By Miguel Concepcion
'Planetside 2' has done pretty well for itself since its launch eight months ago. I can't help but think that developer Sony Online Entertainment was doubly motivated by the accolades the game's received, most notably the award of the third best PC shooter of all time by PC Gamer, just behind 'Half-Life 2' and 'Team Fortress 2'. 13 game updates since launch is an impressive show of commitment to the game, from minor balance fixes to an expansion of the tutorial.
At this year's SoE Live, the announcement for 'Planetside 2' is the addition of the game's fourth continent, Hossin. Even if these areas are merely eight by eight square kilometers, these 'Planetside 2' continents are the equivalent of six to eight map packs in other shooters. In keeping with diversity, Hossin satisfies the game's need for a jungle environment, whereas the three previous lands were desert, ice and Scottish highlands.
With a new continent comes a new base type: the interlink facility, complementing the biolab, the tech plant, and the amp station. It was impressive to learn that the level design team took the time to make every facility in Hossin unique. There's no copy and pasting and no shared layouts. That also speaks to the overall hand-crafted design of all the areas of 'Planetside 2'. That's impressive when you consider they've made four continents in eight months. Before you know it, they'll catch up to the ten continents that make up the original 'Planetside' landscape.
When you have a tree-dense jungle like Hossin, you can expect a lot of challenge in trying to maneuver a tank around, as opposed to the free roaming ease of the desert. This results in a continent that places a larger emphasis on infantry, though we won't call it Future Vietnam just yet. We'll find out when the Hossin Continent is out this September, though it's live on the test server today.