There's a straightforward question at the core of Titanfall's intense and entertaining battles: What happens when you pit agile human combatants against enormous and powerful titans? As it turns out, the answer is a little more complex. For our third entry in the Next Big Game: Titanfall, we explore the dynamic between Titanfall's combatants with members of the development team at Respawn and get an insider's perspective on what went into making these battles work. As you might expect, it wasn't easy.
"The hardest thing about balancing the titans and the pilots in Titanfall was making it fair for both sides," says Justin Hendry, lead designer at Respawn. "At one point, the titans had regenerating health. They were able to fully regenerate their health, and it sucked as a pilot because you hit them with something and you're risking your life. And even though you might hit them, [the titan] was just going to regenerate that health. It was infuriating."
It quickly became a game of one-upmanship. A change would tip the scales too far in the direction of the titans. The following tweak tipped the scales in favor of the pilots. Some changes made titan vs. titan fights problematic.
A series of iterations eventually led to the formula on display in the beta, but the development team knew from the start that taking on the contrasting styles of play would present other issues upfront, specifically how either of the two would control. "Robots in games, or mechs, they've got something of a bad reputation," says Steve Fukuda, game director. "They're known as being slow and unwieldy. They can also be complicated and very simulator oriented, so we wanted to make sure that, as a pilot, your experience and your familiarity with those controls would translate smoothly into the experience of a titan."
Watch the video above for more on what went into the mechanics of creating the battles between pilots and titans.