Hopes are high for Titanfall, even with some players expressing concern over its relatively low player counts compared to Battlefield and its ilk.
But outside of a few trade shows, relatively few people have had the chance to play it and get a feel for what it's really like. Has Respawn really designed it to be the optimum experience for 12 players, or was that just marketing speak? Are the numerous NPCs running around the map really playing their own role in each match, distinct from the players, or is that just a load of guff? And how awesome is it to stomp around in a hulking great Titan anyway?
Well, if you've got an Xbox One and an Origin account that's linked to your Xbox Gamertag, you might be playing the new game sooner than you think. Early this morning, NeoGAF users reported receiving invite emails from EA saying they had "been selected to take part in an exclusive trial for an upcoming EA title on Microsoft's Xbox One." A link in the email led to this site, which prompted its readers to sign in with their Origin account in order to sign up for alpha access to Titanfall. Not everyone who signs up appears to qualify, however; it seems that in order to be in with the best chance, you need a US Origin account -- sorry, Europeans -- and, moreover, you need to have played Battlefield 4.
With any unsolicited email such as this from a large company, there is, of course, concern that it is a scam or phishing attempt, but thorough investigation by those who received the email -- including contacting EA directly -- appears to indicate that it is, in fact, legitimate, and MoreConsole.net reports that EA representatives say the trial will begin as soon as tomorrow -- January 17. The official Titanfall Twitter account, meanwhile, is still denying everything -- though at the time of writing, its last tweet was nine hours ago, so now the word's very much out there may well be some sort of official announcement later today.
It's perhaps a little concerning that the current version is being labelled an "alpha" when the official release of the game is not far off, but on the other hand it's a good sign that EA and Respawn are planning on testing the game with a controlled group of players well before launch. It's possible that this closed test will be supplemented with a more open beta nearer to release, and with any luck some extensive testing will help prevent another Battlefield 4 situation, where bugs and problems persist well after launch.
There's no news on test versions for the PC or Xbox 360 versions of Titanfall as yet; this is an Xbox One-only deal for now.