PlanetSide Arena Failure Attributed to Lack of Unique Modes
Rogue Planet Games' Andy Sites admits that launching PlanetSide Arena with just a battle royale mode "was polarizing to both existing PlanetSide players and new players alike."
PlanetSide Arena was supposed to be the next big step for Daybreak Game Company’s sci-fi shooter series. While the first two games were ambitious and large-scale MMOs, PlanetSide Arena attempted to be a more condensed multiplayer experience; at launch, the game was centered around a massive battle royale mode. That being said, reception from fans was mostly negative, player numbers plummeted and Arena’s servers were ultimately shut down on January 10, less than four months after launch.
Following that rocky patch for the PlanetSide series, Daybreak decided to give the franchise and its developers more creative freedom and spun it off into Rogue Planet Games. While Rogue Planet Games is currently working on supporting PlanetSide 2 and building another game (which could be PlanetSide 3), DualShockers asked Andy Sites to reflect on PlanetSide Arena and its failure in a recent interview. He was actually quite honest about the game’s failure and mainly attributed its failure to a lack of unique modes at launch.
“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,” Sites explains. “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.”
Despite all those issues, Sites does truly think 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.” Unfortunately, that never did pan out. He has learned a lot from that project’s ups and downs though, namely that “PlanetSide is incredibly unique and we need to lean into the types of features and gameplay that sets it apart from the competition.” At another point in our interview, he also mentioned that he believes PlanetSide has stuck around because “there has been nothing else like it,” so this is definitely Rogue Planet Games’ mentality at its genesis.
Andy Sites also had some words of wisdom following PlanetSide Arena’s rocky lifespan. “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.”