Daybreak Games has announced PlanetSide Arena, a battle royale on the PlanetSide franchise.
PlanetSide Arena launches on PC January 29, 2019 the price € 16.79. At launch, it includes a first person shooter battle royale that comes in three types: solo for 100 players, team of wood for 102 players and a 250 versus 250 player mode called Massive Clash. It's all set on a large 8k x 8k card, called Echoes of Amerish, based on Amerish, the third continent added to Auraxis for PlanetSide 2.
Three classes are available at launch, each with their own abilities, tools and liabilities. All classes have jetpacks, and anyone can call a vehicle to zip around the map at any time. Because of this, there is a freedom of movement for case processing. But counteracting this is a longer time to kill than in most other combat royale games, driven by a shield system that can make signs feel tight.
While Arena launches as a royal experience, Daybreak has not thought it should be a game of royal play. New modes like Capture the Flag, Team Deathmatch, Search and Destroy and Global Conquest will be introduced every new game season.
At times of seasons, each will introduce a Fortnite-style passport. The camp has a free and paid for track. The free track unlocks some cosmetics as well as drawings for things like weapons. Players pick three drawings to get a match. Then, during the game, you can use a virtual currency you have earned while playing to spawn your drawings from a terminal for use in combat. It could be a unique weapon, for example. The paid track of the campfire, on the other hand, contains only flashy cosmetics.
If you buy the game, you get the match for which season is running at that time. Subsequent seasons give you the opportunity to buy the campfire. Interestingly, Arena will make the last season's blueprint exclusive weapon "in-map weapons" for the current season, and give those who failed to lock them up before a chance to give them a shot.
While there is a lot about PlanetSide Arena that will be known to fight royal fans, it does some things that are interesting and unique. For example, each player can spawn their own Flash (ATV from PlanetSide 2) at any time.
"The whole goal of this was whether the distance is long or high, the player is not felt back in motion", Tony Morton, leading game designer at PlanetSide Arena, told Eurogamer in a Skype interview.
"So they can cover a lot of the flash on Flash quite quickly, and with the jumping rays when it comes to height, can fly up and climb things."
PlanetSide makes battle royale come in an interesting time, not just for Daybreak, but for fight royal genres. 2018 has seen a number of developers, trying and failing to prepare a piece of the phenomenally popular royal genre with games that have come and gone, while genres such as Fortnite, PUBG and Call of Duty's Blackout continue to go. In fact, Daybreak is no stranger to fighting royal – its own H1Z1 currently lives on PCs and consoles.
So, with Battle Royale a crowded genre, what will make PlanetSide Arena standout? Experience and non-royal things, Morton said.
"I spent about a year and a half as a lead camp and system designer on the H1Z1," he said. "There is a lot of experience in the building about the genre. It's not our first rodeo. There have been some places where we have taken some freedoms to double down on the things we learned players liked and warned away from any of these fringes, and take the chance to innovate in the room.
"The other side of it is, it's not a BR game. It is an arena game. PlanetSide Arena may have BR in it, but our main goal is to have only BR as a mode and not be a BR game. Although we can have a 8v8 CTF mode, we can also have a CTV mode that is 20v20v20v20, which completely throws everything on the head and any expectation of predictability out of the window and that's something we can do on a scale as we know No one else can do the moment. "
The announcement of PlanetSide Arena also comes in a worrying time for Daybreak itself. The company has suffered two rounds of resignations this year, the last thing that happened just before Christmas, with a reported 70 employees missing.
I can not imagine how tough it is in the studio right now or how difficult it must have been to see friends losing their job. I imagine it's quite difficult to talk with excitement to hit PlanetSide Arena so soon after many people on Daybreak lost their jobs too. And yet, Tony Morton is responsible for doing just that, at a time when I'm sure someone will say that the PlanetSide fight royale is too little too late for a company which looks like it really struggles.
When I asked him about layoffs, his tone changed. Certainly, he would have expected to be asked about it, and have worked with an appropriate response, but I notice a real sadness. And of course it should be re sadness: our interview takes place only one week after these announcements were announced.
"It's always tough, right?" he said. "Especially in an industry where everyone works so closely, we are basically like family. The PlanetSide Arena team was relatively unmanned, so we push forward, doing what we can. The PlanetSide 2 team was also unmanned. I just have to make sure that we can do everything we can to ensure as much success as we can in the future, and really double it down and do the best job we can do, do you know?
"No matter what industry it's in, things like this is always difficult, right? We have been working hard for this while. We are all happy about it. We are all passionate about it. We just want to see it doing the best it can. We do everything we can. Moral will of course be up and down. But we have a lot of pride and we have a lot of conviction and we have great confidence. It can carry us a long way.
"If nothing else, we'll only make everyone proud if they're still here or not. We'll make sure that it's a title we can all stand behind and a title everyone can look forward to and be proud of to say they are either working or they worked at some point. We must do our due diligence for everyone to ensure that this thing comes out the door in the best shape it can. And just so that everybody can have a moment of pride and be happy and talk to self-esteem. "