Sony Online Entertainment's upcoming MMO/FPS hybrid, Planetside 2 is set to go insane on 'map' sizes (can we even call them maps now?). Planetside 2 is said to take a "Halo-esque" spin on its sci-fi universe, where it aims to combine the persistent world of an MMO, with the visceral, responsive mechanics of a first-person shooter. Planetside 2's creative director, Matt Higby talked about the staggering size of the new battlefields:
"We have enormous, enormous gameplay space," says Higby. Planetside 2's settings which are based on continents on the planet Auraxis, measure an insane eight kilometers square, with weapons capable of firing a full kilometer in distance. Higby continues saying "One of our largest development efforts on this project has been hand crafting every single area of those eight-by-eight kilometer continents".
In these eight-by-eight kilometer environments, three factions duke it out: The Terran Republic, The New Conglomerate and The Vanu Sovereignty. The battles are set to be epic, with Higby stating that "you're going to be fighting in battles sometimes when it's 200 people fighting against 30 people, because there's only 30 people defending that base and then suddenly 200 people log in from teh other ground and go do it".
The battles are set to get a little more realistic than the "spawn, run and die" of games like Call of Duty, where Higby says the key to making these battles even lies in the way the tactics of the game are designed. He uses an example of the American Revolution, using guerrilla tactics to defeat a larger, more powerful force.
If you use the right tactics and you do things the right way you can still have fun and enjoy yourself as a group of 20 people defending against an onslaught. But that's something we have to take into account when we do our level design, so we've been spending a lot of time whiteboxing bases, figuring out what we want specific areas to look like.
During a demonstration with PC Gamer, Higby showed them around one of Planetside 2's "facilities", a city-like structure where combat takes place in individual "courtyards". Higby showed PC Gamer one of those spaces, where he said "Just this area back here, this is the size of a Modern Warfare level", in a casual tone.
I'm now officially wanting Planetside 2 about 100 times more than I did 30 seconds ago.