In a producer’s letter to fans, Andy Sites has said PlanetSide Arena is an intended stepping stone on the route to PlanetSide 3. PlanetSide Arena is a large-scale, free-to-play battle royale spin-off for the PlanetSide franchise that has, well, fallen flat on its face. At the current time of writing there are 10 people playing PlanetSide Arena, which isn’t great for a 300-player online shooter. In this sense, it’s probably good that Arena is a stepping stone as it doesn’t look as if it’s got a life of its own.
PlanetSide 2 launched seven years ago and amassed a decent player base at the time, although it’s since certainly fallen by the wayside. It’s time for a fresh start then, and the promises for PlanetSide 3 certainly sound ambitious. While PlanetSide 2 is still relatively unusual in how large its battles can be (player counts in the thousands have been), PlanetSide 3 will expand from the current battlefields of Auraxis to proper galactic warfare. There’ll be distinct empires colonising planets and expanding their dominion, leading to shifting war-fronts as these factions vie for control.
“So when we think about what the PlanetSide 3 experience needs to be, we know that there are incredibly high expectations from all of you. PlanetSide Arena is intended to be the stepping stone to PlanetSide 3,” explains Sites. “We envision PlanetSide Arena as a way to allow us to link present day PlanetSide 2 and PlanetSide 3 story lines, as well as providing an opportunity to try out new features, styles of play, etc.”
At this point we’d take any promises from Daybreak Game Company with a pinch of salt. They seem to be constantly lurching from one financial disaster to the next, and only last week the PlanetSide Arena team was hit with a massive wave of lay-offs. This statement to fans comes across as ‘don’t worry, everything’s fine’, when that probably couldn’t be further from the truth.
Still, plenty of folks still have a fondness for PlanetSide and its sequel, and a fully realised follow-up with even grander battles could prove quite the draw. Actually getting enough players in there to realise this dream is a different matter entirely though, especially where have never been more, and better, options for F2P game connoisseurs.