Rogue Planet Games Interview — Andy Sites Discusses Renewed PlanetSide 2 Support, PlanetSide Arena’s Failure and PlanetSide 3
Rogue Planet Games' Andy Sites discusses PlanetSide 2, PlanetSide Arena, and PlanetSide 3 with DualShockers.
In the day before Destiny and Warframe, there was PlanetSide. This sci-fi MMO series has always managed to have an impressive scale, even through its ups and downs. We are coming off a particularly rough year for the series as PlanetSide Arena divided fans of the series, flopped and subsequently shut down. That being said, things are starting to look better for the PlanetSide series as PlanetSide 2 has seen increased support recently and the franchise got its own dedicated studio with Rogue Planet Games.
Andy Sites is leading this new studio that has spun off from Daybreak Game Company and DualShockers was able to ask him some questions following the announcement. During our interview, he highlighted what makes the PlanetSide series special, reflected on the failure of PlanetSide Arena, and even teased PlanetSide 3.
Tomas Franzese: Why do you think the PlanetSide series has resonated with players over the course of the last 17 years?
Andy Sites: Simply put, there has been nothing else like it. The comparison I like to use is when EverQuest was released back in 1999, it defined the MMORPG genre. Immediately, there was a flood of competitors over the next several years, all with comparable scale and features. However, when the original PlanetSide was released back in 2003, not only did it define the MMOFPS genre, there was nothing even close to it.
The release of PlanetSide 2 in 2012 wasn’t in response to another competitor, or a need to regain control of the MMOFPS market – it was created for the passion for the IP and the desire to truly take it to the next level by more than tripling the population caps in each map, expanding the scope with more class depth, progression, vehicle variety, etc.
TF: PlanetSide Arena was recently shut down after failing to catch on. What lessons did you learn from that project and how will you apply them to the series going forward?
AS: Foundationally, I believe that PlanetSide Arena had an opportunity to shine and introduce a lot of new players to PlanetSide in general, as well as appeal to a lot of the existing PlanetSide 2 vets. The goal was to allow players to experience the epic battles that are unique to PlanetSide but in a single 30-minute match. However, the key component which was required to support this was through offering a variety of unique modes. When Early Access started, the only complete mode was Battle Royale; albeit with several improvements over the traditional BR rules and at a much larger scale.
Even though we had several different modes in development, the initial BR-only introduction was polarizing to both existing PlanetSide players and new players alike. My biggest takeaway from the PlanetSide Arena Early Access launch and subsequent shutdown is that PlanetSide is incredibly unique and we need to lean into the types of features and gameplay that sets it apart from the competition. And like any new game, features or piece of content; hold it until you are fully confident it’s ready. Developers don’t get extra credit or a free pass for shipping an incomplete game or update on-time.
TF: Will we be seeing revitalized support for PlanetSide 2 now that Arena is no longer available?
AS: Absolutely, and the effort actually started this past November. The team began work on one of our most ambitious game updates since launch and we are planning to announce details in late January/early February. We have also increased the frequency of quality of life updates with performance improvements and general bug fixing and streamlined the publish process to dramatically reduce server downtimes. Our intent is to let our actions speak to the community and we fully intend to maintain this increased update cadence to further reinforce our commitment to PlanetSide 2.
TF: Do you see the PlanetSide series expanding to more platforms now that the franchise has its own dedicated studio?
AS: In the near-term, our focus is PC and PS4, but I can definitely see expansion to other consoles and mobile.
TF: You previously said that you see PlanetSide 3 “expanding from the current battlefields of Auraxis, to full-fledged galactic war with empires exploring, colonizing and conquering one another within an expansive galaxy.” How does Rogue Planet Games plan on expanding the game to that scale while keeping the core values of the series intact?
AS: I will say that what we have some pretty epic plans for the sequel, but it’s likely a conversation for another time.
TF: Where do you see the PlanetSide franchise going over the course of the next 10 years?
AS: Much like the EverQuests of the world, I see PlanetSide 2 still going strong for years and continuing to be supported by a veteran player base. Which is why we are so focused on ramping up our support for the foreseeable future. When the time comes to announce and release a true sequel, the community needs to not only continue to be engaged and playing but confident that we are the right team to deliver it. The entire Rogue Planet team is fully committed to PlanetSide; many of whom have been involved since the launch of PlanetSide 2 and even the original PlanetSide back in 2003. So further progressing the PlanetSide universe isn’t just our job, it’s our passion.
PlanetSide 2 is free-to-play and available on both PC and PS4. If you want to learn more about the studios that split off from Daybreak Game Company, you can check out DualShockers’ interview with Dimensional Ink Games CEO Jack Emmert and can expect an interview about the future of EverQuest with Darkpaw Games’ Holly Longdale in the coming days.