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Before there was MAG on the PlayStation 3 there was Planetside on the PC. Released in 2003 by Sony Online Entertainment, Planetside was a pioneer in the development of massively multiplayer online first person shooters, or MMOFPS games. Hundreds of players fought in huge combined-arms battles to control facilities within the battle zone.
Planetside was a unique game, but never reached the prominence traditional, FPS multiplayer games achieved.
SOE is hoping that the sequel, Planetside 2, will make deeper inroads. They’ve developed a new MMO engine called Forgelight to handle the demanding technical requirements of providing smooth online play while balancing hundreds of online connections simultaneously. They’ve learned from franchises like Battlefield and included a squad spawn option and distinct class builds. They’ve built a resource-based metagame around territory control to create a greater sense of persistence, and developed new command systems to keep armies of players organized.
Planetside 2 will launch as a free-to-play game sometime this year.