The lights are on
Some PlanetSide 2 players are having a very happy holiday. Yesterday, we spoke with the game’s senior art director Tramell Isaac. During our conversation, we spoke about where the game is going and what players can expect from the PlayStation 4 version due in 2014.
For those that don’t know, PlanetSide 2 features massive battles across its landscapes. I joked with Isaac that “massive” seems to mean different things to different developers. “It’s a different experience than most console gamers are used to,” he says. “You don’t have a set map that you’ve run a million times where you know all the angles. That’s what makes PlanetSide 2 that much harder.”
PlanetSide 2 features three maps, but they are so massive that it would take you hours to cross one going from base to base and battle to battle. The combat is persistent, so if you log back in after some hours away, you could see your faction pushing ahead or rocked back on its heels. Regardless, unless one team has been victorious, it’s the same war you left when you last logged out.
PlanetSide 2 is free-to-play, and will be available without a PlayStation Plus membership. However, Sony Online Entertainment expects there will be an option membership plan, just like on PC.
Membership includes a number of boosts, including resource gain, experience gain, automatic daily in-game currency bonuses that ramp up the longer you’ve been a member, additional character slots, and 500 Station Cash (SOE’s real money currency) each month. Membership also gets you early access to in-game weapon purchases.
Isaac stresses that all of the weapons in the shop can be purchased with Station Cash or in-game currency. Additionally, there are a variety of cosmetic items, camouflages, and decals that can be purchased to personalize the experience.
The process is very interactive, and the forums are a back-and-forth of concept and constructive criticism among peers. Isaac visits and comments on works in progress to help aspiring designers refine their work. Those who are successful are added to the shop where other PlanetSide 2 players can purchase.
“Currently, we allow people to make camos, cockpit decals, helmets, and hood ornaments,” Isaac explains. “Pretty soon, that’s going to grow to include vehicle cosmetics.” The best part for the designers is that there is real money to be made in the Player Studio.
“After our expenses are recuperated, player creators get 40 percent of proceeds,” Isaac says. “We’ve already had one round of checks go out. One kid walked away with $8,000, and he only made a couple of items. There’s a couple of others in that same cohort making $5,000, and they’ll likely be making another $5,000 or $6,000 in the next quarter when we pay out.”
When the PlayStation 4 version of PlanetSide 2 arrives, the Player Studio items will be available to a brand new audience. It’s likely that creators that have items in the shop will see their quarterly revenues grow even more.
New PlanetSide 2 items are released every week, and this includes new Player Studio items. “Anything that goes into the PC store will eventually go into the PlayStation 4 store,” Isaac says. The team is hoping for scheduling parity, but recognizes that there is an approval process on the PS4 that doesn’t exist on PC.
If you can’t wait for the PlayStation 4 version, the PC version is available right now. Just know that the servers will be different for PS4 players, and your purchases (including membership) might not carry over.
For more on PlanetSide 2, you can check out our “not a review” of the title and our conversation with Isaac and PlanetSide 2 executive producer Clint Worley from E3 2013.