Respawn Entertainment boss Vince Zampella has confirmed via his personal Twitter feed that Titanfall's maximum player count is 6v6 - spurring many internet commenters to declare that the Titanfall hype train has finally lost some of its steam.
The response to Zampella's revelation has been, shall we say, mixed. Some conspiracy theorists claim that it's an indication of the Xbox One's inferior power (despite games like Battlefield 4 easily managing much higher player counts), whilst others are praising Respawn for prioritising player experience over bare numbers.
@MrClutch514 @Respawn 6v6 is max player count. Turned out to be the best balance with ai for us.— Vince Zampella (@VinceZampella) January 8, 2014
Earlier previews of the game had members of the media and the general public playing matches of 7v7, presumably because Respawn was still undecided about ideal player counts at the time. Zampella confirmed (also via Twitter) that the game is capable of hosting more players, and that the 6v6 number is absolutely a design choice. "We had it higher at points in testing," he responded to a fan, "this felt best."
This wasn't enough to stem accusations of inferior tech on a NeoGAF thread dedicated to the announcement, so Titanfall producer Drew McCoy appeared to shed a little light on the decision behind a smaller player count. "Lots of armchair game designing going on in here," he wrote. "I'd suggest playing before judging a something as insignificant as a number in a vacuum.
"Vince is right - we tried a huge amount of player counts (all the way down to 1v1 and up quite high) and designed the maps, gameplay mechanics, and entire experience around which played best. If anyone wants to chase the numbers game, perhaps we're not the experience they're after? I dunno.
"And FYI, for amount of stuff happening at once in a map you'll be hard pressed to find a game that keeps the action higher. I literally have to stop playing every few rounds because my heart just can't take it some times. Remember, you can get out of your Titan and let it roam on AI mode - meaning there can be 12 Pilots wallrunning around, 12 Titans stomping below, and dozens of AI doing their thing."
This all sounds fine to me. Higher player counts, in my experience, tend to encourage chaotic frag fests that offer little more than running and gunning - perhaps a small but perfectly formed number will allow for more interesting, tactical play. Thoughts?