Respawn’s Community Manager Abbie Heppe spoke with Xbox Wire about the design decisions as to why AIs were actually added to Titanfall.
Xbox Wire: Why did you decide to put AI-controlled enemies and teammates in “Titanfall”?
Abbie Heppe: For the design team, it accomplished a lot of goals. It gave players who are newer something to shoot at and gave them a way to help their team. They’ll also help lead you into battle if you’re a new player. If you are a more skilled, you can use them to help you trick the enemy. Like, if I’m playing a game of Hardpoint, I’ll follow some AI in and the enemy will shoot the first ones up the stairs and I’ll then take them out. So there are those types of advanced tactics. Then there are the Spectres, which are a more difficult class of AI. If you’re already injured, they can take you out.
The kind of overarching and less specific reason is that it really helps make the battlefield feel alive. You know, you want things to run over in your Titan and punch and melee. They help to create a larger scale battle, especially because they’re not Pilots and they don’t move like Pilots do. You’ll see them get into melee fights on the battlefield and you’ll hear them say “There’s a Pilot coming through.” or “They’re not so great!” They add to the whole character of the universe and make it feel like a more populated universe. Since we’re not doing the traditional single-player campaign, it makes us feel like we have a world.
The AI’s are there as a way to interact with the world.
Xbox Wire: What was the thinking behind the Titan AI?
Abbie Heppe: When you climb out of your Titan, you can set him to either guard or follow you. So if you set to follow, he’ll follow you around the map providing cover fire and you can get back in or out at any time. You can also set it to guard a point. So the Titan will, say, stand at Hardpoint B and take out Grunts and Pilots and attack other Titans. The Titan AI is a lot of fun because it’ll play just like you and use the same skills in combat. You’ll see them using the Vortex Shield and all of the weapons you’re used to using. Sometimes really crazy stuff comes from that. They’ll take rockets you shoot and use the Vortex Shield to shoot them at another enemy. There are all of these awesome combinations. It comes in really handy, because at some point you’ll want to get out of your Titan and go inside to hunt down a Pilot or take a capture point. If you have a long life and are playing well, you’re going to want to get in and out of your Titan a lot.
And, in Titanfall, you can even hack the enemy AIs to join your team till the die.
Xbox Wire: I noticed that you can hack some AI, like the Spectres, with your data knife. Is there a big advantage in taking them time to do that?
Abbie Heppe: It’s something that you’ll earn points for, but it’s a personal preference. That will turn them against your enemies and switch them to your side. And maybe that makes sense in certain game types, like Hardpoint, where you can send a bunch of hacked Spectres in to capture a point for your team. So it really depends on the player’s preference.
SOURCE: Xbox Wire