Matt Higby Interview: Planetside 2's journey to the PS4
Planetside 2 is already one of the biggest shooters on PC. Impressed by Battlefield 4's 64 player maps? Planetside 2 can support up to 2000 players at once on a massive 64 squared kilometer map. It's combat in the grandest way possible.
Since its debut a year ago, Planetside 2 has graced the PC and has even joined Steam. In that year, the game has gone through some gameplay refinement and optimization. Speaking with Matt Higby, Planetside 2's Creative Director, I was told the game has been put through a massive optimization that now makes the game from anywhere from 50% to a 100% faster, which is no easy feat.
Aside from optimizing the game to run as smoothly as possible, the team also added new vehicles, weapons and changed up the way combat works. My lack of experience in Planetside 2 when playing about 6 months ago really made me appreciate the fact that the game now helps new players ease into the game.
When I first played Planetside 2, I was completely lost. I had a gun in hand and no direction in sight. Should I run to the base in front of me? Should I split off and take over a smaller base? Should I join a squad? It was a nightmare. Matt acknowledged the fact that many players actually leave Planetside 2 because of this fact. That's why they implemented a much needed tutorial system. Now players are introduced to the game's core mechanics instead of finding things out on their own, or hoping for a player nice enough to show them the ropes.
The team is taking that player direction even further with the inclusion of Missions and Directives. Both of these will indirectly guide players to perform tasks, giving them purpose on the battlefield. Directives are more player focused. The best part is that these Directives scale based on how far you've progressed on your character. Some early Directives task you with getting 10 kills with a shotgun, while some later Directives will ask you to take over every single base in the game. The point here is that you're always working toward a goal, no matter how small or how big.
While Directives are focused on personal player progression, Missions are more team and squad focused. Completing these contribute to a much wider player base. These missions will task players with close and immediate objectives. If your base is being attacked for example, one of your missions could be to take out at least 10 attacking vehicles. On the flipside, you could be tasked with helping to take over an enemy base with your Squad.
With the impending release of the PS4 version, I wanted to know what sort of changes or additions players can expect. "The PS4 version will be nearly identical to the PC version, with the exception of the User Interface," Matt stated, which is sure to please console players. When asked about the game's graphical settings, Matt stated "If you turned up your PC version to Ultra, that's how it's going to look on PS4."
Of course there are some more PS4 specific features coming as well. The DualShock 4's touchpad will be integrated into the User Interface, which will make menu navigation more seamless and definitely more PC-like. The game will also support Remote Play right at launch, so those that like to use the PS Vita as your main screen while your significant other watches the next episode of Modern Family can get excited about this.
Outside of these platform specific features, the gameplay and core concepts will remain completely identical to the PC version, which is a great thing if you're planning on switching over once the game releases. However, it is important to note that you won't be able to use your Station ID on the PS4, meaning your progress won't carry over. The servers also won't be cross-platform compatible, which Matt said wasn't because it would be technologically impossible, but because the PS4 version's requirement for a QA team to approve updates and patches would hold back the PC version. And hey, if you don't have a PS Plus account (which to me is criminal given how much free stuff you get each month) you can still play Planetside 2 regardless. The team wanted to make sure that the game's Free-to-Play messaging stays true.
With around 6 million registrations worldwide and more coming once the PS4 version comes out, Planetside 2 is showing no signs of stopping. You can follow the development of the game, including many of its new additions and the progress on PS4 version right here.