Phew/Boo: Planetside Next Is Alive/Delayed

By Alec Meer on April 4th, 2011 at 9:24 am.

One day you will drive this tank. One day. But not today.

Bad, sad times hit Sony Online Entertainment last week, with the revelation that the MMO division is closing three studios, laying off a third of its staff and summarily executing planned spy game The Agency. This all sucks – hope everyone affected finds safe harbour very soon.

So what does this mean for the game we’ve waited our whole lives* for, the sequel to massively multiplayer manshoot Planetside?

Well, SOE boss/talky-man John Smedley claims Planetside Next has survived the cull, but has been pushed back a bit. Despite this, it’s going to get “more resources” to “make it great”, he told Planetside Universe.

Let’s hope so. I suppose it’s better this than rush it out in a wobbly state to try and ensure quick revenues for the ailing Sony wing, but it’s hard not to worry this could be the first in a series of delays until we all quietly forget. The dude sounds positive, though.

Also apparently benefitting from the cull that cost 205 people their jobs is the Everquest franchise, which is due to see a new MMO in the not-too-distant. A ‘reboot’ described as being more colourful (that means more Warcrafty, right?) than its predecessors, Everquest Next joins Planetside Next in getting the lion’s share of SOE’s remaining attention.

* Well, about seven years. Feels like a lifetime though, eh?

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27 Comments »

  1. ChaosSmurf says:

    A new Everquest game? Clearly you’ve learned your lesson, SOE. I’m sure this one won’t lead to financial ruin.

  2. Heliocentric says:

    Eh, its coming, shame about the agency, but everything i saw about it looked duff anyway.

    Planetside 2 has a chance of being an MMO I’d actually subscribe to if its good enough.

  3. Rei Onryou says:

    This is really a shame since there was supposed to have been a beta early this year. :(

    I would 110% subscribe to PS2 if it captured what made Planetside great and fixed up the shooting mechanics (client-side hit detection is not a good thing). RPS would reignite the blog wars!

  4. clownst0pper says:

    Surely its more financially viable to continue and take a game to completion than pay off all the staff and write off all you’ve spent so far?

    • bob_d says:

      Considering marketing costs can equal or exceed the game’s development budget, there was probably a lot of money left to spend on these games before they were released.

    • Capon says:

      @clownst0pper

      Those previous costs are sunk costs. Any clear minded business-y folk will NOT factor sunk costs into any pricy venture.

      The main reason to forget those costs is becuase it is the marginal revenue vs. marginal costs equation you got keep an eye on. Doesn’t matter if SOE spent $100 million quid on writers, programmers, and corn chips; it does matter if City-of-Heroes-With-DC-Universe-Clothing’s expansion will earn enough dosh to cover the next month’s rent.

    • 12kill4 says:

      I wonder if the can/would salvage any investment costs by selling off The Agency as-is to another dev… I’ve been hearing about that game for years now and it did kind of seem cool when it was featured in a PC Powerplay (Australian PC Gaming mag…) a while back… kinda like guild wars + spies….

  5. MajorManiac says:

    I never got around to playing the original (fast internet was just a wild dream back then). So I’m a little niave when it comes to its gameplay.

    So my question is, with online games like Battlefield (insert preferd title) and ARMA 2, what can Planetside 2 offer that they don’t?

    • Orija says:

      Gazillions of players, gazillions of players everywhere. 32 vs 32 is nothing.

    • Springy says:

      It’s the persistent world that makes it for me. Rather than being dropped in a specific environment and told, “go kill these guys and win the day,” you’re a soldier on a gigantic world, where the players decide what part of it they want to bleed all over today.

      This also made it far easier for people to find comrades-in-arms, because when it takes hours to jog from one side of a continent to another you tend to be nice to people who own their own dropship.

      Log on, plan an attack, suit up and get in your assorted vehicles, roll out and then watch it all unravel in the most entertaining way possible.

    • CMaster says:

      Thing is, to me it wasn’t a persistent enough world. It never bore any real scars from all the fighting and by the time you next logged in, all the work you’d done last time would almost certainly be undone again twice over. The fact that it was a wide open world however, did always mean that if you didn’t like the fight where you were, you could take off and start another one somewhere else.

    • Springy says:

      That is true, it lacked any real repercussions from your exploits. Not entirely sure how that can be corrected in any meaningful way, though.

      And, despite the lovely varied continents, it would be nice to fight over more than the same five concrete bases all the bloody time. Maybe a few rubble-strewn cities? Anything but more Core Caverns, frankly.

    • MajorManiac says:

      @ Springy:

      I like the idea of a persistant world to fight over, were you can move from one fight to another on the same large map. This is why I like “Capture The Island” mode in ARMA 2.

      In this style of free-form game missions are created naturally. One moment you can be a pilot bombing tanks, the next you’re trapped behind enemy lines fighting for your life whilst trying to capture a base.

    • Quine says:

      It would be great if they could manage to keep some form of rolling frontline similar to the matrix setup of the original, but make more out of the logistics side beyond Ant supply runs and tech base stuff. Taking a squad out behind enemy lines to ambush a load of support trucks and their escort would be awesome fun.

      While the large scraps were awesome to behold and usually a lot of fun, some of the best moments I had in the game were the small-scale fights to hold a control room against a couple of squads.

    • Synchrony says:

      Planetside’s record players online at once on a single server was around 3600, imagine battlefield in a massive persistent world, on a 1200v1200v1200 instead of 36v36, but where one person in the right place at the right time can still make all the difference.
      It was fairly common to see 10′s of dropships, each carrying 15 people plus a light vehicle, surrounded by a mixture of scout and combat aircraft flying towards you while columns of heavy tanks with various support vehicles and a swarm of infantry in apc’s roll towards your gates.
      It also included logistics, which were very well done, in that you had to keep your bases supplied with power, and keep spawn point vehicles available for your troops both of which were quite fragile and very important to protect.
      There were also loads of tactical approaches you could take to winning, do you assault head on, or send in stealthers to attempt to disable base defences, or sneak behind their lines to take out the generators/vehicle spawns at their supporting bases, do you perform a feint on continent x while arranging your real assault on continent y etc etc

    • Sobric says:

      The continental pop-cap was somewhere between 150 and 170 per Empire. In it’s heyday you could easily have all 3 empires fully locking a continent and fighting over 1 base. That’s at least 450 people fighting around 1 base. That’s pretty much why PS is so fondly remembered.

    • MajorManiac says:

      Wow. I never realised it could be so epic. I personally dislike the idea of paying a monthly fee, but will definately give this a go if they do a free trial.

  6. Everyone says:

    Given how shittily SoE treat their customers this news isn’t really all that surprising. It’s a shame, I have very happy memories of EQ1 but I could never bring myself to play EQ2.

  7. Dominic White says:

    The worst news here, which nobody seems to be reporting, is that SoE Tuscon (formerly known as Octopi Inc), the developers of the CCG/TBS hybrid Poxnora were one of the groups that got the axe. That game was genuinely good, doing well, constantly expanded, had a solid (and growing) playerbase, just went semi-F2P to make it more accessible for newcomers.

    Nobody knows what’s happening with it now, though.

  8. Njordsk says:

    EQ3 really?

    I’d like that. i like EQ “maturity”.

  9. Foo says:

    Surely the killer move for SoE this time around would be a compatible client release on both PC and PS3. With the advances in internet connectivity and current parity in releases between consoles and PCs, plus Planetsides ‘FPS but not all twitch’ gameplay, this has gotta be the way they go with this.

    For the sake of epic thousand-player battles that last all evening, I really hope so. Planetside just didn’t work without the critical mass and adding console gamers into the mix would provide that.

  10. DarkFenix says:

    Console gamers would also provide the incentive for a horrible dumbed down game (read: auto-aim and over-condensed controls).

    That said, PS2 is an insta-subscribe for me. I got into PS1 late but loved every minute of it until the population died. I hope it doesn’t get another delay, but I expect it will.

  11. edrick says:

    We’ve known about EQ Next for at least 2 years now. Unlike some companies, SoE tends not to put up websites for games that are not even close to beta yet… SWTOR, cough.

  12. ScubaMonster says:

    I’m all for a new EverQuest if it went back more to its roots, and not more towards WoW. Unfortunately, I seriously doubt that will ever happen.

  13. Torgen says:

    (Obligatory “WWII Online” reply when massive, persistent battles are wished for.)

    @Foo: Sony is already doing the “PS3 and PC in the same world” thing with DCUO. It would lead to nothing but fail in a shooter game though. There’s no way control pad can match mouse + keyboard.

    • Chufty says:

      Don’t laugh but…

      I sometimes play pseudo-massive FPS game MAG on Sony’s toy. I do okay until I come across someone who’s using Move. They are unbeatable. Same in Killzone 3.

      Move vs mouse+keyboard will be a bit more fair. And as someone said, PlanetSide is not necessarily about the twitch anyway.

  14. The Pink Ninja says:

    Playing with the RPS outfit in Planetside 2 is one of the things I’m most looking forward to in gaming.

    Please, don’t ruin my dream SOE :(