Titanfall: freedom of movement makes higher player counts “uncomfortable”

Thursday, 9th January 2014 22:49 GMT By Brenna Hillier

Titanfall’s comparatively low maximum player count came about as a direct result of the freedom of movement it re-introduces to the shooter genre.

Speaking with Polygon, lead designer Justin Hendry said that the fact that players can move in all directions across open maps means anything higher than 12 players is too chaotic.

“The higher the player count, the more uncomfortable the game gets,” he said.

“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.”

Elsewhere in the interview, Hendry confirmed that along with AI and Titan mechs maps can play host to around 50 combatants. He stressed that Titanfall doesn’t play like other shooters, and shouldn’t be judged by those standards; if you go in looking to play a Call of Duty clone, you might not enjoy yourself.

Titanfall seems to be stepping away from the formulaic approach dogging multiplayer shooters of the past decade, a move which has met with surprising resistance from the community.

Respawn’s debut effort hits PC, Xbox 360 and Xbox One in March.



  1. monkeygourmet

    They are really having to justify this player count, aren’t they?

    As long as the game is fun and plays well, I’m not fussed about player count. It’s not like I’ll be doing that well playing on PC with 360 pad anyway! :)

    What is strange is the play throughs that journo’s had on the PC version… I don’t recall anyone mentioning player count before or the fact they were shooting AI soldiers?

    Was the player count higher in the demos? Was AI included? Is this player count choice a new thing?

    #1 12 months ago
  2. POOhead

    lol implying gamers no best, probs the reason why we have had sucky games since kids could use the internet, bioware is proof of this

    #2 12 months ago
  3. zme-ul

    Hendry confirmed that along with AI and Titan mechs maps can play host to around 50 combatants

    so .. wait! shooting at ~50 AIs is not uncomfortable, but shooting at more than 6 enemy players is ?!?!?!

    #3 12 months ago
  4. sh4dow

    Reminds me of Doom 2 LAN sessions back in the day. We purposely played only the first level on nightmare with four players because you could barely run for more than five seconds without coming across somebody.
    Ah it was fun trying to get to the shotgun… and finding that it isn’t there any more… and getting killed half a second after realizing that.
    Or two people running to grab it at the same time, only to be kiled by a third one behind them who got the rocket launcher… Haha.

    Suffice it to say I think chaos can be incredible fun. And decent balancing (as it was the case in what I just described), you can make sure that skill matters a lot and not just luck or having the best weapons and then killing everyone immediately after respawning.

    #4 12 months ago
  5. POOhead

    @3 do you even know the difference between players and ai?

    #5 12 months ago
  6. Legendaryboss

    Cloud powered AI = Easy. Players = Varies. Yes it can be uncomfortable if players are skilled enough however for AI thats a completely different story.

    #6 12 months ago
  7. zme-ul

    @5 I’m gonna’ answer your question with another question, since yours is dumb
    have you ever played Quake III Arena or unreal Tournament with bots (AI)?

    #7 12 months ago
  8. POOhead

    lol obviously the ai was shit back then, its 2014 not 1994

    #8 12 months ago
  9. Arcnail

    @1 I think a lot on the net, as usual, are crying their eyes out before having played the game.. thus a bit more talk from the company about it.

    I’ll, oh I don’t know, reserve judgement until I play the game before I say one thing or the other about it.

    #9 12 months ago
  10. mal617

    Day one buy. Too much crying going on

    #10 12 months ago
  11. Harrow

    @1 your going to play the PC version with a pad :/

    #11 12 months ago
  12. Ireland Michael

    ““Unlike in most games where you can sit there and guard the two ways in.”

    Very few shooters are designed that badly. Don’t justify your own bad design by dissing other games, especially when the ones you made are some of the worst.

    #12 12 months ago
  13. The_Red

    I have a problem with this. There are already more than 12 other AI players in the world which make things crowded, complicated AND “uncomfortable”.

    So this isn’t about this. It is simply about their game not being able to have more than 12 plus bots plus AI due to technical limitations (Cloud POWAH!).

    #13 12 months ago
  14. NocturnalB

    So it was a decision made based off of level design. I think a lot of people myself included just assumed ya know. “Titan”fall, giant mechs, everyone just thought a massive battlefield full of robots would be awesome, which it does, but with the levels designed how they are, I understand now.

    The maps are too open to be very strategic. 32v32 would be just true chaos, but not in a good way, basically just 64 people at a general flashpoint beating their heads against the wall, people would be dying at a ludicrously fast rate, no one would feel like a real winner, and the people that play for strategy just simply wouldn’t.

    I still plan on trying it out. If I want BTB I’ll just find my fix elsewhere.

    #14 12 months ago
  15. Hcw87

    So you’ve played it? You do know the game is a mix of campaign and multiplayer elements tied into one, right? The AI are spread across the map guarding objectives, and you have to kill them to capture the objectives. You won’t have a situation where 5 AI are rushing you for example. The players/mechs will be your largest (maybe only) threat.

    Also, there are no technical limitations as they’ve stated it’s for gameplay purposes, which is completely fair. The days of getting shot in the back constantly is hopefully over when this game comes out.

    So again, play the game before rushing to conclusions, and the age-old ”Cloud POWAH” is way overused allready. Doesn’t make you look very intelligent.

    #15 12 months ago
  16. Llewelyn_MT

    So, Titanfall reintroduces to the genre the freedom of movement totally forgot since, like, 2012 PlanetSide 2 and Tribes Ascend. Luckily, those games didn’t age that much, so people may still be able to find their complete lack of shame in player count engaging.

    It’s curious you can only get shot from one of the five directions in Titanfall. This can only mean you cannot shoot up or down.

    On the other hand, if it’s not confusing to have AI characters instead of players, this can only mean the computer controlled opponents don’t shoot the players. Otherwise it would be just as confusing.

    #16 12 months ago
  17. gomersoul

    So do bots not count as additional players now? Too chaotic? Bollocks

    #17 12 months ago
  18. Harrow

    It’s a shame tribes (ascend) didn’t take off again it was fun as fook.

    #18 12 months ago
  19. Fin


    No they fucking don’t, why is it so hard for people to understand.

    #19 12 months ago
  20. rasmithuk

    Here’s a few reasons why the ‘technical limitation’ claims being made don’t make any sense. Everything here assumes a doubling of the player count and the removal of the bots to keep the bandwidth requirements around the 48 entity limit (which is probably the closest to a technical limitation you’ll find).

    Client GPU: Not much difference here. Assuming you’ve got half-decent culling code in the engine, doubling the number of players wouldn’t increase the draw rate much, unless you’ve got a completely open map with no obstructions at all (something we haven’t see so far in any of the maps). Even then the performance limiting part of most engines is shader throughput, which is limited by average complexity and the number of pixels to process, not the number of vertices, so increasing the number of pilots/titans on screen isn’t going to hurt much. Also since there’s a limited number of titans available there wouldn’t be an increase in the memory requirements, unlike racing games where every player could be using a different car (usually the reason there’s a player limit on these games).

    Client CPU: The effects from doubling player count here would be minimal. Hit detection would discard most other players early on, leading to a minimal increase in the time taken. The engine’s occlusion code would remove most of the other players so there wouldn’t be a doubling in the number of primitives to be drawn. In short, it wouldn’t make much difference.

    Server CPU: Even if all the player hit detection is done on the server it’s not going to add much, due to early removal. Running the bot AI on the server is going to use a lot more processing time than the players that would replace it. In other words, removing the bots and adding 12 additional players would probably decrease the CPU load on the server.

    Bandwidth: Since the bot positions have to be sent to every player and we’re assuming they’ll be removed to add real players there wouldn’t be much increase here since it’s still 48 entities per update. Also since they’re using dedicated servers they don’t have to worry about ensuring that the majority of clients have enough upstream bandwidth to be hosts, making the task even easier.

    In short, if Respawn removed the bots there’s no obvious technical reason they couldn’t double the player count. In theory they could leave the bots in, assuming they don’t add too much load to the server, and up the player count to 9v9.
    Even if they did decide that everything the believe about the game is wrong, and that people that have never played it are a better judge of what’s fun then they are, changing it now would require re-balancing the game and making changes to every level they’ve built.

    #20 12 months ago
  21. bradk825

    I really don’t get all the fuss. 6v6 works great in other games. I wasn’t expecting a huge player count from Titanfall and depending on the map size it wouldn’t likely even make sense.

    #21 12 months ago

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