Let’s be honest, the first person shooter genre is becoming very crowded. Killzone 2 released and has sold around 1.5 million copies worldwide, but has not sold as well as either Guerilla Games or Sony had hoped (I am assuming this to be fact). Call of Duty is the king right now, but there are a few contenders that have and can put up a fight. MAG is a new game being developed by Sony Computer Entertainment and Zipper Interactive exclusively for the PlayStation 3 that mixes first person shooter elements with MMO (massively multiplayer online) elements.
A buzz has been growing for this game ever since it was announced that the online multiplayer first person shooter will boast 256 players in one game at one time. There has been some skepticism as to how Sony and Zipper intend to allow for a fluid online gaming experience with so many people playing online in one game. Hopefully they go the extra mile and don’t fall victim to the same problems that plagued Socom: Confrontation. I myself am excited about the game just for the fact that I can see many promising things that could happen as a result of it being an online only game, like Warhawk and Socom: Confrontation, if the developer heavily supports the game after it’s released to the public. It is a necessity that this game attract a large group of gamers and in turn form a community that will keep coming back to play the game over and over again. Much like the Call of Duty games, MAG will ultimately have its fate decided by how well it works online.
While searching for new info on this game, I started to ponder about what kinds of features myself and other gamers interested in this title would like to see. Although Killzone 2 offers a nice gaming experience, it is not for everybody. Some people complained about the controls, others said it was just another FPS and completely overlooked everything the game did right. I myself believe it is a great game online and offline, but there are some things that I wish were different about the game. Here is a list of things I think will make MAG stand out from the rest of the FPS titles out today, or at least help the game gain and maintain an audience as well as be taken seriously.
1. Weapons – This is obviously one of the most important things for any FPS title. Zipper needs to bring the pain with this category and provide players with hundreds of types of guns. The more guns the better, as it will help people stay interested in the game and allow people to form their own identity. Shotguns, SMG’s, MG’s, sniper rifles, grenades, and handguns, everything needs to be in abundance. Allow for each gun to have its own identity as much as possible, don’t make all the guns look different but shoot and sound the same. Also make sure that weapons customization is just as deep with different scopes, silencers, bullets, extended clips, laser sights, etc.
2. Characters – This will allow each gamer to make their own unique character which is a big plus since there should be many, many people playing this game together at once. Gamers should be allowed to choose their height, sex (male or female), weight, skin color, facial and physical attributes, and attire. There should be many different types of gear such as camouflage and clothing, boots and footwear, head gear, eye wear, and accessories. If some of this stuff is unlockable based on the rank you achieve, great, but make sure you allow for a wide variety of customization from the very first time the game is booted up. This will allow the gamer’s avatar or character to have an identity that they can call their own.
3. Support – If the same can eventually be said for MAG as was and is said about Warhawk, then MAG can potentially go a long, long way. Warhawk had great developer support and had quite a few booster packs and add-ons. MAG should follow suit and give gamers as much downloadable content as possible. Weapon DLC, character DLC, level or map pack DLC, plus anything else they would like to add through downloadable content and software updates. Free or paid doesn’t matter, just make it good.
4. Stable Online and Gameplay – This obviously would kill the game if the online and the servers could not handle the game the way it was intended. This is mainly what ruined Socom: Confrontation and it showed in the sales numbers for the title. I do believe they have their work cut out for them, but I don’t believe they would even be attempting to make this game if the PSN could not handle it. My fingers are crossed on this one.
5. Rank/Class System – Killzone 2 suffered from complaints about how easy it was to attain the top rank of General. Games like Call of Duty and Rainbow Six took quite awhile to achieve the top rank and unlock all the unlockable items you receive through this process. MAG needs to make sure the class system is very, very deep and offers people as much incentive as possible for leveling up. The game is online only, so this is probably one of the top 3 most important things the game needs.
6. Game Modes – Zipper already announced 4 game modes with different amounts of players and different objectives for each game mode. There will be 3 different factions fighting against each other, so hopefully more game modes will be added for free through an update or a map pack later on.
7. Graphics and Frame Rate – Zipper has already stated they intend to have the game running at 30 frames per second while all the action is happening, but this is important. The graphical quality of the game should be up to par with at least Socom, which looks decent. No matter what resolution they choose to allow players to play the game in, the graphical quality needs to be as polished as possible.
8. Communication – This is not so much about the gameplay, but they need to bundle MAG with a headset. This will give people without one, the ability to obtain one. They should bundle it with the Sony headset just like they did with Socom: Confrontation.
I do realize that a few of these things have been announced, but they really need to give us as many options as possible by giving us complete control over our soldier as far as customization and weapons are concerned. Make this game as deep as possible with as many features as possible and it will be more likely to succeed. I am definitely looking forward to this game and I hope it lives up to the expectations that myself and others have for it, including Sony and Zipper Interactive. MAG is slated for a December 2009 release date.