Planetside 2 dev discusses beta progress, ‘subscription MMOs dying’

Wednesday, 29 August 2012 13:38 GMT By Dave Cook

Planetside 2 beta play has been ongoing now for a little while, and developer Sony Online Entertainment has revealed to VG247 how it’s been going, as well as its view on ‘dying’ subscription-based MMOs.

Planetside 2 game designer Jason Good, explained to VG247 just how successful the game’s beta phase has been so far, “It’s really a pretty big undertaking for our team. We’ve been in this mode of ‘heads down, working hard’, banging stuff out, for so long – and then all of a sudden you need to shift into being essentially a live game.”

“Bug fixes that once could have been put off become urgent, the community expands, and now there’s a ton of new data to examine. One of the things that I think surprised us all was just how epic the combat felt right from the get go with beta.”

“We still have a lot of work in front of us, but even in this really raw state we saw the potential of what we had going. The sheer numbers involved give the fighting an intensity that you just can’t replicate with any other game mechanic, and that’s something that has us really excited.”

When asked how the beta feedback could steer Planetside 2 development further, as well a influencing the game’s final launch date, Good replied, “Beta is huge for us. We have a game that’s intended to be played with thousands of people –this is the first time for us as developers that we really get to see if our designs hold up under those numbers.”

“Testing things with hundreds of people internally lets us extrapolate what we think will happen, but with beta we get to experience everything as sort of a ‘live fire’ exercise. We know where we need to be at launch, and the data we see on beta and the feedback we get from players is going to do nothing but help us get there.”

“As a free-to-play game, rushing it out the door would be especially bad. There’s no box sales for us to fall back on – if it isn’t fun, we aren’t going to see any money, simple as that. Luckily for us, I think a lot of people are going to have a blast in PlanetSide 2. There’s nothing quite like it when it comes to online gaming.”

But free-to-play is still absolutely the way to go, says Good, “In the traditional sense, I’d say [free-to-play is] definitely dying. As developers continue to figure out how to handle free-to-play in more effective ways, I think the traditional subscription MMO will continue to fade. ”

Check back for our full Planetside 2 interview soon.

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