Sony To Develop PlanetSide Sequel?

By Jim Rossignol on September 26th, 2009 at 8:17 am.


Sony have sent out a survey to Planetside players, asking for feedback. Here’s what it says:

We plan to expand the PlanetSide® universe with another game and we need your help with the design. After all, who knows the game better than you, our customers, the people who actually play it! Don’t worry about the original PlanetSide, it isn’t going anywhere.

We want to hear your opinion and to do so we have put together a short survey. The information you provide will play a critical role into helping guide the development and direction of the next hit Massively Multiplayer Online First Person Shooter.

More thoughts below.

Whee! We’ve been hoping for this news for years, so it’ll be interesting to see if they can pull it off. Assuming the game is another MMOFPS along the same lines (which i might not be, given the bit about original PS being left untouched) I’d argue that they need to:

- Make the game scale to different numbers of players, so that low-population doesn’t leave players idle. Perhaps providing a series of different sized islands that faction populations can expand across.

- Create a formalised mission system, either player-driven or context driven, that will match squads against each other. This could spread fighting out away from choke points and across the landscape.

- Focus on the stuff that was really interesting! Hot-drops, having to refuel bases under fire: you know, those dynamic and exciting events that were the core of the game.

- Base design. The base architecture was pretty awful. Any new game needs to have less spammy corridors and more open fighting environments both indoors and outdoors.

- Keep the “wide” development of the game. It must not succumb to the temptation of level structures, but instead allow advancing players a wider range of options in their loadout and equipment requisition.

- Have a plan for going forward. PlanetSide’s post-release development was a mess. This time the design needs to have a drip-feed of features that have been properly thought out, and not the mess that was rolled out with things like PlanetSide’s absurd expansion, Core Combat. We don’t want to fight in caves, we want to fight across epic landscapes.

- Keep the mix of air and ground units. Being able to swap between dug-in ground conflict and zoomy air war was amazing. More please.

If it’s not an FPS, well, that would seem unwise on Sony’s part. I don’t think the PlanetSide world is really strong enough to warrant a classical MMO, or an RTS, or any other genre you could hammer the weird sci-fi war into. A remake with a modern engine however…

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98 Comments »

  1. Chobes says:

    Thanks a lot, seeing the word Planetside made me want to renew. Anyone still playing that can tell me how the population is? I played from open beta to early release and had to unsubscribe because there just weren’t any people left to kill.

    • Surgeon says:

      Both the European and US servers have been merged now into one, Gemini, which resides in the US.
      Pops are good around the clock as you get all the Werner players and US players picking up the action at different times.

  2. Lucas says:

    Sony MMO management does not have a good reputation. Every time I hear about Sony doing online PC games, I wonder why they don’t bring over the PS3′s Warhawk instead and sell a gazillion copies.

    Surveys can’t design games because they’re essentially popularity contests. I don’t need levels and grinding in my action games!

    I just bought Section 8 too.

  3. coupsan says:

    Planetside was an interesting game, but it didn’t really do it for me. That might have been because that was a few years ago and I was getting my ass kicked all over the place by more experienced players.

  4. bananaphone says:

    Plus I’m gonna beat them to it anyway.

    Derek Smart is doing comedy now?

  5. Surgeon says:

    There’s also this news, taken from PlanetSide Universe :

    http://www.planetside-universe.com/news-updated-planetside-2-in-the-works-2335.htm

    UPDATE: It appears that the domain http://www.planetside2.com was recently acquired and modified by SOE:

    Sony Online Entertainment, LLC.
    8928 Terman Court
    San Diego, CA 92121
    US
    858-577-3487 fax: 858-577-3200

    Record expires on 26-Nov-2010.
    Record created on 21-Sep-2009.

    This page originally contained a spoof website.

    UPDATE2:

    I was able to speak with John Smedley tonight CEO of Sony Online. While I could not get any specific information about the all-but-confirmed PlanetSide 2, I was able to get some Feedback on the Current PlanetSide:

    John Smedley: A new patch is coming. Were going to be fully Vista compliant among other things and bug fixes / anti-hacking work.

    John Smedley: PlanetSide fans will be happy We have big things planned in the next 12 months. Were working on something new thats really cool.

  6. Ubernutz says:

    I’m definitely going to try and contribute to Sony’s survery, but I would request that this article and all subsequent comments be forwarded to Sony. They might see something interesting.

  7. dsmart says:

    My guess is they’re going to do an expansion of sorts because Planetside2 is only going to end up being yet another five year multi-million dollar flop.

    There are lots of F2P fps shooters which rely on micro-transactions. Couple that with the likes of APB and God knows what else, I think Sony is beginning to think that now would be the time to up their game. Problem is they’re going to have a hard time competing with the current Planetside which – apart from being and looking aged – has gone the way of Tribes2 (you either like it or you don’t – and then it dies).

  8. fucrate says:

    If you ask me, Sony should NOT be asking the current Planetside fanbase how to make a PS2. Anyone still left in the game is gonna be a hardcore dedicated fan of the current game, you know, the one that failed to live up to any expectations and neatly side-stepped mass market appeal?

  9. Tei says:

    fucrate, PS is not widly popular and grownly because the graphics are outdated, and the game as not enough personal or guild progression. everything else make planetside the bestt MMO on internet.

  10. Wedge says:

    No dice rolling? Skill based combat? Custom player skillsets? Did people saying things like that ever play PS for more than five minutes? It has all that already. The gameplay is largely fine other than the mess indoors, which needs to be opened up or just thrown out entirely. The real fixes need to come in the management of the game world with handling population flux, focusing combat regions, and giving more tangible rewarding objectives to keep players hooked.

  11. Snuffles says:

    I have been saying for years now “Planetside Needs a Gard-damned Sequel.” Basically, Planetside was the single most amazing experience I’ve ever had in a Video Game. It was like playing BF1942, only with hundreds of people on either side. I liked the Three Faction dynamic; kept things interesting. We’d be stomping out the last pockets of TR resist on Continent A, and suddenly a base to the south would go all purple, and we’d have to pack it up and go down there to show the VS what was what. ;3

    -Snuffles

  12. Dominic White says:

    I’m going to be abolutely lynched for this, but something that would help the indoors gameplay a lot of partial regenerating shields and a third-person camera cover system.

    Now, before you rip my throat out, there’s logic here. Shields, if they only take up a small hit or two, wheras normal health would only recover very slowly or only via healing, would mean that skirmishing would be more important. It’d be more possible to hold a point, rather than attrition being such a big issue.

    A cover system with a camera that lets you peek around corners also puts a slight advantage in the hands of a defending force, as it should be. Attackers have to bombard and overwhelm.

    Both would encourage a more organized defensive angle, which in a game about attacking and capturing bases is a good thing.

    • Psychopomp says:

      That, and cover systems aren’t a bad idea in the first place >_>

      I find it funny that the same people who scream about “dumbing down for consoles,” are the same people that just want to run around in the open like Superman in all their shooters.

    • Larington says:

      I’m sorry to have to point this out, but “waiting for health to regen” is a much less interesting decision/game-mechanic than “Shall I risk putting my gun away to use the healing tool on myself for a moment, even though it means I’ll be temporarily defenceless”.
      Plus, I’d be actively against any kind of personal shield, its too obvious a choice for infantrymen and can be abused if you combine it with heavy assault, heavy armour and 3rd person camera as in the current Planetside.

    • Dominic White says:

      I’m not talking about making a shield the primary means of soaking up hurt, but having maybe 20hp (out of 100) being quickly recharging would take out a lot of the ‘lucky shot’ factor and help put more of an emphasis on sustained successful fire. It just means that if you can get clear of trouble within the first shot or two, you’re not weakened overall. Again, advantage to the defender. If you’ve got five defenders and five attackers, the defenders should logically win, as they’re the one in the fortified structure. As it is, there’s little to no benefit to being the defensive side in most shooters.

      Now, as players are meant to be cooperating, it would make sense to not have health regenerate passively at all, instead requiring (slow) self-healing or (faster) third-party aid.

      And yeah, a smart-cover button is only logical. There’s so many times that I’ve crouched down behind a wall in an FPS only to discover that while I can’t fire my gun over it, my head is delightfully exposed. Just having your character automatically squash down to the appropriate height or position to protect his extremeties is a huge perk.

      It’s a bit like the smart-move button that people complained about Brink having. Sure, you could navigate this knee-high obstacle and two tables through a complex series of crouching jumps, or you could have your character automatically navigate it because he’s supposed to be a goddamn trained soldier and thus able to navigate simple obstacles without trouble.

    • Andy says:

      The game already has personal shield and regenerative health implants.

      And the reason the defenders are at the disadvantage is partly because it takes too long to kill someone, but mainly because the crap layout of the bases. Those stairwells should have murder holes (those angled hole you can see in WW2 bunkers (look at Dod or WW2OL for examples)) that are only accessable from the lower levels, and the bunkers outside the walls should have tunnels that go straight into the main internals of the base (obviously the doors on them should be removed)

  13. Mark says:

    A general increase in the capabilities of any given item would be pretty neat. For instance: say you die, and you’re waiting to respawn. Let someone with medic powers come along and resuscitate you before you spawn, getting you back into the fight faster (albeit without full health and fresh gear) through teamwork, which everybody loves.

    • Andy says:

      Advance Medical certification already let you do this, as long as the corpse didn’t tap out and start respawning already.

  14. Shalrath says:

    It’s only slightly on topic, but every time I hear about Planetside getting a new game, I think of STALKER the MMO, which I would kill for.

  15. Hermit says:

    “And yeah, a smart-cover button is only logical. There’s so many times that I’ve crouched down behind a wall in an FPS only to discover that while I can’t fire my gun over it, my head is delightfully exposed. Just having your character automatically squash down to the appropriate height or position to protect his extremeties is a huge perk.”

    It doesn’t even need to be a button if it’s done right. Red Orchestra will alter your crouch height automatically (within a certain range, at any rate) to keep you in cover, and if you flip to Iron sights it’ll position your gun on top of whatever cover you’re in (So the minimum amount of you is exposed, and you get a nice increase to accuracy for having something stable to lean on while aiming).

    This way, you get all the benefits of a lock to cover system, without the need to actually lock a player to the wall artificially.

    • Dominic White says:

      I actually recall that Call Of Juarez: Bound in Blood had an auto-cover system. When you moved near an object like a crate, your character would crouch behind it so as to see over, and if you aimed up, away from any potential targets, you’d automatically sink down lower. Aim down again, and you pull yourself up. Worked around corners as well.

      Very intuitive. More games need to steal it.

  16. Ace says:

    If the sequel is an updated PlanetSide without a monthly fee, I am game.

  17. Rei Onryou says:

    SOE is going to have to do a lot to impress me, based on the way they support the current game. Still, this is good news at least.

  18. Cooper says:

    It needs more involvement of the players in the game world.

    I really enjoyed my time with PS, but always felt the constant push and pull was a bit boring after a while.

    If players could adapt bases more heavily in design and what they produce/enable, and even choose sites for outposts (and be able to destroy opponents outposts) we’d see a more dynamic world which would be more interesting.

    As for mission structures. I’d like to see something which allows commanders to issue missions. Not the QuakeWars:ET where they’re generated for you by the AI (albeit linked to the action) but for the player commanders to be able to issue various scales for missions which squads of various abilities and sizes can claim and go ahead to try and complete.

  19. State says:

    PlanetSide with a modern engine and payment options beyond just credit cards and I'm sold. I only ever played as a PS Reserve, but it was the most fun I've ever had on an MMO.

  20. Darthey says:

    “If you ask me, Sony should NOT be asking the current Planetside fanbase how to make a PS2. Anyone still left in the game is gonna be a hardcore dedicated fan of the current game, you know, the one that failed to live up to any expectations and neatly side-stepped mass market appeal?”

    Because pissing off your hardcore fans is always a good way to launch a sequel. ><

    I'm glad they're going to attempt this, but I remain cautious that anything they produce isn't going to be what I'm after. SOE never did quite seem to understand what made Planetside great….

    • Larington says:

      I dunno, theres a certain amount of question as to which group the devs should be trying to appeal to, the 20 thousand or so folks who were still with the game at last count, or the 200 thousand that were around at launch who *may* have been scared away by subsequent development that moved away from teamplay elements (The days when the mosquito’s machine gun wasn’t extremely accurate are now a sweet memory for me).

  21. Stromko says:

    They didn’t just ask their hardcore fans. I haven’t been subscribed to Planetside for several years, at least, and I got the email for the survey. I was never subscribed to it for longer than a month at a time, so I was never all that dedicated, either.

    The original Planetside got rather tedious and monotonous, if they can fix that they’d at least have a chance of a good sequel. Actually, during the beta Planetside was already a bit less tedious. Bases anywhere on the map could be hacked and eventually taken, not just bases most adjacent to allied bases.

    When they put that ‘fix’ in to stop people from taking any base, it created regimented front-lines on every battlefield, and little reason to be behind your own lines or the enemy’s lines. In other words, zerging 24/7 was just about the only way to fight.

    Not to say it was the only way to fight, you could still ninja-hack towers anywhere on the map, and done well and done enough this could actually turn the tide .. but nobody wanted to do this because all the glory was in taking bases, not towers. There was no reason on the open battlefields for there to be small-scaled squad battles, not unless the island you were fighting on was all-but-deserted. Since people with high-Command Rank could broadcast messages server-wide to their side, and people made Command Rank by taking lots and lots of bases … they could arrange to zerg continents as much as possible, and meanwhile the enemy commanders would be zerging an entirely different continent.

    Individual and squad-based combat made little difference then, it was just zerg 24/7. Zerg at first is fun, big battles are fun at first, but it got monotonous and boring knowing that one soldier or one squad could not turn the tide in any given mass battle.

  22. Darthey says:

    I could right an essay on what Planetside got wrong (and what it got right), but coming from a teamwork-orientated group (Renegade Legion, Werner) the thing that annoyed me the most was the way the game rewarded character advancement by making you more independent from your fellow soldiers. It lead to an end-game where the top outfits, Soul Reapers, Mercs and FaNG, were all Mossie pilots with killwhore loadouts. A lot of people have fond memories of the games first few weeks, as the limited certs caused people to work together. These days the standard unit is the swiss-army-Rexo, complete with AI, AV, med and repair glue, completely independent from the guy standing next to him. That gave rise to ‘the zerg’, a group of individuals rather then a team.

    But if you want to talk about Planetsides demise? I’d focus on three points; the badly implemented ‘Core Combat’ expansion, the mess the Battlefield Robotics made of the gameplay, and the lack of anything conclusive in the persistent world and the completely lack of marketing.

    But surprisingly after that massive drop in players the game moved into a steady decline (with the occasional reverse), and still has enough players to be fun today, years after people thought it would be dead.

  23. FRIENDLYUNIT says:

    Well I just read this… and yep, I think I peed a little.

  24. Rat says:

    They didn’t just ask current players; I’ve been unsubbed for a couple of years and was invited to participate in the survery.

  25. spm1138 says:

    Game already has 3pv and I think it encourages a lot of camping. I’d quite happily see it removed in favour of better audio.

    Health regen is a terrrrrible idea. People already sit and spam far too much. It results in very boring fights.

    A smart cover system would be nice however as you often are at just the right height to have your gun clip into cover.

  26. ToXeye says:

    I think they need to alternate the current system if they want to augment the gameplay, by the following points:
    #1: One would want to gather people without making the game smaller -> Put rewards that randomly appear on the map in order to gather for a battle about it. And not just the underground stuff that evidently only dilutes the existing player base and hides a lot of the action where very few can watch it.
    #2: The BFRs have also been a grave disappointment, at least what I have heard from more enduring Planetside players -> For once, why can’t these seriously problematic items at least be hard to requisition? The lure of money put a leash around its on neck when it discriminated traditional FPS gaming and dominated it with less intriguing BRF combat…
    #3: Perhaps, combine #1 and #2 in order to reduce the density of fun-killers in a dynamic way.
    #4: Do not discriminate players, their way of playing, etc, with expansions. How is that done? Simple: You could easily add vehicles that require a lot more than just ten players to pilot without ruining the balance of the game. Instead of expanding the game with mechs, expand with super-heavy tanks. Because mechs only require one pilot and are extremely unlikely to encounter in a world that is eternally hung up in a state of attrition and war about resources (which we have hidden in our imagination but nonetheless are the source of all these imaginary gadgets that we shoot each other with). Simply put: BRF tech seems so unlikely in a world where you still need a pilot to fly an aeroplane.
    #5: Do it in the past time. Because you can’t change history. Too late, is what I say. Perhaps I am merely full of rant, but the following words hold true: “ww2 simulator in space”. There. That’s it. Nothing seems as futuristic as a wheeled car that has hoovering coffee mugs but can’t hoover itself. I know, the ironies in above lines are not easy to swallow. Just lick them. I can give a concrete example: The setting is more dear to a human if the human-cyber-ratio is greater than 1.00 The most intriguing sci-fi is about a human’s relation to technology, not about technology that does not require us. The mechs should crash and burn as soon as they are hit by an EMP-grenade. They are too high-tech to survive tech itself.

    • ToXeye says:

      BTW, in #5, the reason why it is hard to understand is that when i refer to the past time, i refer to the fact that the Aftershock expansion does not lie in the future. It is not a sarcasm, but I wanted to point out that perhaps my opinions would have been better back then than they are now.
      BTW, on #5: I played during open beta and trials, and never actually paid for a long-term subscription of the game. I experienced the infantry – tank – air game style that draws most inspiration from well tried and documented game recipes. That is why it worked so well. The pioneering that was the expansions, that were an economical flirt with the customers, made me feel that planetside had economical herpes. I do not know if planetside really had gameplay-herpes or not, because I didn’t play for that long. I played what I believe was its highlights, and I still miss them. And I heard how my favourite spots had been blurred out. To admit it, artillery is nice and all that… but the problem was that the caves were off-limit and thus stole a big munch the muffin, or the scene, that is the battlefield.

      I apologize for any poetry or otherwise illigible rant that I poast… post (look at that typo… poast) on this board. I am still proud of having played the awesome game that is planetside.

  27. ToXeye says:

    Oh… when I wrote this, I was fired up on how I experienced Planetside when there were “200k” rather than “20k” players. Reading all your comments, although I did believe that I could do that reciprocally, has revealed some more literate answers on behalf of others. I wanted to show that the fluff that makes tech ruin itself isn’t so hard to find, just invent a weapon that counters the individual whose pride is too great (such as the BFR) or increase the power of existing weapons to the same effect. I think, reading even more comments, that Sony did reduce the power of individualistic vehicles at points. I just wasn’t there.

  28. Lysle says:

    Great :D Loved the suggestions for the game, I wish I had copy and pasted them into my form when I filled that thing out.

  29. Parakeet says:

    Lol borrow what from mw2? One of the worst fps’s made in recent years. If they want to borrow something it should be from bc2, it does everything that mw2 does except it does it better.

  30. Mark says:

    It wasnt the fees at all. I pay more a month for World of Warcraft. BFR’s = Planetside’s demise. The Caves even made more sense then the BFR’s intro to the game. They were an overpowered machine that took away from the actuall field of battle feel. It was nothing but an EGGO MACHINE. Both for the creators and all the whimps that used em. That is my opinion. I had played since the beggining. It was always fun until then. Good thing Warcraft was out too. I left along with many other very good players. Even though the BFR’s were nerfed in time, that time was to late. A Planentside 2 and the right enviorments. I would leave Warcraft in a heartbeat. Nothing better then blowing up another player rather thenan NPC. Alot of my friends say the same thing :) So do it SONY, and do it right Sony and you will have your game back I think. Even water battles could be an idea. Quest Missions with rewards, like weapon upgrades and such.

  31. W1ndex says:

    When PS first came out it was amazing – for the first couple years it was great too. It eventually became a complete mess. The actual good ideas like keeping things ‘classic’ were ignored for the more flamboyant changes like Big Fckin Robots. It was great due to the flexibility you had to play however you liked. Avoid the big battle or drive the spearhead. Support or pound away at the enemy. I firmly believe whatever else happens with this franchise it will be screwed up and nothing like what the original was…

    At least I have my memories of 5 man resecures in a massive nme force when they were bored from sitting idle for 14 minutes of the 15min hack. Or flying a liberator over a congested bridge and watching kill spam… or using the liberator when it was first released as a gunship and dogfighting other aircraft successfully. Being the lone agile armor wearer clearing out a tower yourself killing 10+ and finally when the help arrives they say ‘omg you killed them all?’

    You had the right idea – poor hardware/software but the gameplay and style were spot on. It was ruined later on as those first 2 problems were overlooked while the gameplay and unique style was compromised.

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