Titanfall’s 6v6 multiplayer is by design

4 min read


Titanfall’s confirmed 12 player, 6-v-6 player has caused a bit of controversy. Some are disappointed, believing that a “next generation” game shouldn’t have such a low player count. Others believe it’s being held back by consoles, which is why it’s only a 12 player game. Respawn says this is nonsense, and that it was a design decision for maximum funsies.

Speaking on NeoGAF (via Dualshockers), a verified Respawn staffer DKo5, answered numerous questions on the forum regarding Titanfall’s 6v6 multiplayer, and why it was the best choice for the game.

Its mostly the consistency of firefights. Lower player counts and there starts to be too many lulls in the action, too many “Hrmm… where to go now…” thoughts going through your head. Higher than it and there’s just too much. You lose the ability to “keep it all from spilling over”, so to speak, in your brain. 6v6 hit upon the sweet spot of being able to keep track of everything you’re seeing, all the information coming in from your POV, the mini map, the obituary scroll, your teammates chatter, etc. Most players are usually still feeling quite in control of what they’re doing, where they’re going, and what they want to accomplish. Beyond 6v6 and it quickly turned into much more of a random mosh pit of “How did I die?” and feeling like there was nothing that could have been done to NOT die. Thats an important distinction to make.

A driving mantra for this game, as cheesy as it sounds, is what we dubbed MLLM. Minute to Learn, Lifetime to Master. Like Chess, or Go. Players quickly feel like they can get in and have fun. Thats not the “hard” part to accomplish with this. The hard part is, after 5, 10, 20, 100 hours – what is the player learning? Are they feeling like they have the ability to increase their skill at the game, or have they hit a ceiling? Are their wins and losses based on something they have control over, or is it purely luck/chance? Higher than 6v6 was really fast ruining this goal.

I’ll happily believe that. I really don’t think there are technological limits in place here. In fact, the player count became quite a debated topic internally at Respawn..

There has been a TON of debate back and forth in the studio over the years about “ideal” player counts. Can I ask you something? What is it about larger player counts that you like vs smaller? Is it the feeling of a large war? Is it something like interactions per minute? Is it high target count? Is it a general “intensity level”? Potentially higher opportunity for random occurrences of crazy stuff happening?

There was some internal push back when we started honing in on non “large” playercounts (for a while we were only playing 2v2 and 3v3!) because of the perception of “less fun”, or the lack of things like I listed above, in smaller player counts.

On top of that, the AI that is in the game isn’t your standard bot, in place of what could be a human player; it all works differently.

And not once have we said AI is there to mimic playing against another player. They have a role in the game, and it isn’t buffing player counts.

Clarifying on the AI a bit later, he said:

Having not played the game, I assume? You probably shouldn’t yet say they don’t add to your experience. You very well might not like them in the game, but again – save judgements until playtime! That said, they do provide more than just “cannon fodder”. Thats 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. They aren’t some huge “OMG GUYS WE FOUND THE ANSWER”, but they do add flavor and a unique angle to the game that aren’t currently available in other games; at least none that I’ve been playing.

As Gavin’s already said, when we played Titanfall, it was a set of 5v5, and it was immeasurably fun. I have no doubt the final game will be too. Titanfall is coming to Microsoft platforms in March this year; Windows PC, Xbox One and Xbox 360.

Last Updated: January 9, 2014

Geoffrey Tim

Editor. I'm old, grumpy and more than just a little cynical. One day, I found myself in possession of a NES, and a copy of Super Mario Bros 3. It was that game that made me realise that games were more than just toys to idly while away time - they were capable of being masterpieces. I'm here now, looking for more of those masterpieces.

  • Admiral Chief in Vegas

    Good explanation. And good points. Here is hoping Titanfall will be epic

    • JJ’s grand endeavour (John)

      Man, I’m hoping so too.

  • Admiral Chief in Vegas

    Lets just hope the PC version is not:
    A) A silly port
    B) As expensive as the Eierdoos version

    • Uberutang

      C) Locally hosted dedicated servers

      • Admiral Chief in Vegas

        YES, A,B, and most certainly C

        • Sageville


        • Hammersteyn

          D) 12 v 12

          • Admiral Chief in Vegas

            Or at least an option for it

    • ThisIsBullShlt

      I was offered and early purchase on it when I picked up BF4 yesterday. R500.

  • Spathi

    Still not sold on the AI players. But will wait and see if they actually forms part of the story or some stuff before passing judgment.

  • RinceThis2014

    I said it yesterday, I like the idea of fewer people in a game like this. So sick of the 32 vs 32 maps where you are like, wtf just happened?

    • VampyricSquirrel Monk

      I spawned! (1 sec later) I died! I spawned! (1 sec later) I died! I spawned! (10 sec later) Hey I might survive to get a… DAMNIT I died!

      • RinceThis2014

        Ya. I have spent hours playing Halo 4 for example with OVG. The main point of the game is to see who lasts longest. It’s fun for a short while, but when the screen looks like it’s being invaded by blue and red ants it gets boring hella quick.

      • VampyricSquirrel Monk

        This how I feel on a small map on GTA Online with 16 people on it…

        • Kensei Seraph

          I thought you were talking about a 64 player game of CoD on a 16 player map.

          • VampyricSquirrel Monk

            Same kinda idea really… I don’t play CoD though

      • Alien Emperor Trevor

        She always complained about that. Wait… er.. what are we talking about? :/

    • Tarisma

      Then play 16v16 maps?

  • Sir Rants A Lot Llew. Jelly!!!

    Mmmm. I will reserve judgement until after launch and everyone has had time to play and comment

    • Sageville

      Pfft! Rant first, apologize later

      • Admiral Chief in Vegas

        What is this apologize thing you speak of?

        • Sageville

          It’s a theoretical model I’m working on, still looking for practical applications…

          • Admiral Chief in Vegas

            Ahhh, let me know how your thesis goes

        • VampyricSquirrel Monk

          Apologize : To admit you’re wrong and an utter douche.

          Nah, you can keep it.

          • Admiral Chief in Vegas

            In other words, nothing I am guilty of since always right and never a douche 😉

  • iAmWeasel

    I’m ok with small 6 v 6 but don’t get why there can’t be variety with larger counts as well. The AI aspect seems odd to me.. almost sounds like they added it in just because it’s something new.

    • Sageville

      Exactly, if you’re doing a MP only game why not have different game modes to appeal to different people.

      • iAmWeasel

        Yes, just look at Battlefield.. you get small squad-based modes, and
        then medium scale warfare and large scale too. It just adds more value.

        • Rags

          Disagree, less is more. The great appeal of quake/ut is that within a single game of say 5v5 team deathmatch, you get to know a little bit of each player personally. Play a few days together and you make good friends. Everyone is chatting and having a great time. In BF, no one bothers, you don’t get to know anyone except that asshole who keeps sniping you across the map.

          In terms of gameplay in BF4 32v32 your contribution is diminished and you just go with the flow. In planetside this is much more amplified with 100v100, you may just as well be playing PVE. In the Quake or UT game, if you manage to play an amazing game or suck more than usual will change the outcome of the game. The result depends on each you!

          But that pressure is not meant for all that’s why BF and Planetside exists.
          So this is a welcome variety, in a pile of modern appeal to the masses at all cost shooters.

          • Sageville

            I dunno Rags, I never enjoyed Quake/UT as it didn’t give me the gameplay I liked. BF4 has many modes, I prefer TDM which is 12v12.

            I do agree that a more personal experience comes from less players, but that isn’t always everyone’s cup of tea… the more personal, the more “Eat a Bag of Dicks” requests you receive.

            Regardless, I’ll give Titanfall a go, it still looks awesome.

          • JJ’s grand endeavour (John)

            So, if judging by the comments you guys made. BF is real war and Titanfall is real gaming.

          • iAmWeasel

            Yes and my point is just, why not have both options so you cater for all tastes. Adding more value and broadening appeal can never be a bad thing.

          • JJ’s grand endeavour (John)

            Agreed. Although I am terrible at most MP FPS games. Give me a sandbox or RPG any day.

          • Rags

            I hear you, like I said its not for everyone. But we UT/Quake/ET folk have been waiting for a new game like it for what 13 years? So I am hoping it will be something for us. It’s still a compromise with realistic weapons and such which will hopefully end up in having a larger community.

            But I don’t agree with the idea that games need now to be 32v32+ or its not ‘next-gen’ or that it has to appeal to those who want it. Especially after all the complaints of BF, COD and clones just releasing more of the same.

            What excites me is when developers talk about balance, 120fps, moerse learning curve and interesting mechanics.

            To those who want a BF clone with Mechs, you just have to wait for BF5. 😛

  • Gareth L (That Guy)

    Smaller squads definitely seems to encourage the Team Play aspect, which is actually pretty cool.

    • Matthew Holliday

      what about medium sized teams, 12 v 12 with 3-4 man squad based action?

      • Gareth L (That Guy)

        They’re trying to set their own set of rules and force people to learn and develop brand new strategies – Titanfall strategies.

        • Matthew Holliday

          Meh, calling it a design choice sounds like an easy way out of saying “game is too difficult to do right on current gen consoles”

          The scale of the game impressed me, I just dont understand why they would limit it to 6v6, when the game is just so… big.

          and 6v6 wont bring about new strategies, CoD does 6v6, battlefield does 6v6, halo, quake, counterstrike, MOST games do small scale teams, it doesnt bring about better team work, its just less players to cover the sectors of a map, leading to fewer kills and more emphasis on the individual.

          • Gareth L (That Guy)

            Agreed though. Like I said in the similar article the other day, it just sounds like the looming deadline forced this decision.

  • Rags

    A ray of common sense has come through.

  • Lardus-Resident Perve

    Sounds very well thought out. Still not getting an online only game for my console.

  • VampyricSquirrel Monk

    I like the idea of smaller groups for team play… even 10 v 10 would work.

    I’ve watched BF4 vids and they look like utter chaos with no one knowing what is where or what the hell killed them.

    • iAmWeasel

      That’s not really true.. in BF4 once you understand the layout of a map and the general flow of war then it is really fantastic – nothing beats it for a MP experience in my opinion. I understand why watching bits and pieces as observer might feel that way though.

    • Matthew Holliday

      agreed with Weasel here, once you get the slightest big of map awareness, its all good.
      CoD4 TDM used to be 12v12 in maps around the same size as the current CoD games, and it was still wasnt that chaotic

  • Hammersteyn
  • xANONx

    I’m thinking of this as FPS DotA… 6v6 (ok DotA is 5v5) with creeps (AI players)… could be awesome!

  • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

    When someone has to explain that it’s “by design” it probably isn’t, and it all boils down to one or two limiting factors. I’d like to blame the Xbox 360, but with the Bone struggling to keep up, my money is on the xbone.

    • Gustav Minnie

      Battlefield 4 looks much better than Titanfall and can host 64 player games on the limited X1. You don’t like money?

  • Gustav Minnie

    I like this. Don’t give me a rubbish PC port PLEASE!

    • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

      PC ports are rubbish. Who wants the dumbed down version for their consoles! No to PC PORTS! NO TO PC PORTS! 😛

  • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

    But will it be 1080p or 720p? gie gie gie gie gie!

  • 64bit

    I really hope all xbox fans buy the game. Ii will go a along way in demonstrating how M$ has tricked users into purchasing last gen hardware

  • SirRaspberry Velvet

    This is some bullshit. You mean to tell me that out of 48-50 possible things on screen that I can shoot in a match, that 36-38 of those things will be AI characters? AI characters that I assume I will be able to kill more easily than human players? This is like inviting one of my friends to play COD surrounded by enemy bots!!

    It will be interesting to see what other disappointments come in the weeks ahead of launch…

  • SirRaspberry Velvet

    I’m not saying every match has to be gigantic. I know there a lot of sensitive people who get butt hurt and disarmed when they get shot a lot and they wish they had a better sense of control. But for us players who aren’t afraid of a little challenge and don’t suck on lollipops all day, at least give me the fucking option of being able to participate in a large game with folks from around the world!

    But, I digress, I’ll just have to wait until I actually play this to decide.

  • dbel

    i have more than 6 friends wanting to play this game which sucks because i want to play with all of them all together. i expected a battlefield game experience would be great but then again it is titanfall.

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