“We prototyped approximately a bazillion ways of having titans in this game.”
Respawn Entertainment has said the giant mechs that populated its Titanfall series simply didn’t work in its free-to-play battle royale game, Apex Legends.
Though Respawn has explicitly said Apex Legends is not a sequel to Titanfall 2, it is set in the same universe, leading many to wonder if wall running and big old robots were ever considered. Speaking to IGN, Executive Producer Drew McCoy said that they were, but they just didn’t work within the battle royale genre.
“During development of Apex Legends, we prototyped a lot of stuff,” said McCoy. “Having come from Titanfall 2, we tried wall-running and double jumping and triple jumping, and all sorts of crazy stuff. And the goal of the game from a development standpoint was to create something strategic and masterable and learnable and very deep, and a lot of those mechanics were detrimental to those goals.”
The Titans made combat very hard to read, continued McCoy, which is why Respawn decided to have three characters per team as opposed to a four-man or five-man squad. “Because the combat encounters were getting too complex and too hairy, where you couldn’t mentally keep track of where everyone was and the state of all the stuff. So we talked about our action block phase of development. That’s actually something we take with us throughout the whole process of development. It’s not just prototyping, it’s also iteration. We playtest the game for hours every day so that we can be making sure that we’re hitting our goals as far as what this game is trying to accomplish. So for this game, the depth of the game and the strategy of the game really was the lynchpin on deciding these mechanics.”
Considering Apex Legends is set 30 years after the events of Titanfall 2, however, Respawn was initially determined to include them.
“We prototyped approximately a bazillion ways of having titans in this game,” said McCoy. “The reality was, they were an incredible unbalancing factor. That goes back to the goals of titans in Titanfall and Titanfall 2. They were meant to be a giant power up for a period of time. Whereas battle royale games, and specifically Apex Legends, are trying to be a much more level playing field. When we tried Titans that weren’t as powerful or had kind of ‘gotchas’ to them, it really ruined that power fantasy of what a titan is or should be. And at that point, why have them in the game? So for us, we don’t put anything in the game unless we think it fits and makes the game better.”
As of writing, the lack of Titans hasn’t seemed to hurt Apex Legends, which drew in 1 million players in less than 8 hours. Be sure to check out our top tips to get prepared for jumping into the fray, and let us know what you think of the game in the comments below.