MMORPG.com: What are some of the broader adjustments you had to make in order to bring a large-scale PC MMOFPS like PlanetSide 2 to the PS4?
Luke Sigmund: PlanetSide 2 has many layers of gameplay and players have to be able to navigate through them quickly and intuitively. So, a solid amount of our time has been spent on modifying the User Interface and controls to be optimized with the PlayStation 4 DualShock 4 controller to ensure that the game feels like a solid console shooter.
MMORPG.com: Can you talk about some of the new content you have in the works for PlanetSide 2? Is there anything coming that is specifically geared for the PS4 version?
Luke Sigmund: Every feature we develop is intended to fulfill a need in the game regardless of platform, but we have prioritized features that help out new players because of the upcoming release on the PlayStation 4.
The most notable feature is Koltyr, our new player continent. It serves the dual purpose of giving players a smaller, more controlled gameplay space in which to learn with other new players and letting us utilize the PlayStation 4’s PlayGo download system to get players in game without having to wait for the other continents to download.
MMORPG.com: What are some of the differences in the way console players consume content in a game like PlanetSide 2? How have these differences impacted the way you develop content for the PS4 audience?
Luke Sigmund: PlanetSide 2 is a highly social game, and one of the biggest differences between the PC and PS4 versions is in the methods players have to engage and organize with one another. On the PC, we have text chat and can rely on that for players to organize squads and platoons. On the console, we are relying on voice chat, so getting a squad going can be more challenging unless you're standing near each other. So, we've taken steps to get players in squads easier by doing things like turning on auto-squading by default. This allows players to quickly be grouped up and ready to go without having to do upfront communication. We’re also working on ways for people to easily communicate to their platoons. Platoons are groupings of squads and can get up to 48 players; that's a lot of people to have in a voice chat channel, so we are working through different options to make it less overwhelming.
MMORPG.com: What are your key priorities for the PS4 version's development from beta through launch? What are you looking to tackle in the first few months out of the gate?
Luke Sigmund: Our biggest priorities are optimization and console usability. We want to make sure players get the best experience possible at launch, which means the game has to run well, be intuitive and work natively with a controller. We also recognize that the game can be daunting for new players, so we are also focusing on accessibility and easing the learning curve without losing any of the game’s depth.
Our top goal in the first few months post release will be responding to player feedback, adjusting the game based on their responses and fixing bugs. Our Beta has been going really well, but there is no substitute for a live environment. Further out, we have plans for new features that have been filtering out to our Roadmap.
MMORPG.com: How do you plan on leveraging the power of Player Studio on the PS4?
Luke Sigmund: Players have shown tremendous interest in Player Studio and the program has been a huge success in PlanetSide 2. With the PlayStation 4 version also supporting Player Studio, creators will have even more reach and visibility. Not only will their creations reach a new audience, but because of the way we’ve decided to rollout content – items will be released in a metered fashion – their creations will be better highlighted and spend more time in the spotlight.