We had a chance to listen to Matt Higby and Tramell Isaac expound on some of what they’ve been working on over the last couple months with PlanetSide 2, and what we should expect to see in the next several months with the game. When they led with new loading screen art, I started to get worried. Needlessly, as it turns out.
Matt began by discussing the relatively recent additions of Hossin, the ability to lock continents, base captures being credited to outfits and the associated banners reflecting it, and how the game has really taken steps towards the strategic elements fans have been asking for. They’ve also undergone some UI and gameplay redesign that they believe has made the game more accessible for new players.
Then, because Higby doesn’t believe in a warm up, he launched right into the big news. He announced the Valkyrie, a small gunship-come-transport that’s just made it into the test server in the last couple days. With a pilot, gunner, and two passengers, the newest air vehicle to hit testing promises some pretty exciting opportunities for the battlefield. The dedicated gunner has access to a gun turret in the nose with a full range of motion, giving the new craft the ability to perform much like a small gunship.
The two rumble-seats located behind the cockpit also afford passengers the full use of any weapons they’re carrying. I can already imagine the various anti-armor, anti-air, and anti-personnel opportunities the configuration provides. While the new vehicle has a lower top speed than most of the other aircraft in the game, it finds balance with an increased maneuverability.
Matt also pointed out that they have a huge emphasis on team-play in PlanetSide 2, so that’s why they’re doing more to encourage new players to join squads and outfits. To accomplish that, they’re rolling out a new mentorship program. The idea is that as lower battle rank players level up and get rank, squad and platoon leaders get ribbons for mentoring those new players.
A little beyond those new updates, the mission system should be getting some love. The basic attack and defend options available now will be expanded with new options for where to attack from, or waypoints to attack through. Higby also points out that they’d love to get to the point where attack and defend orders can be given down to very specific objectives and positions within the area, such as taking out a specific vehicle.
Battle islands have been an increasingly requested improvement from within the community, as an opportunity to create smaller, possibly outfit verses outfit, battles. The PlanetSide 2 team has also been working on these new additions to available battlefields. Matt says that they also hope to use the new islands to create some new gameplay options, maybe even something similar to the old ANT runs from the original PlanetSide. Tramell adds that they’re looking at some options to diversify the terrain with things like cityscapes. Luckily, I didn’t hear a thing about anything sounding like caves or caverns, so you can breathe a little more easily now.
Matt and Tramell also mentioned that empire-specific buggies could be out as early as this year. With the list of empire-specific vehicles being fairly short right now, the new buggies would be a great addition to the game. Besides, one of my favorite parts of the first game was the fast running battles the lighter vehicles sometimes created, so I’m really excited to see buggies finally making an appearance in the game.
Of course, no talk would be complete without some discussion of PlanetSide 2 on the PS4. According to Matt, they’ve done a whole lot of work on the interface, work which has also had some impact back on the PC version of the game. If you’re playing on the test server, chances are you have already played against some of the devs playing the PS4 version.
While PS4 and PC players will see each other on the test server, Tramell says they won’t be on live servers. Part of the reason you won’t see PS4 and PC players on the same live servers is because updates for the two versions won’t be completely in sync, and Matt’s quick to point out that the delay is only because of some additional quality control requirements with the PS4 version. The other reason to keep them separate is because of things like aim-assist existing on the PS4 version of the game.
PlanetSide 2 fans should be pretty happy over the next several months, I think. There are some really cool new vehicles in the pipe, and the new battle islands should had some seriously interesting new dynamics to the game. The PS4 development for the game seems to be progressing well and should be completed by the end of the year. All of that suggests that this should be a good year for PlanetSide 2.