Last week Respawn Entertainment confirmed that the upcoming FPS for PC, Xbox One and 360 Titanfall would only allow a maximum of 12 players at a time.
This news sent the internet into a frenzy with many people spouting that they couldn’t believe the game only supported 6v6 and how this wasn’t next gen; directly linking the number of players to the amount of fun the game will be. Sometimes having an army of players fighting against each other at once is great, look no further than Battlefield; 64 players of mayhem. But that does not necessarily mean that it would work for Titanfall; they are two very different games. Firstly, Titanfall is classically based around team deathmatch, whereas in Battefield’s popular 64 player game mode ‘Conquest’, all players work towards capturing positions and fighting enemy squads (which happen to be capped at 4 players (5 in Battlefield 4)). Secondly, Battlefield includes the use of vehicles; although being able to call down a Titan is a type of vehicle I suppose, but it isn’t the same as being able to jump in a tank, helicopter or plane at any point in the game and fly around the map.
An example of big not always being better was MAG for the PlayStation 3. MAG supported 256 players at a time; which using the aforementioned logic should mean that this game was the best FPS that has ever been made… Unfortunately it was not. There are a lot of different elements that must be taken into account when creating a multiplayer game; one of which is balancing. I am sure that Respawn most probably tried Titanfall with 32 players a team just to see how it played, but ultimately came to the conclusion that having this many players alongside bots was just not fun. And if we are going to trust anyone on how to make a fun first person shooter, it probably should be the guys who practically invented the model that we now have seen implemented dozens of times.
The inclusion of bots in the game has caused some to speculate that the reason the game is only 6v6 is because of technical limitations. I find this idea laughable, if it was a matter of them needing to code more players in the game they would be able to do it. They wouldn’t just compromise the quality of the game by settling at 12 players, if that wasn’t exactly what they wanted to do. The reason that bots exist in the game can solely be explained by the fact that bots don’t want or need to call down Titans. This way there won’t be an uncontrollable amount of Titans on the playing field at once, creating an unbalanced game. It has also been suggested that the bots will be used much like ‘creeps’ in MOBAs such as League of Legends. By farming the bots for experience, the player will be able to call down his or her Titan quicker and therefore have an advantage over the enemy team. This has not be confirmed by Respawn but was suggested by DKo5, a confirmed employee speaking over on Neogaf.
He spoke about the AI saying:
“…That said, they do provide more than just “cannon fodder”. That’s 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…”
It looks like it is safe to assume that there is much more to be announced by Respawn prior to launch.
All in all what I’m trying to say is that you shouldn’t assume that the game is not going to be as fun now because it has less players than you thought it was going to have. It is worth remembering that many of the most popular multiplayer shooters have had a lower player count. Halo with popular modes like Slayer being 4v4. Classic Counter Strike, seen by many as the greatest FPS of all time, was competitively 5v5 and the original Gears of War was only 4v4, just to name a few.
The preview feedback from outlets across the industry has been more than positive and although you should challenge the thoughts of other journalists, developers and producers; until you get your hands on the game, it is hard to say for certain that having fewer players is in turn going to make the game less enjoyable. Titanfall looks like it could be one of the first games of this new generation to make its mark. I for one will be picking up my own personal Xbox One system in time for its launch on the 11th March in North America and the 13th here in Europe.
What are your thoughts on this decision? Do you agree or disagree? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below. Or tweet me @hsinskip.