While the reigning king of online multiplayer is calling on some Hollywood talent to retain their supremacy, rival upstart Titanfall is instead choosing to highlight level design to keep the dollars rolling in. The first expansive piece of post-launch DLC comes in the form of ‘Expedition,’ bringing three brand new maps to the existing rotation. The latest map to be detailed by Respawn – dubbed ‘Runoff’ – was hoped to ship with the main game, but due to its… experimental nature, needed some extra time before reaching its current state.
As the previous details concerning the ‘War Games’ map showed, the developers aren’t limiting themselves in terms of creativity or consistency. Yet even War Games, with its narrow corridors and larger Tron-scapes for Titan combat begged the question: can you really have a small map (as shooter fans know them, at least) when hulking mechs are involved? That’s a challenge Runoff is looking to tackle.
With the first official screenshots from Respawn comes some insight into Runoff’s structure, courtesy of the man behind it, designer Geoff Smith. According to Smith, the map began its life in the form of paper and pen over a year ago as an attempt to bring something different to Titanfall‘s mix of large-scale Pilot/Titan combat:
“I had originally sketched out Runoff about a year ago but due to time constraints we had to cut it from the main game. So, after we had finished the main game and started talking about DLC I opened up Runoff to see if it would play well. A lot of changes had gone into the main game in a year and I was wondering if Runoff would hold up.
“Runoff was an experiment to try and make a small map but still allow Titans enough pathing options so that they don’t feel constrained or limited. The core concept of the level is multiple layers of paths: concrete canals filled with water and trash below, and upper levels that are cleaner and more industrial.”
Apparently, the map turned out to hold up – and then some. Constructed around three central buildings, Pilots will find a wealth of billbaords and walls with which to congregate in the center, beneath which lies a trash and water-filled concrete channel. Those operating Titans won’t necessarily be kept out of the fun, capable of working their way up ramps at either end of the map and funneling towards the center.
If the action gets too hot (or a Titan makes a poor step) then it is possible to drop down into the previously mentioned channel, and make a break for cover. It’s difficult to tell how well the design team tackled the problem of offering a map size that could feel claustrophobic or frenzied for both Pilots and their Titans, but there are signs of some nuanced design. For instance: playing Hardpoint on Runoff means only one of the three capture points can be secured while inside a Titan, with others out of reach.
With War Games and Runoff now detailed, fans can let their imagination run wild on exactly what to expect from the third map, ‘Swampland.’ What do you Titanfall players hope to see: larger maps to give Titans the edge, or a smaller scale to increase the pace and tensions?
Titanfall is now available for the PC, Xbox 360, and Xbox One.
Follow Andrew on Twitter @andrew_dyce.