Fans of first-person shooters were hoping for game-changing things from Respawn Entertainment, led by the minds behind Modern Warfare. When Titanfall was revealed to be bringing massive mechs, jetpacks and wall-running to the standard online multiplayer experience, the wait seemed like it would be more than worth it.
Since then though, the developers at Respawn have shown that they’re just as interested in defying expectations as living up to them. Now they’re urging their fans to be patient before passing judgement on Titanfall – even if they have concerns over the game’s restrictions.
Whether it’s the differences between Titanfall and the Call of Duty series, the new breed of sniping that the team is fine-tuning, or the decision to lock certain game types to specific maps, the designers have seemed committed to doing what they feel is best, even if it means sacrificing player choice or customization.
But the most recent topic of discussion stemmed from a comment made by Respawn boss Vince Zampella regarding match sizes:
Naturally, the relatively small size of a 6 vs. 6 player match raised some eyebrows, and the apparent reference to AI bots was a similar source of speculation. And those who felt bigger populations were a must made their concerns known online.
One member of the Respawn development team clearly saw the criticism coming from commenters – blasting the limitations, or drawing their own conclusions on the game as a whole based on this one fact – and decided to offer a bit more clarification, via NeoGAF:
“Lots of armchair game designing going on in here. I’d suggest playing before judging a something as insignificant as a number in a vacuum.
“Vince is right – we tried a huge amount of playercounts (all the way down to 1v1 and up quite high) and designed the maps, gameplay mechanics, and entire experience around which played best. If anyone wants to chase the numbers game, perhaps we’re not the experience they’re after? I dunno.
“And FYI, for amount of stuff happening at once in a map you’ll be hard pressed to find a game that keeps the action higher. I literally have to stop playing every few rounds because my heart just can’t take it some times. Remember, you can get out of your Titan and let it roam on AI mode – meaning there can be 12 Pilots wallrunning around, 12 Titans stomping below, and dozens of AI doing their thing.”
For those who took Zampella’s references to ‘AI’ as a confirmation that bots would be used in matches, the same developer claims that too was not quite understood by most of the online community:
“Oh, and I keep seeing people thinking we’ve got “bots” when we talk about AI. Thats not how they are. The AI in Titanfall are not replacements for human players. Our playercount is not 6v6 because of AI – AI play their own role in the game and are a different class of character in the game.
“Can’t wait! Only a couple months until speculative threads like this are gone and people are actually talking about their experiences with the game. Its truly fun stuff, and I hope everyone at least gives it a try.”
There’s a good chance that many potential players overlooked the fact that with 6 pilots and 6 hulking Titans to each side, even a sizable battlefield can become crowded fast. And as the developers have explained in the past, the freedom to either run on foot or pilot a Titan means that several different strategies and gunfights can erupt in a single match. And it’s still not quite clear what role the AI will play in the fight, but for now, it seems more likely that Zampella was referring to the systems piloting the Titans than imitations of players.
What do you make of the restrictions, and Respawn’s response? Are you still concerned over the size of online matches, or do you trust that the team knows what they’re doing? Sound off in the comments.
Titanfall launches in spring 2014 on the Xbox One, Xbox 360, and PC.
Follow Andrew on Twitter @andrew_dyce.