Daybreak Games is releasing a multiplayer shooter set in its massive PlanetSide series. Titled PlanetSide Arena, it will support several classic PvP shooter modes including a massive battle royale mode that's capable of supporting up to 1,000 players.
PlanetSide Arena launches on January 29 with a battle royale-themed mode, though the developers tell me that a new mode is planned for each season. The first battle royale season will include three modes: Solo, Teams (of three players), and a 250 vs. 250 massive 500-player clash. Later modes will include Capture the Flag, Team Deathmatch, Search and Destroy, and Global Conquest.
Essentially PlanetSide Arena is a service that will host a variety of online PvP shooter modes within the huge world of PlanetSide. And the massive scale the series is famous for will be one of the key features of Planetside Arena going forward.
"What's great about the PlanetSide engine and the PlanetSide codebase is we can expand up to a thousand-plus players," says PlanetSide Arena executive producer Andy Sites. Initially the Massive Clash will support 500-players, but Sites says that number will be expanded as time goes on.
While the battle royale mode will be similar to others in the genre, with players dropping on a large map that slowly shrinks while scavenging for weapons and upgrades, PlanetSide Arena features class-based combat as an added bonus. Players take on the roles of one of three initial classes: Assault, Engineer, and Medic. As PlanetSide Arena plans on supporting a wide-variety of game modes, the class-system will likely go from mode to mode as well.
We got a chance to get an early, hands-off look at PlanetSide Arena and were impressed by the scale and design choices Daybreak made to the battle royale mode. Special class-skills will be upgradable in the same way higher-level weapons are upgraded, by finding the right resources on the map, while giving players a vehicle from the get-go is a nice touch, especially for a game map as large as the one previewed by Daybreak.
Planetside Arena will feature a battle pass, but the developers assured me that it will be balanced in a way to not make players feel beholden to progressing the pass each season. Each season will be three months and I asked if three months season is an ample enough of time to progress the battle pass.
"Yeah definitely, we don't want anyone to feel like they need to sit and grind for three months. Our emphasis is making sure people are having fun and they're in the game and enjoying themselves," says Sites. Planetside will allow players to progress the XP game using daily and weekly challenges and each season will be more than just a new battle pass as Daybreak plans on rolling out new maps, vehicles, and even classes from time-to-time.
One interesting feature that had us curious was a blueprint system that players will be able to unlock. Essentially these are pre-loaded, high-class weapons players can enter a match with but there's a catch. They don't start the match with their blueprinted weapon in their inventory, but rather having a blueprint will enable them to unlock the weapon at special weapon spawns. Daybreak says this will not be something players can purchase, and that the random nature means having a blueprint is guaranteed, thus assuaging pay-to-win fears. What's more, players with blueprinted weapons who are killed will drop that weapon for anyone to pick up, just like any other weapon.
PlanetSide Arena is available for pre-order now on Steam. A Sanctuary Assault Edition is available for $19.99 and includes the Assault Armor set and Season 1 Battle Pass, while a Legendary Edition for $39.99 offers the previous rewards as well as Armor sets for the Engineer and Medic Class, and the M-20 Tempest hoverbike pack.
A beta is included with pre-orders but a closes beta will be coming to the "most loyal and active PlanetSide 2 players."