Today, Respawn announced/confirmed that Titanfall would only have 12 player multiplayer matches. For some, this is a big deal. For others, it doesn’t matter at all.
What is presented below is a discussion from the Talkingship Facebook page about this decision. The gang discuss the game and the merits of large and small teams, before delving into deeper discussion about fanboyism and entitlement. The discussion is here in its entirety (save for some mild editing for coherence), so take a gander at what the Talkingship staff and community think about Titanfall.
Mike: Next gen!
Muttonchop: 12 players… ITS THE WAY OF THE FUTUREFUTUREFUTURE
Muttonchop: It actually makes a little bit of sense. Could you imagine any more than 12 titans smashing around a map at any one time? It would be insanely difficult to organise any sort of team strategy.
Mike: There is going to be AI though. Bots!
Shaxster: Sorry, have you forgotten how good the original Modern Warfare‘s gameplay was? That was 6v6.
Mike: That was in, what, 2002? And it was 6v6 on console because they couldn’t handle more than that. It was bigger on PC and it was so much better…
Shaxster: Respawn have confirmed that Titanfall is 6v6 for design reasons, not technical reasons. Think: you’ve got a map full of 12 players, numerous titans and a bunch of AI. Any more players and it would be really hectic, or the map sizes would increase (which decreases the chaos that previews have said makes it fun). Having AI also means that everyone feels like they’re contributing: helps with the whole God Complex if players can get easy kills on AI.
Shaun: It’s ok to have multiplayer FPSs out there that don’t have massive teams. Sometimes a more focused multiplayer can be more enjoyable, make you pick your teammates a bit closer, and encourage players to specialize. I don’t think it’s because Respawn couldn’t figure out the tech to add more players. This seems like intentional design.
Jitterbug: My initial reaction to the news is disappointment, but I’ll reserve my opinion until I get my hands on the game. With bots in there, it sort of sounds to me like we might be talking about two large groups going against one another, but only 6 people on each team have the ability to drive the mechs. So who the heck would want to play a cannon fodder peon? If it’s 6v6 mechs, that’s still sort of awesome.
Mike: I’m sorry, but capping the players at 12 and having AI is 100% garbage. This was the one actual game that was making me want an Xbox One, but this would have made my decision if I hadn’t already made it. Ever play Battlefield 2142? 64 player multiplayer with mechs. It was fucking awesome. I’m sure the game will be fun, but that’s got to be such a disappointment. That’d be like Naughty Dog, two months before the release of Uncharted 4, saying “Oh, by the way, we’re going to be running this off of the Uncharted 1 engine…. for creative reasons.”
Jitterbug: I disagree, Mike. Again, I’m going to reserve judgment until I get to play it. Everyone that has played it has loved it, and it was 6v6 then. I wouldn’t want to play a racing game that had 64 cars on the track.
Shaxster: Ever played Battlefield 4? 64 player multiplayer and…it’s actually really slow paced. Respawn are creating a small, fairly intimate game with Titanfall. I think it will work well. At the very least, having more than 12 players would make the campaign/story stuff difficult to do.
Jitterbug: Don’t get me wrong though, I think the announcement of max 12 players is a strike against the game, especially for gamernight activity, but I’m certainly still looking forward to it.
Shaxster: I guess they’ve figured that gamernight things with more than 12 people are rare compared to the normal, casual-ish player. Again, they’re marketing this at your typical CoD player.
Mike: I’ve never liked playing with bots. I loved MAG and its massive battles. Actually working as a team to complete objectives. Pace has nothing to do with player cap. Battlefield is slower paced because the maps are huge. If this was a shooter that I was actually planning on getting, I’d be pissed.
Shaxster: Mike, it’d be a little unreasonable to get pissed because of this, mainly because they’ve only ever shown 6v6 or 7v7 gameplay. They never claimed to have more than that.
Mike: I really don’t care either way, as this isn’t coming out for PS4. But when I saw the trailers, I instantly thought of Battlefield 2142 and how fun, yet flawed it was. This looked to be the next step for a game like that, but it looks now like it’s a step backwards….. from 2005.
Mike: This would have been a potential deal-breaker for me. I’d probably try it at someone else’s house, but this would have removed it from my “must buy” list.
Sean: I can’t wait until this becomes “Titanfall 2 only supports 8v8 (and is also on the PS4)??? Didn’t you learn your lesson LAST TIME Respawn??? Deal Breaker” — Mike
Jitterbug: Are you saying that once this goes multi-platform, that we’re all going to hate it? Because I think almost every single person commenting here has a PS4. And most of us have a PS4 instead of a X1. Are we still Xbots even though we chose the PS4 over the X1? Oooof, it’s hard to shed that Xbot label.
Shaxster: Yeah, I was laughing at all the people calling me an Xbot on my article when I own and love my PS4.
Jitterbug: It’s gotten to the point where if you say a single nice thing about MS, you’re tarred and feathered as an Xbot. I hope both systems do well, and I hope Titanfall is as good as everyone says it is, and I hope that it does eventually go multi-platform. I actually have a really hard time understanding why anyone would want otherwise. The devotion to a corporation that people have (whether it’s to Sony, MS, Apple, or WHOEVER) is flabbergasting to me.
Cameron: Yeah that IS something an Xbot would say… you X-Whore.
Sean: Jitterbug, people are just pissy about things that shouldn’t be a cause for pissiness. I mentioned the PS4/X1 sales numbers yesterday and a friggin’ Xbox MVP who may have LEFT BROWN stains in his shorts while posting had to jump in all diplomatic-like and added the #nofanboys tag to his tweet like an a-hole. I was posting JUST a fact. Just sales numbers. No boasting, no bragging, no opinion at all as a matter of fact. The amount of knee-jerking going on right now is hilarious. Also, if I were to go to Paris and pick a lily, it’d probably smell like a childish and smug a-hole as well that would block you from being around it if you didn’t knob-gobble everything in the precise way it felt you should. /rant about knee-jerking a-holes worried about their choices/opinions being somehow invalidated because someone else doesn’t share them.
Jitterbug: But isn’t complaining about how awful Titanfall is before ever playing it an example of being pissy for the cause of pissiness? I’ve never played the game, but everyone that has says it’s incredible. Why am I showing that I’m anti-PS4 by saying that I’m going to wait until the game comes out before passing judgment on it?
Sean: No, no, no… people being pissy because Titanfall is going to suck because it’s only 6v6 are being pissy for the sake of being pissy.
Mike: I’m not trying to be pissy about it being 6v6. I really don’t care because I’m not likely to get an Xbox One, or if I did, it likely wouldn’t be for a couple years. But if this were a game coming out for PS4, I’d be pretty let down by the player limit. And really, it’s the fact that they’re limiting it at 12 BUT adding bots. To me, that is completely and utterly ridiculous. Bots are the LAST thing I would want in a multiplayer shooter. I’ve played with bots before and it sucks.
Jitterbug: With all this said, and like I mentioned earlier, I think the announcement that it’s max 6v6 is a bummer, but I’m willing to consider that perhaps the game makers are right, and that the game will be better as a 6v6 instead of a massive game. I’d never want to play Splinter Cell‘s multiplayer with a 32v32 team approach.
Jitterbug: Are the bots the exact same type of character as the player?
Mike: From what I’ve seen, this isn’t a tactical game like Splinter Cell. It looks like a chaotic, twitch shooter like Call of Duty.
Jitterbug: But you’ve never played it, and the people that have keep saying it’s incredible. Sooooo…. Maybe it’s really great.
Sean: Mike, if it were just you it’d be one thing but it’s not. It’s simply the latest thing for gamers to be up in arms over. I swear gamers are the most finicky media consumers I can think of. When it comes to books, magazines, music, TV, movies, etc. we just all wait for media to come out and enjoy it or not but gaming somehow has this notion attached to it that we need to be made aware of everything involved throughout its entire production and if we don’t agree with it we don’t simply watch another show or read another book, we sharpen pitchforks and light torches… even if the game’s going to end up fun… if it’s different than we imagine we want it… shit’s goin’ down. I’ve seen it all over how people are disappointed in Titanfall’s choices. I kinda trust Respawn to make a fun game even if it’s not what I expected them to do… and as you (and I) don’t have X1s, if they’re going to make a design mistake, let’s let ’em make it on this first game.
Mike: I’m sure it is pretty great. I would imagine any new shooter for a next gen console is going to be met with great praise…
Fisherman: I guess I don’t understand why it’s an open and shut case that 6v6 plus bots is ridiculous. Truthfully, I suspected this was the case since I played it because the endgame of multiplayer matches has the losing team racing to a drop ship (think Halo Pelican size) and the winning team try to knock it out of the sky. How many dudes do you think you’re gonna cram on one of those things? Nuts-to-butts, everyone.
Mike: It’s definitely not an open and shut case, it would just be a let down for me. If it were a game that I was looking forward to, they’d have to re-win me over with it after hearing it’s 6v6 with bots.
Fisherman: I’ve only played it one time. So take my ‘experience’ with a grain of salt here. It’s certainly not a tactical game like Splinter Cell. But it’s not a twitch shooter either – it probably would be with a higher player count, but I think that does the game’s advanced mechanics a huge disservice. Which could have been the very same conversation that Respawn had internally. For me, I’m loving this full disclosure from Respawn about Titanfall. No, we’re not doing single player. This game is about multiplayer. Yes, the limit is 6v6. It’s a better experience that way. It’s a refreshing break from games that try to do too much because of arbitrary necessities.
Sean: I’m in the minority in that I wouldn’t mind a game like Titanfall showing up on store shelves without knowing about its development for years. I would be spending the same $60 to buy a game that showed up out of nowhere to great reviews that I would if I’d agonized over having to wait and criticized every decision that went into its development… EXCEPT… I wouldn’t have all the unnecessary stress involved (if I were one to get upset at stuff like this). Just boom! Game’s out. Why’s everyone talking about it? Holy crap, look at these review scores! I need to check this out ASAP!!!
DJ: 64 players is a new thing to consoles yet there’s people complaining that not every game that’s multiplayer is 64 players? Where’s Clint when you need him to tell gamers how they should stop feeling entitled to stuff automatically.
Mike: Obviously, I have no proof of this, but this screams “Microsoft gave us a deadline before we were finished and as a result, we need to make the player cap 12 with bots.” That’s just a theory, but saying it was a creative decision sounds a LOT better than saying our parent company didn’t let us finish the game. Not that that would ever happen in the gaming industry…..
Cameron: Oh man! Mike, I bet M$$$ totally did do that! Those crazy Xbots. I’ll tell everyone.
Jitterbug: Mike, that’s a pretty far reach. Titanfall‘s been in development for a long time. I’m not saying that’s not possible, but Respawn was in a great place when they started, and could’ve buddied up with either MS or Sony, or neither. I don’t think they’re in the same boat as a company like Rare back in the day, where they were beholden to MS. I’ve gotten the sense that the opposite is true here, where MS is slobbering on Respawn and not pounding their fist making demands. Now, if Titanfall had been a launch title, then your theory might carry more water.
Mike: That could very well be true, Jitterbug. And this may just be more of a case of expecting something more grandiose. And that may come down to what Sean said about basically knowing too much about games in development.
Fisherman: I’ll switch sides for a minute here, DJ, I don’t think this is about entitlement. It’s about gamers being disappointed because they were excited for something, and aren’t as excited anymore. Entitlement gets thrown around a lot, but this is disappointment. If you’re into shooters primarily for the chaos of a ton of players and the frantic pace that comes with it, I can see this being legitimately disappointing.
Mike: As Shax pointed out about BF4 though, it has tons of players and didn’t have a frantic pace. Hell, MAG didn’t have a frantic pace.
DJ: I was disappointed that Forza was not 30+ players, but I live with it. Is it that huge deal that it’s not 64 or even 32?
Cameron: DJ, it’s not that we all want 64 or even 32. It’s that for the average FPS player, anything under 10v10 sounds like a “tactical” game mode to them and they don’t want that. They will learn.
Fisherman: What else do BF4 and MAG have in common, though? Huge, wide-open maps. Titanfall‘s maps are smaller and more intimate. The one I played on had tons of nooks and crannies, and was vertically focused, not horizontally. Believe me when I say that if there were double the amount of players in the game I was in, it would not be enjoyable.
Mike: I guess I just thought games with small maps and low player counts were always done because of technical limitations and that’s how I think about that kind of thing. I can see it being an advantage to the game, it just wasn’t what I was thinking the game would be. And again, this is coming from someone who probably is never going to own it anyway….
DJ: I love MAG, but it was a hectic game. I loved having many people on there, but at times, my biggest frustration was that if my squad was doing great, we where helping to push through, but no matter how great we where, no matter how much effort we put in, if the rest of the 100+ players were slacking, we would lose. Smaller teams lead to better games, regardless of how awesome a million players might be.
Mike: First of all, “better” is in the eye of the beholder. More people does not automatically equal better game, and neither does less people. I’m sorry you were on shitty teams, but I’ve been on shitty teams in 4v4 matches of Call of Duty.
Fisherman: Yeah, that’s a pretty muddy line in the sand about small teams making better games. I will say from my experience that small teams made a better Titanfall game on the map I played. My assumption (which could be misinformed) is that the other maps are similarly sized and structured, and matches would be paced similarly to the one I had.
Jitterbug: I remember when I heard about Left 4 Dead having only 4v4 and I thought, “Pffft, lame.” The game ended up changing my opinion of what multiplayer FPSs could do. So I’ve learned my lesson to just give the game time, and see how it is.
DJ: Last I remember, special forces teams deploy in smaller numbers and it works great for them. Unless we want to go back to the Battle of Gettysburg where it was 2000v2000
Fisherman: I think the difference, DJ, is that I could see a great game being made about either of those types of conflicts.
Mike: DJ, you’re terrible at debating.
DJ: I didn’t know this was a debate, I thought we where all just talking about a game that’s not released yet and coming to terms wit the news of 12 players.
Sean: We are mass debating.
DJ: How many people per debate team?
Jitterbug: In my opinion, Left 4 Dead had some of the best multiplayer of last gen. Does that mean small team vs small team is the best way to go? Nope. I have a blast with BF4‘s huge teams. What it does mean though is that a great multiplayer experience is not necessarily defined by how many players are in the game. It depends on the game itself.
Cameron: Woah, thanks for dropping the common sense bomb on us, Jitterbug. The funny thing is I’m pretty sure we all know and knew what you just said the whole time we just keep on blabbing on… just because.
Cob: Yeah, I mean like, 12 person orgies are way better than 64. Those get messy!
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