Titanfall’s 6v6 multiplayer is by design
Titanfall’s confirmed 12 player, 6-v-6 player has caused a bit of controversy. Some are disappointed, believing that a “next generation” game shouldn’t have such a low player count. Others believe it’s being held back by consoles, which is why it’s only a 12 player game. Respawn says this is nonsense, and that it was a design decision for maximum funsies.
Its mostly the consistency of firefights. Lower player counts and there starts to be too many lulls in the action, too many “Hrmm… where to go now…” thoughts going through your head. Higher than it and there’s just too much. You lose the ability to “keep it all from spilling over”, so to speak, in your brain. 6v6 hit upon the sweet spot of being able to keep track of everything you’re seeing, all the information coming in from your POV, the mini map, the obituary scroll, your teammates chatter, etc. Most players are usually still feeling quite in control of what they’re doing, where they’re going, and what they want to accomplish. Beyond 6v6 and it quickly turned into much more of a random mosh pit of “How did I die?” and feeling like there was nothing that could have been done to NOT die. Thats an important distinction to make.
A driving mantra for this game, as cheesy as it sounds, is what we dubbed MLLM. Minute to Learn, Lifetime to Master. Like Chess, or Go. Players quickly feel like they can get in and have fun. Thats not the “hard” part to accomplish with this. The hard part is, after 5, 10, 20, 100 hours – what is the player learning? Are they feeling like they have the ability to increase their skill at the game, or have they hit a ceiling? Are their wins and losses based on something they have control over, or is it purely luck/chance? Higher than 6v6 was really fast ruining this goal.
I’ll happily believe that. I really don’t think there are technological limits in place here. In fact, the player count became quite a debated topic internally at Respawn..
There has been a TON of debate back and forth in the studio over the years about “ideal” player counts. Can I ask you something? What is it about larger player counts that you like vs smaller? Is it the feeling of a large war? Is it something like interactions per minute? Is it high target count? Is it a general “intensity level”? Potentially higher opportunity for random occurrences of crazy stuff happening?
There was some internal push back when we started honing in on non “large” playercounts (for a while we were only playing 2v2 and 3v3!) because of the perception of “less fun”, or the lack of things like I listed above, in smaller player counts.
On top of that, the AI that is in the game isn’t your standard bot, in place of what could be a human player; it all works differently.
And not once have we said AI is there to mimic playing against another player. They have a role in the game, and it isn’t buffing player counts.
Clarifying on the AI a bit later, he said:
Having not played the game, I assume? You probably shouldn’t yet say they don’t add to your experience. You very well might not like them in the game, but again – save judgements until playtime! That said, they do provide more than just “cannon fodder”. Thats one thing they do provide for newer players, but they are a source of earning XP, earning your Titan faster, and other things that we haven’t yet talked about. They aren’t some huge “OMG GUYS WE FOUND THE ANSWER”, but they do add flavor and a unique angle to the game that aren’t currently available in other games; at least none that I’ve been playing.
As Gavin’s already said, when we played Titanfall, it was a set of 5v5, and it was immeasurably fun. I have no doubt the final game will be too. Titanfall is coming to Microsoft platforms in March this year; Windows PC, Xbox One and Xbox 360.