Over the last week there has been significant discussion surrounding Respawn Entertainment’s forthcoming multiplayer shooter Titanfall. And while the conversation up to that point had been positive, things have taken a considerable turn in the opposite direction.
Specifically, hopeful gamers have been disappointed by the news that Titanfall will only support 6v6 multiplayer matches. Respawn has gone on to explain their decision to cap the player limit at 6, but many have found even that explanation unsatisfactory.
And so, once again, Respawn is trying to give players a better idea as to how the Titanfall multiplayer experience will work. They want gamers to know that Titanfall is a unique beast, and that testing has shown 6 players is the game’s sweet spot.
“The game is essentially built to be six on six.”
In addition to the AI opponents, another reason for the low player count in Titanfall stems from the game’s level design. As one might expect, Titanfall packs a variety of map sizes, including two very large maps, each of which is designed with plenty of the requisite alleys, pinch points, and hideouts. However, unlike most multiplayer games, Titanfall‘s verticality provides even more chances of an enemy getting a drop on the player. In fact, even just one single room could offer several different points of entry.
As a result, Respawn discovered that the multiple points of entry combined with a higher player count resulted in an uncomfortable game. That isn’t to say Respawn didn’t try higher, or even lower, player counts, but they found that 6v6 was the right amount of chaos.
“The higher the player count, the more uncomfortable the game gets. Unlike in most games where you can sit there and guard the two ways in, in Titanfall the guy can come in through the window right behind you, he can come from the window to your left, he can come from straight ahead, he can come in from the stairway and he can come in from the doorway, or whatever. Essentially there are five directions you can get killed from and the higher that player count, the more likely you are to get killed from behind and the more difficult it is to kind of manage your surroundings.”
But, again, there won’t simply be 12 players running around the battlefield, there could conceivably be up to 50. As Respawn has previously explained, there are AI pilots on either team, perfect fodder for some easy leveling or simply to get one’s bearings. And then there are the various classes of Titan, which can be put into guard or follow mode and left to fight all on their own.
Obviously, the only true test of Titanfall‘s success will be actually getting out there and playing it, but seeing the game in action at E3 left us more than impressed. There was no concern over player counts, as the matches seemed plenty chaotic, but in a fun way.
As someone whose biggest complaint with Call of Duty: Ghosts, or any multiplayer experience for that matter, was the poor spawn logic and frequent shot-in-the-back deaths, I’m glad to see Respawn embrace a player count that works for Titanfall. There will undoubtedly be those frustrating moments, but if a 12-player limit keeps those to a minimum then that’s a fair trade-off in my opinion.
When it comes down to it, player counts might be a major selling point to some, but a fun multiplayer experience is more valuable than any bells and whistles. If Respawn can deliver that with 12 players then we’re more than willing to take the leap.
After Respawn’s numerous explanations, how do you feel about the lower player count? Has your opinion regarding the game changed at all?
Titanfall releases March 11, 2014 for the PC, Xbox 360, and Xbox One.