Titanfall’s 6v6 player cap is nothing to worry about – opinion

Thursday, 9 January 2014 13:38 GMT By Dave Cook

Titanfall matches will be capped at 6v6, and it’s got many gamers cancelling pre-orders and spitting internet acid all over Respawn’s shooter. VG247’s Dave Cook explains why you really shouldn’t be worried.

”Is 64-player online somehow the new, mandatory standard thanks to Battlefield 4? Does a lower player-cap constitute a dip in quality? I’m not sure who made these rules up, but I’m pretty certain they don’t mean anything.”

Titanfall matches will be capped at 12 players. Respawn Entertainment’s rationale was that the figure simply “felt right,” when it was designing the shooter’s maps and match types.

The internet quickly sunk talons into the news and began tearing it apart with its beak, ripping the studio to shreds in the process. Others stuck by Respawn’s decision and figured that if the team says 6v6 feels fine, then they probably know best. Then there’s the view that with all of the Xbox One’s cloud processing and clout, Titanfall should be offering 32-64 players instead. As we should all know by now, more doesn’t necessarily mean ‘better.’

I feel the key issue here is that too many gamers are slamming Respawn without actually having played Titanfall. It’s a common problem that we see everyday, but what’s interesting is just how readily the public was to sing the shooter’s praises after it was revealed, and how now, many of those same fans have quickly turned their back on the project because of this news.

Opinions are to be respected of course, and I’d never call someone’s view wrong unless it involved something horribly controversial, but I’d also warn the Titanfall decriers against being too critical for fear of them missing out on a genuinely fun experience. This isn’t to say you’re wrong for being cautious, but to perhaps advise shooter fans to keep an open mind for the time being.

I played Titanfall last year on PC and I was blown away by it. You can find my hands-on impressions and interview with Respawn here. Put it this way: I’m a long-standing Call of Duty fan, but even I’m starting to grow tired of the series. What I felt when I stepped into that first multiplayer battle was that – at base level – Titanfall is a similar twitch shooter experience to Call of Duty. ‘So far, so familiar,’ I thought. But then I started double-jumping and doing the contextual free-running manoeuvres and that’s when it all started to make sense.

That verticality makes a huge difference to how you need to approach the twitch format. I put it up there with Quake 3: Arena’s jump pads in terms of trick-shotting and flexibility. If you had 64 players in a match you’d be gunned down every time you exposed yourself while running along walls or ejecting from your crippled Titan. It just wouldn’t be as much fun. There’s real scope here to make Titanfall an experience that rewards mastery of stunts and skill-shots. I just can’t see people being given enough room to make that happen with 32 enemies breathing down your neck.

Worried that the maps will feel under-populated? Don’t be. That’s what the cloud-AI troops are there for. I’ve seen people complain that they don’t want to fight against bots but purely human opponents, but if anything they keep the map feeling full and well, more like an actual warzone. I’ll concede that the AI enemies are easier to kill than the human pilots – offering less XP rewards per kill as a result – although I honestly didn’t notice while playing. The map felt busy and chaotic for the entire match.

The action is so mad and explosive that you won’t have time to complain anyway, what with warring dropships filling the skies over Angel City and you know, 30-foot mechs stomping about the place. Titanfall is neither boring nor quiet and the spawns are clever in that they move around with action hotspots so that you’re never too far from the apex of the fight. When skirmishes break out they erupt in a bevy of gunfire, flames and robotic sparks spewing across the environment, to the point that you probably won’t even care about lobby size.

What we need to remember here is that if Respawn – the developer actually making the game – feels that 6v6 fits its game, then who are we to argue without having played it first? Gamers don’t always know best. Is 64-player online somehow the new, mandatory standard thanks to Battlefield 4? Does a lower player-cap constitute a dip in quality? I’m not sure who made these rules up, but I’m pretty certain they don’t mean anything.

All I’m saying is; most of you seemed very excited about Titanfall before yesterday’s news, yet it seems to have spoiled the title for a lot of people without first giving the game a fair trial. I’ve talked about optimism on this site many times before, and how we shouldn’t be negative just for the sake of it, but this is one instance where I feel the critical gamers have missed a step. At least wait until the next round of hands-on previews before writing Titanfall off completely.