Titanfall will be getting its first DLC, the Expedition map pack, on May 12, and Respawn has been eager to show off the three new maps. Today, we explore the aptly named Swamplands, going behind-the-scenes with game designer Chris "Soupy" Dionne. As it turns out, Respawn wanted to make this map way back in 2011, and we're finally seeing it now in 2014
During development of Titanfall, the idea to "make an MP level in a swamp" sparked, but Respawn didn't actually have time to pursue it. With Titanfall actually out, however, the devs can actually invest their time in creating new maps. When it was originally conceived, "Swampland was an almost completely flat level with yellow fog and towering redwoods," but the final version is significantly more robust.
Seriously, take a look at this map.
All those towering trees aren't just there for looks; Respawn made sure of that. With the towering trees being so prevalent, they devs knew they couldn't just shove them aside as visual props. Why not let pilots actually climb the darn things?
During playtesting of these early variations, something else became clear - the towering trees (which had been pushed to the periphery) needed to take center stage. They were a blast! Titans dodging around massive trunks; Pilots jumping from tree-to-tree like ninjas. All that additional infrastructure had pulled players away from this new and interesting fun that was happening around (and on!) the trees.
I shifted the dense forest section to the center of the map, and kept three main structures as anchor points around the perimeter. This encouraged Pilots and Titans to pass through the woods as they moved from building to building. The final design push then focused on small changes to enhance those interactions - adjusting sight lines, making interiors more interesting to fight over, encouraging flow, and so on.
His entire post is an interesting read, especially if you like seeing the work that goes into map design in FPS games. Swamplands is just the second to be showcased, following an in-depth look at the urban War Games map.
Expect the entire Expedition map pack to arrive May15 with a price of $9.99 -- unless you've already grabbed the Season Pass.