GAMING BLEND

Titanfall's Low Player Count Matters

By Pete Haas 2014-01-11 11:15:12 discussion comments
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Since Respawn announced that Titanfall's player count is only six-on-six, there have been numerous editorials defending the game's multiplayer. The truth is, though, this low player count could hurt the game.

Fact: there's never been a quality multiplayer shooter with 12 or fewer players. Except GoldenEye 64. And Halo: Combat Evolved. And Gears of War, Perfect Dark, Left 4 Dead, and Doom. But those games came out years ago. The only people who care about them these days are journalists writing "Best Shooters Of All Time" lists. Left 4 Dead, the newest game on that list, came out in 2008. 2008! It was a different time. American troops were in Afghanistan and millions of people across the world wasted their days on Facebook.

But enough about shooters that completely destroy my point. Fact: bigger is better. Haven't you noticed that every new president has been taller than the last? George Washington seems large in paintings but he was actually 5 inches tall. He crossed the Delaware River in Benjamin Franklin's tinderbox.

Fact: you can make a sentence seem more credible by putting "fact" in front of it. Learned that little nugget of info back in History 131 with my final paper, "Fact: Lincoln Invented Apostrophes." The professor failed me but he seemed real conflicted about it.

Titanfall would be twice as good if it had 24-player matches. That's how it goes with multiplayer: the more players you have, the better. That's why the best-selling, most beloved game of last generation was 256-player shooter MAG. Instead of worrying about Titanfall, we should just keep playing MAG.

Oh, they're shutting down MAG's servers in two weeks? Well, never mind then.

And don't give me that "chess is two players and no one seems to mind" argument. You've clearly never played 32-player chess. It's the far superior version. During Haas family reunions, each relative chooses a different chess piece and becomes them for a day. My nephews, the pawns, brawl in the living room. Grandpa, the king, sits on the couch watching a History Channel special about the cotton gin. Uncle Gerry desperately tries to get to the bathroom while only moving in "L" patterns. Sorry Gerry, everyone's gotta be a knight eventually.

But 12-player matches? How could Titanfall's publisher, EA, let this happen? After years of publishing Battlefield games, they should know better than anyone that large-scale multiplayer games are the future. And who wouldn't be lined up at midnight to buy a new massive multiplayer game from EA after the flawless, bug-free launch of Battlefield 4?

Respawn says that the battles won't feel small because of the A.I. soldiers and mechs. Is this supposed to reassure me? It's bad enough that robots are replacing humans in time-honored jobs like fastening rivets or giving poor driving directions. Now they're going to take over our multiplayer shooters, too? It's easy to see where this is going to end. Soon multiplayer matches will only be played by bots and we'll be watching the action from the glass tanks of nutrient-rich sludge where the machines have imprisoned us.

No, Respawn, 12-player multiplayer isn't okay. Neither is the systematic enslavement of mankind by robots. If you need me, I'll be trash-talking my GPS.
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