MMORPG.com: For those of us who may have been away for a while, could you get us up to speed on some of the major additions or improvements to PlanetSide 2 over the course of 2014?
Matt Higby: In the last year we’ve focused on solidifying our core gameplay, things like population balancing, XP rewards, and combat balance between air, ground and infantry gameplay. In terms of the moment-to-moment gameplay, I believe PlanetSide 2 is in the best place it has ever been. We’ve also been hard at work adding new content such as the revamp for the Amerish continent and the release of the new continent, Hossin. We’ve added quite a bit of systems -- outfit recruitment, outfit base capture, continent locking, implants and directives are all brand new game systems that have enhanced the game in its second year.
MMORPG.com: What is the focus of PlanetSide 2's December update?
Matt Higby: As with any update towards the end of the year, our focus is going to be more on stability/bug fixes, quality of life improvements and event content. We also have a few content additions that I’m excited about in December – the auto-turret deployables for Engineers are coming, a new holiday event and some expansion of our implants system.
MMORPG.com: What's going on with tier 4 and 5 implants? It was recently announced that you guys have made some changes to your plans on these.
Matt Higby: We’ve carefully watched the system since its introduction earlier this year and we think it has some room for improvement. We’re going to be adding Tier 4 implants in the December update, and at the same time we’re going to balance out the functionality of the implants across the tiers and retune some others. Similar to the other tiers, Tier 4 will be a minor upgrade, or in some cases, will cost less energy than their lower tier counterparts. With Tier 5, we are going to open up combination implants with hybrid functionality using two Tier 4 implants. These Tier 5 implants will be coming in a subsequent update which is still TBD.
MMORPG.com: Where are things at right now with the PlayStation 4 version of the game?
Matt Higby: We’re closing in on our first round of external beta right now. We’ve been working really hard on optimization and getting the controls and UI into a gamepad-friendly state. The next time players will have a chance to check out PS2 on PS4 will be at the PlayStation Experience event on Dec 6-7th in Las Vegas; we’ll have more details on our beta there.
MMORPG.com: What is the state of performance optimization right now? I understand this has been a sticking issue for the game for some time.
Matt Higby: We’re always working on issues related to performance; we have coders exclusively assigned to it on a more-or-less permanent basis. While we end up having issues like system specific hitching and framerate loss periodically, overall, the game is in a pretty solid state. With a game this complex, any additions or changes have the potential to cause new issues, so around game updates we have to be extra vigilant in checking user reports. And that’s why we have a full-time optimization and performance tuning team!
MMORPG.com: Finally, can you talk about some of the key additions or changes you have planned for 2015? What can players look forward to in the New Year?
Matt Higby: Now that we have the moment-to-moment gameplay in a really solid place we’re able to spend more time on adding new content, gameplay enhancements and systems. I’m really looking forward to working on some new game systems that will add strategic value and meaning to locations in the world. Enhanced base benefits, resources and base defense customization for Outfit-owned bases are just a few of the things I want us to hit early next year.