Earlier this week Vince Zampella of Respawn announced that the maximum player count for Titanfall would be 6v6, and it instantly stoked a blazing fire across the internet. In almost no time at all negative comments were posted in droves, with players angry about the reveal, crying out for change, and threatening to drop the game from their future purchases. Even now, despite Respawn’s attempts to explain their decision, many people are still not happy and feel cheated by the whole affair, but is it really as terrible as everyone makes out? I, for one, am not convinced.

Admittedly, at first glance, 6v6 appears to be a step back and not forward. With some current multiplayer games reaching as high as 32v32, it could even look as far from next-gen as some people can imagine. As far as I can see, however, there’s more to a great game experience than a couple of figures, and I’m pretty sure the Titanfall developers have more insight on the best way to design their game than, well, the rest of the world.

To illustrate my point, let’s look at the big picture for a moment. In each team, you have six human players. We all know that one. Each player then effectively has two fighters; a mech Titan, and their free-running pilot. Players can jump in and out of their mech at will, leaving it to stomp around and create carnage on its own while they go climb some walls and kill some bad guys. But that’s not all, as there are also dozens of AI running around doing their thing, too. Altogether, there could be up to 50 characters on the map at a time, but just not all of them will be human. So what is so terrible about that?

I don’t know about anyone else, but to me twelve mechs and twelve pilots running around sounds like a substantially hectic session, and that’s without knowing what the AI are going to be getting up to. Throw in the fact that you have a plot related objective to accomplish, rather than the more common rampant killing you find in other multiplayer games, and you’ve got a real challenge on your hands.

Most importantly in Titanfall, as with any game, everything needs to be in moderation and balanced, and I think that’s exactly what the developers considered with this set up. If you want more pilots and Titan’s crashing around then you need bigger maps, and if you have bigger maps then you take away the focus and intensity you find in more modestly scaled arenas. Titanfall is all about intense, fast-paced, streamlined action, and for that to happen, these player figures need to be lower. They’re not ludicrously low; they’re not 4 players per session, they’re twelve people. That’s still a lot of brains ticking over, and a lot of mayhem waiting to be caused.

I think it also needs to be considered that this game is multiplayer only, and that you’ll be playing through some form of plot with 5 other people at all times. When you really look it, the lower number actually makes a lot of sense. This way the game will feel a lot more intimate and driven; you are a tight-knit team facing a mission together, not an army of strangers who are just trying to avoid accidentally shooting each other amongst the madness. It’s also considerably easier to find 5 other friends to play with than thirty, which means you’re much more likely to be able to play exclusively with a team of people you know, and consequently enjoy the game as a unit. It may sound slightly romanticised, but I think it will add a lot to the game experience and overall vibe. Titanfall is not meant to be your average shooter, it’s supposed to mix up the formula and present something a little different.

So if you enjoy being killed within 5 second of respawning and not being able to make heads or tails of the world, then maybe yeah, 6v6 is a little low, but if you really want to embrace this game, enjoy the action, and keep up the pace, then twelve players per session seems to be right on the money. I’m by no means claiming that this is an ideal for every game, but for Titanfall, it seems like the right fit.