Back in 2003, the world wasn't quite ready for the original Planetside. It was ambitious, requiring a solid internet connection meaning the promise of having an FPS experience with several hundred other players at once was out of reach for most. Broadband was in its infancy, and the game failed to reach the popularity of other MMOs like EverQuest and WoW. Despite that, the original remains playable for a small and dedicated band of players on a single server.
The developers of Planetside 2 are not interested in repeating that level of success. Though broadband is obviously more ubiquitous now, the developers are taking more steps to ensure the sequel's success. For one thing, Planetside 2 will be released on PC as a free-to-play title.
We spoke with Matthew Higby, the creative director of Planetside 2, to learn what sort of steps Sony Online Entertainment is taking to make sure Planetside 2 doesn't falter when it comes to reaching a broader audience while still offering a hardcore shooter experience. The main takeaway: If you're unwilling to pay a cent, you still stand a pretty good chance of besting a paying player.