PlanetSide 2's Hossin released, but not fully finished
As you're probably aware by now, PlanetSide 2's massive Hossin update went live yesterday even though its biggest feature, the new continent of Hossin, isn't fully finished yet. Despite the two years of development that it has already taken, SOE reckons that just about 50 percent of the continent is fully finished. So what's the deal? Last week, in case you missed it, creative director Matt Higby gave us a more in-depth explanation of the development process and why Hossin was released unfinished.
"Along the way, we've figured out that creating a "good" outpost in Planetside 2 takes about 2-3 weeks of level design, art playtesting and iteration time minimally, per outpost. Multiply that by 80 or so, and you'll get a good idea of how much work is required for a high-quality continent," Higby explained.
"There isn't any other way to say it except to say that Hossin is not finished. If we wanted to "finish" Hossin without sacrificing the quality level we've established, it would probably be 3 months before it was ready to go live - we don't want to wait that long, and we don't think you want to either."
As of last week, 50 percent of the bases on Hossin are completely finished -- "'done' to the point that we're completely satisfied with the quality of the level design and visuals," Higby said. About 25 percent of the bases are "first pass" while another 25 percent are "more or less staging areas, or stamped bases, identical to each other - this is an outpost we know works well, so we've put them in as placeholders."
"We expect these bases to function correctly, provide all the necessary utilities to make the game work - they're just not 100 [percent] up to our standards of level design quality quite yet - essentially they feel more like the bases on Indar than the bases on Amerish. Over the next few months, the level design and environment art team is going to continue to iterate the bases on Hossin and every couple weeks you'll see more and more of the continent getting completed and patched to live. In the meantime we're considering Hossin to be a beta, or Early Expedition continent. The continent will be fully functional, but the content is not 100 [percent] complete. Of course during this time we'll be especially interested in hearing feedback, suggestions and bug reports on the continent."
SOE embraced this Early Expedition approach, in part, because "we know that we won't really discover what works and doesn't work in the continent until it's live," according to Higby. "We've had to go back and redo a lot in our other continents once they were exposed to the masses and we expect Hossin will be similar."
While Hossin might be the biggest single feature in yesterday's update, there's also a ton of other new features including Continent Locking and new Outfit functionality. You can read the full patch notes here.