When SOE president John Smedley spoke to PC Gamer a year ago, he mentioned PlanetSide 2 would have a three year plan, to be revealed post-release. We got a chance to chat to the mighty fellow last night (the full transcript will follow later today) and ask him where this plan had got to.
“That'll be shared in early January,” says Smedley. “What we're going to be doing is sharing it in six-month increments and – just like we did before release – we're going to be really listening to the players. We changed our entire subscription model based on their feedback – we put it out there, we wanted people to comment on it, and we changed it. We've changed so much about the game based on player feedback, so we're definitely going to do the same thing with our six month plans.
“What we're going to do is let people know a list of things we plan to do, and let them decide the order they want it done in, and – if they hate it – we'll just change it. It's that simple. Rather than giving it our full three-year plan, we're doing it in increments because that's how far ahead we can plan for content releases. The meta-game in Planetside 2 changes constantly – so trying to predict what the game will look and feel like three years from now is tough. We have this idea of the major beats we want to hit – like player-owned bases – but in the shorter term we've got things like eSports we want to focus on and all kinds of cool new ways for players to fight wars. Players are paying the bills, so as far as I'm concerned that puts them in the driver's seat.”
We also asked about the possibility of an in-game tutorial, to help players through the bewildering first few hours of the game.
“It is a tough game to learn,” admits Smedley. “We're proud of how deep it is, but I want every Battlefield or Call of Duty player to just get in there and know what to do straight away. Right now that isn't possible. We need to do a more efficient job of making the interface obvious, letting people understand the game intuitively. If people don't understand the game right out of the gates, then we've done something wrong. It's a weakness and it's something we're trying to shore-up now.”
As for a date... “It's likely we'll have that in the game by February, and we'll be working on attracting more new users after that.”
Look out for the full transcript of our interview for you later today.