We may earn a commission when you buy through links in our articles. Learn more.

Why Respawn cut complex mech controls from Titanfall; “The cutting room floor is three feet deep”

Titanfall is ace - the best FPS PCGN has played so far this year.

Titanfall has landed; here’s our Titanfall review.

For a multiplayer FPS that threatens to add so much new to the genre, Titanfall is an extremely lean game. No single player; no cooperative horde modes; no distractions.

Much of what Respawn developed along the way has been thrown from the rooftops of Angel City and trampled by bipedal machines – including a much more complicated mech control system that sounded more Brothers in Arms than binary.

When you vacate a titan in Respawn’s shooter, ‘auto-titan’ AI takes over – a behavioural system that will see your steel, storeys-high counterpart react to and seek out threats. Commands are limited to either ‘sit and stay’ or ‘come here, good boy’ – but once were part of a larger spectrum of remote controls.

“We thought about being able to send them out, put them in an aggressive kill mode, so that they seek other players out,” Respawn designer Justin Hendry told Total Xbox. “But the things that were the most useful to players were being able to say ‘wait here, I’m going to come back for you’, essentially like parking a car, and ‘come look for me’.”

In the old system, titans would rarely return in one piece – leaving players frustrated.

“A lot of times when you sent them out, they’d go off and get themselves killed,” explained Hendry. “It was cool, but players didn’t really manipulate [titans] or understand where they were going to go, whereas if you put one in Follow mode, you know he’s going to walk a path towards you, so you can make sure there aren’t any Titans there, and that it’s safe for him to make his move.”

Fellow designer Fairfax McCandlish said that the cutting room floor was “three feet deep” during Titanfall’s development.

“It was a bit of a bloodbath, but that’s how you get the actual best possible content,” he said. “And that’s how you can create a new IP that will actually stand out and be compelling to play.”

It sounds like Respawn were channelling Ken Levine when they built the game’s key systems – but our collective Titanfall beta impressions suggest it was all worth it. Would you lot have preferred to be giving your pet mechs Rainbow Six wall-breach commands, though?