The news came during a tour of the Sony Online Denver studio where The Escapist's Greg Tito was able to snag a few minutes with the SOE president. As the two discussed Blizzard's success and Realtime Worlds' failure, Smedley dropped the "bombshell" that unofficially revealed the upcoming MMOFPS.
"We have a very big launch coming in the month of March," Smedley said. "It's a big first person shooter franchise that we're really happy with."
When asked if the new MMOFPS was the Planetside sequel, Smedley avoided using a direct yes or no. Instead, he said "could be."
"We haven't technically announced it," he said, adding that Tito could say he "hinted" at a new Planetside which seems to be a confirmation without giving an official confirmation. "This is the farthest I've gone [discussing it with the press] and the PR people are going to shoot me."
For now the game is supposedly called Planetside Next, and as Smedley hinted, it's slated for a March 2011 release. "We don't have the official name for it," Smedley admitted. "Planetside Next is kind of the working title. We've learned some lessons with Everquest II, not one of the better moves that we've ever made. We should have called it EverQuest Something. Having Everquest I and II sit on the shelves at the same time, in hindsight, was probably not the the brightest of moves."
Having World of Warcraft sitting on the same shelf probably didn't help the franchise either. Still, the biggest problem for both Everquest titles is that they're two separate products with their own servers and their own audiences. That won't be the case with Planetside Next, as there are only a small number of people still playing on the one Planetside server. Ultimately this group isn't expected to have any problems adapting to the update.
"[Planetside Next] is the coolest god-damned game," Smedley said. "I'm so in love with that game."
Sounds like a confirmation. What do you think?