Titanfall dev speaks to the value of slower, simpler multiplayer

Titanfall 2 game director Steve Fukuda speaks to Shacknews about how Respawn is trying to make the game more readable -- and learnable -- by slowing it down and simplifying some of the map design.
"'If I die here in this game mode, how do I get better?' Do I zig? Do I zag? What should I have done differently? It was hard for Titanfall players to answer that through their experience. So we went back to the drawing board so we could fix this."

- Titanfall 2 game director Steve Fukuda.

Respawn is preparing for the late October launch of its mech-enhanced FPS Titanfall 2 by putting builds of the game through pre-release multiplayer stress tests, and in the process it's opening up a bit about how it goes about designing and fine-tuning a multiplayer shooter.

In a blog post today the studio sought to reassure concerned players that changes which make test builds of Titanfall 2 feel in some ways "slower" than the original Titanfall were made based on "a desire to improve our gunplay, and not a desire to slow down movement."

In a Shacknews interview published yesterday, Titanfall 2 game director Steve Fukuda elaborates on the project's design goals, speaking more directly about how the Respawn team is trying to make Titanfall multiplayer more readable and less chaotic -- and why he believes that's important for players.

"We started by addressing the fact that you move so fast. You can't shoot out of the air so easily. So we slowed things down just a touch," said Fukuda, after suggesting that players of the original Titanfall had a hard time understanding why they died -- and how to improve -- in multiplayer matches because the game was fast and chaotic, inspiring reactionary play. 

"Then also thinking more in terms of having players [make] more proactive decisions," he continued. "So instead of reacting to everything, they're thinking more like, 'This match and this mode, this map, etc.' They go, what things in the loadout menu will best help me fulfill that purpose. There's a much greater sense of purpose for players."

Respawn also seems to be changing the way it designs multiplayer Titanfall maps, simplifying some of them into a very MOBA-esque three-lane design intended to cut down on battlefield chaos that leads to players dying without understanding how -- or why.

"We started thinking more in terms of simplifying the concept and using what the designers call a 'window pane' effect, where we think in terms of lanes. Defined paths become the norm: the left, the middle, the right," said Fukuda. "There's a greater simplification of the player's understanding of the environment, so that the environment becomes more predictable and becomes less about just drawing lines across the map from any point to any point where it just becomes a mess."

For more of Fukuda's comments on how Titanfall 2 is evolving in response to player feedback, check out the full interview over on Shacknews.

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