Posted Wed, Jun 27, 2012 by ricoxg
Still, considering the trouble many games have had even crossing platforms, the idea of additionally crossing genres is very ambitious. Obviously CCP hasn’t been completely successful yet because they intend to release the game while building the link to EVE progressively, as Sardu points out in his article. The guys at CCP are smart, so it’s very likely that the progressive nature of the integration is as much to avoid in-game economic damage, as it is to avoid game-breaking bugs and give themselves a bit of a burn-in.
Once fully linked with EVE however, DUST 514 will apparently feature a rich player-driven economy tied to its sister MMO, another party trick from the vault of brilliant ideas at CCP. DUST 514 may not be specifically PvE, but the effect it’ll have on the economy of EVE Online, and the way that economy will affect DUST 514 creates a very real PvE element to the game. In many ways, it’s possible that the PvE of DUST may end up being even more deep and meaningful than the PvE of Firefall, which is one of the largest compliments I can think to give. Watching DUST 514 take shape and grow post-launch as EVE has should prove to be very interesting, and the meta-game between the two promises to be a defining point in the industry. If CCP can capture the potential of combining the two distinctly different games in a way that makes sense to the player and adds to both, they will have effectively moved out from under the glacial shadows of the one-hit-wonder, and cemented their reputation as a cross-platform/cross-genre developer.
Lastly, but oh so not leastly, we have Planetside 2. SOE has had a rocky road lately with security issues and a couple MMOs that just didn’t quite live up to the promise of EQ or the original Planetside, but they’re back and Smed is ready to show the world just who invented Party Rocking.
Planetside 2 brings far more strategy to the table than Firefall, though maybe not as much as DUST 514 has the potential to bring. Critical aspects of PS2 will be the new Mission System, and how it combines with their API and Mobile App support. Where DUST 514 reaches from the console into another game, Planetside 2 will be attempting to reach beyond the game totally by notifying an offline player that preferred missions will be available. This new system has the potential to revolutionize the way gamers interact with the game, and perhaps even redefine what the word “gaming” even means.
When compared next to the other two games, Planetside 2 won’t have near the story that either Firefall or DUST 514 has. The background in the Planetside universe is perfunctory at best, but the appeal of the game isn’t in the story SOE came up with, but rather the day-to-day story of outfits and players achieving feats of cunning as they battle across the huge landscape. PvE in PS2 is non-existent with no crafting or NPCs to kill, so the factional war drives the game. In a way, it’s really a testament to the quality of the gameplay that a game based entirely on PvP is so likely to thrive.
The real story of the Planetside franchise isn’t the FPS itself, though. The real appeal is grand strategy on a global scale, played with the most realistic of units, humans. (PS2 should almost be considered an RTS for the amount of strategy that goes into playing the game well.) Every battle in Planetside 2 has a significant impact on Araxis. Outfit commanders and field commanders make decisions that have significant impact on the grand strategy of global superiority. Those choices, and the choices other players make, are what will make PS2 more than just another FPS game. For SOE to be competitive in such a dense field, they’ll have to walk the tightrope of staying true to the feel of the first Planetside, while still being innovative enough not to fall prey to the curse of the sequel. Every sign thus far points at success, but we’ll still have to wait and see.
This looks to be a pretty crazy years for the MMOFPS genre as several titles are poised to make bold moves toward raising the genre to new heights. Planetside 2 may be getting more hype and coverage, but both Firefall and DUST514 bring some pretty impressive ideas and mechanics to the table. Where PS2 will redefine what it means to be in-game and out of game, DUST514 will show how games can be combined from two completely different genres to make an even more powerful meta-game. Of course, there’s Firefall which will teach the world that behind a shotgun blast to the face, there’s a deep and game-enriching story being told, and that games really do deserve to be treated as art. Each in their own way, these games push the envelope of the genre’s definition and make big promises we really hope they keep. To borrow a bit from a certain book, to everything there is a season, and this ladies in gentlemen… is the Year of the Gun.