Back in 2003, my friend Erik had me stop by the then Atari/Infromatics/Microprose HQ in Hunt Valley to check out a beta of an amazing game called Planetside. FPS games were really hitting their stride, but this game was unlike any other FPS out there at the time.
Full air, land, and vehicle combat, at the same time with over 300 people in one spot (but the maps were massive continents, not some 70×70 square) – it made for some epic battle and game play. Moreover, it had great squad and platoon command abilities, allowing you to direct up to 30 ‘real’ players to coordinate assaults. Sadly, Sony never really seemed to give it the support it needed (often pulling manpower over to EQII which was in development) and as such it was carried on the back of one heck of a vibrant and dedicated community.
I’ve never played a game since that really captured my imagination (or time). The levels of strategy and then tactics that could be employed were highly entertaining. The variety of weapons and vehicles at one’s disposal, all wrapped up in a futuristic setting (as opposed to the rampant fantasy settings that most games were moving to at the time) helped keep things fresh.
I played that damn game for a good three years straight until I could see the maps and strategies, literally, in my dreams.
Fast forward three years after I last played and to my surprise it looks like Sony is poking around at doing a Planetside 2 and are currently soliciting ideas. Given the advances in hardware, bandwidth, and programming I can only speculate at the amazing things a development team could do with this IP.
I, for one, am really excited about this news. The original Planetside got me back into building PCs after a long hiatus (and in a round about way got me into a whole new career of programming) as well as connecting with a lot of individuals with whom I have a good friendships today. So let’s hear what you’ve got up your sleeve, Sony.