, making them vulnerable to flanking attacks.
Utilized primarily as reconnaissance units, Specialists are often deployed alongside infantry squads but can also operate independently. Unlike grunts, Specialists aren’t frontline combat units. Instead, they often stay to the rear where they can safely deploy drones. Drones give Specialists a better view of the battlefield, allowing them to provide real-time intel to command. Each drone is equipped with a plasma- or laser-based weapon system, ideal for engaging enemy Pilots and infantry. Once enemies have been detected, specialists can also deploy Ticks.
Drones are only found in the campaign; listen for the humming sound to detect their presence. These automated aerial vehicles are rather fragile and will explode after sustaining light damage. But don’t let drones hover overhead for too long. Drones equipped with lasers are particularly lethal and must be dealt with swiftly.
Subsidiaries of the IMC developed the MRVN (Mobile Robotic Versatile eNtity), commonly referred to as the Marvin. A Marvin is an anthropomorphic helper robot used in industrial and civilian applications. They are not designed for combat, and they have a relatively primitive locomotion system compared to their Spectre counterparts. Marvins are used throughout the Core Systems and the Frontier, performing sanitation, construction, maintenance, and hazardous environment duties in both industrial and civilian markets.
Defense contractor subsidiaries of the IMC developed the Spectre: a robotic anthropomorphic combat system derived from the MRVN project. The Spectre is officially classified in IMC manifests as a form of automated infantry. Their main use is urban pacification and occupation. Due to the corporate and military politics that plagued their development, Spectres inherited a data port vulnerability from their Marvin predecessors. When a Pilot reprograms a Spectre, the Spectre immediately begins to seek out and engage friendly combatants, both human and artificial, with extreme prejudice.
Drop Pods are used to deploy automated and human infantry to the ground from orbit with high precision. Drop Pods can be pressurized for the deployment of human occupants. The pods may also be internally reconfigured in many ways to deliver a wide variety of payloads. Distortion Braking Technology allows Drop Pods to streak in, but decelerate to a survivable speed prior to hitting the ground. The braking results in a visible donut-like distortion effect in the sky, and a bowel-shaking, low-frequency sound that is hard to miss.
Following the Battle of Demeter, the IMC developed a new robotic combat system designed to supplement infantry during offensive and defensive operations. The end result was the Stalker, a unit designed to overwhelm enemy positions en masse. Unlike Spectres, Stalkers have no sense of self-preservation—they don’t retreat or seek cover. Instead, they simply march toward their target and attack, ignoring all threats and sustained damage. Even if a Stalker’s legs are blown off, they’ll use their arms to crawl forward, relentlessly pursuing their target. The data port vulnerability found in Spectres was addressed by IMC engineers during production, preventing Militia Pilots from hacking Stalkers. However, Militia forces have discovered a weakness in the power supply on the Stalker’s back. Targeting this red “backpack” results in incapacitation, followed by a delayed detonation.
The Goblin dropship is the current generation of IMC troop and light cargo transport. It is manufactured in a variety of formats, each with different drive, shielding, and weapons systems. The Crow is an older generation of dropship based on the battle-forged and proven designs from the Titan Wars. Although it was superseded by the IMC’s Goblin design several years ago, it is still seen everywhere throughout the Frontier. Many Crow-class dropships still remain in service with the Militia, either salvaged from the battlefield or stolen outright from the IMC.
The Dropship Combat Search and Rescue (D-CSAR) System is a collection of modifications that allows small dropships, such as the Crow and Goblin, to carry several Titan-grade shield generators onboard. Dropships carrying the D-CSAR System are so heavily shielded that they are almost invulnerable to enemy fire, making them ideal for medical evacuation, even when under heavy fire from enemy Titans. However, the amount of power required to operate the system limits how often the ship can operate its Jump Drive (usually one jump for arrival and one jump for departure before requiring refueling) and disables all of the dropship’s built-in weapons.