Respawn chief Vince Zampella confirmed to a prospective player earlier today that the hotly anticipated multiplayer shooter Titanfall will feature maximum player counts of 6v6.
Predictably, certain portions of the Internet have decided that this is enough to make the game "bad" in some way -- for just one example, the Twitter user who originally asked Zampella what the player count would be noted that he was "very disappointed" and that it "sounds incredibly lousy." Others in the same conversation thread noted that the relatively low player count -- compared to large-scale team-based shooters like Battlefield 4, that is -- was enough to get them to cancel their preorders.
Faced with a predictable torrent of negative feedback from people who were apparently expecting the game to be something other than it clearly is, Zampella was forced to go on the defensive. He noted that even with the player count the way it is, the maps are busy and full of life thanks to the presence of AI-controlled characters who play their own role that is different and distinct from what the players are doing -- i.e. not "bots" as some have described them. Not only that, but each player is also able to have a Titan which they can get out of and leave roaming on AI mode -- meaning that at any one given time in a match, there could be twelve players and twelve Titans battling it out for control of the map.
The team experimented with a wide variety of player counts -- ranging from one-on-one battles up to the larger skirmishes of titles like Battlefield -- and determined that the game played best with a maximum of twelve players. Consequently, all the maps and game mechanics have been designed with this player count in mind, so it seems fairly unlikely that players will be dumped into a huge, sprawling map and find themselves twiddling their thumbs for several minutes before coming across another player. Smaller player-counts are also more conducive to good communication and teamwork.
Titanfall's producer Drew McCoy later took to popular gaming forum NeoGAF to expand on the decision.
"Lots of armchair game designing going on here," he said. "I'd suggest playing before judging something as insignificant as a number in a vacuum."
Titanfall is due out in March for PC, Xbox One and Xbox 360.