Titanfall developer talks mobility, survivability and fast-paced action

Respawn Entertainment's Titanfall was developed with three goals in mind, according to producer Drew McCoy: player mobility, survivability and the merging of cinematic design with fast-paced action.

Speaking to Polygon at E3, McCoy said that after a lot of experimenting with different types of gameplay, the team behind the sci-fi, multiplayer first-person shooter came up with three main goals for the game. The first is mobility — to give players a new way of moving around an FPS game world.

"If you play most first-person shooters, you'll find that you're limited to a single plane of movement," McCoy said. "You can go forward and back and left and right, and there's lots of taking cover and popping up and taking pot shots. In so many games you have these massive, gorgeous, detailed worlds and you're very restricted in where you can go, even in multiplayer. So that's one of the first things we started tackling."

McCoy said that during early prototypes, the development team programmed features into the game's movement system such as the ability to jump three-storeys high in one leap, but this kind of design "didn't facilitate a game everyone could pick up and play." Bur while players won't be able to jump so high in one leap in Titanfall, they will be able to perform many more maneuvers than what is normally allowed in traditional first-person shooters.

"In so many games you have these massive, gorgeous, detailed worlds and you're very restricted in where you can go."

One example McCoy gave was, as a pilot, you have a jump kit on your back that allows you to perform double jumps, meaning a player can begin a jump from the ground and perform an additional jump mid-air. Players can also run on a wall in an arc and string these movements together to go anywhere they want in a level.

McCoy said the levels are "exploration-friendly" and, where other games clip off parts of the environment so players can't get through, the Titanfall team are giving players the tools to go anywhere.

The second goal the development team had was keeping the "high lethality flavor" from multiplayer shooters without having players die all the time.

"With survivability, we looked at how you increase a player's life span without reducing the lethality of it, because that time from to kill to kill is one of the big hooks. Players like getting constant kills — they don't like being killed constantly."

To address this issue, the development team is populating the game world with "dozens" of computer-controlled AI characters that serve as "popcorn enemies," named as such because they're "easy to pop." They allow players to take out lots of enemies in quick succession without resulting in other players dying too frequently.

"Players like getting constant kills — they don't like being killed constantly."

The third goal is merging the fast-paced acton of multiplayer shooters with the cinematic storytelling of single-player campaigns, which is explained in detail in our interview with game director Steve Fukuda.

Titanfall is scheduled to launch in spring 2014 for Xbox 360, Xbox One and Windows PC.

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