E3 2014: PlanetSide 2 PS4 demo showcases visuals, performance

While PlanetSide 2 has been out since the end of 2012 on the PC, it isn't due out on PlayStation 4 until later this year. At E3 2014, we got a hands-on demo of the game with lead game designer Luke Sigmund and executive producer Clint Worley to check out how the console version of the MMOFPS is coming along. And it's definitely coming along.

Sigmund said that In order to get PS2 ready for release on the PS4, the team has been focusing a lot of attention on optimization and getting the controls feeling right. Currently, the team is doing daily playtests to get feedback on the look and feel of the builds. Sigmund emphasized, "The things we are focusing on for the PS4 are usability, new player experience, and optimization. For us, it's just a matter of getting it right. We don't want to put it out there and not be happy with the way it looks."

So how does it look right now? Pretty darn good!

The demo was populated by numerous devs stalking and blowing each other to bits. While we got a preview of the graphics last month, they are even more impressive in person. Immediately I could see that the visuals were very crisp, and the lighting was just as you'd expect from PlanetSide 2; in fact, the game may even look better on the PS4 than on many computers. It's currently running at 1080p, and the goal is to maintain 60 fps. Sigmund explained, "We basically took the shaders from the PC and updated them." Moreover, the game didn't just look good; it played well during the demo too. The movement was very fluid, and battle was engaging.

Although it's essentially the same game, each version will have inherent differences. Jumping in, players will notice straight off that the HUD is different. Also, because they don't rely on a keyboard for typing, console players will have multiple voice channels open for communication. Sigmund told me, "We want the game to feel very native to the console so there isn't any confusion on how to do things." Worley also emphasized that the console version is not a port even though there will be a 1:1 feature conversion, with everything that goes to the PC version also hitting the console version shortly after. The reason for the delay is the added certification process that the PS4 version needs to go through before it can be released. Is the console expected to pull folks away from the PC version? Although some who prefer consoles overall might switch, players would have to give up all their characters and progress to do so. Worley said the goal is not to pull anyone from the PC version of the game but to open the game up to a whole new audience.

The game will be completely free-to-play, the only requirement being owning a PS4 to play on. Like the PC version, the PS4 will have a membership program that will offer incentives to those who are enrolled without giving anyone an inherent advantage. "We really pride ourselves on it being a skill-based game," said Worley. Those interested in getting in on the PS2 console action can look forward to a beta later this year.

Massively's on the ground in Los Angeles during the week of June 10-12, bringing you all the best news from E3 2014. We're covering everything from WildStar and Landmark to Skyforge and H1Z1, so stay tuned!

This article was originally published on Massively.