Published on June 12th, 2009 | by Craig Schorling, Editor
E3 2009 Mag Gameplay & Interview
E3 2008: Sony announced at the end of its press conference that Zipper Interactive was working on a game called “MAG” (Massive Action Game). At first all I could think of was “wow! That is a really bad name for a game”. Then the bombshell dropped and they said that it would support 256 players online. Chat rooms were flooded with debates about whether this was even possible or not. Some even went as far as to say this was a gimmick to bring attention to the PS3. I had faith in Zipper seeing as they created the “SOCOM Navy Seals” games on the PS2 but even I knew they would have to work some dark magic to get this run without a hitch.
E3 2009: It can and does work! Zipper Interactive had a full blown 256 player demonstration running. 20 players were playing at E3 and the remaining 236 were scattered at Zipper Interactive in Seattle, San Diego, and Foster City. What’s even better is that the demo ran almost flawlessly with the only problem being an occasional need to reboot the system and start the game. When I was actually playing I experienced no lag or frame rate issues. This was a smooth game that surprised me. It will be interesting to see what it is like when millions of people are trying to play simultaneously but if this demonstration is any indication of what to look forward to then we are in for a treat.
I suppose that you want to know some of the details about the game? Well we were fortunate to do a quick Q&A with Zipper Interactive employee Tony Iuppa who is the producer for the game. For the full interview and game play footage check out the video at the bottom of the page. “MAG” features three clans that you get to choose between Raven, Sevr, and Valor. Each clan has different characteristics and uses different gear and weaponry. The combat is definitely team based but if you like to plan the “lone sniper” you will not be punished for doing so. Objectives are set by the squad leader and additional experience points are given for helping complete the objective. The more experience points you gather the more skills and abilities you can learn and the more weapons you can unlock and master.
I lost Cameron during this game when Cliff Bleszinski showed up and he stopped to talk with him so I had to go this battle alone. During my 15 minutes with the game I spent the first three getting used to the controls which are pretty easy to get the hang of. There were three load outs at our disposal for the demo each with different primary and secondary weapons. The movement was smooth and the firing felt good. Hit response is on par with the “Call of Duty” games and it does not take much to make your opponents hit the floor. One thing that I was really impressed with was the sheer scale of the battles. The maps were HUGE! I probably only got to check out a third of the overall map and every detail of the battle is being generated by another player. If you see a cloud in the distance you knew someone (hopefully one of your teammates) threw a grenade. Every bullet flying by is from another gamer and every ambient noise is produced in the same manner.
Closing Comments: This is a game that has been on mine and many other gamers’ radar. The fact that it does work with 256 players alone makes it worth checking out. With that aside this is a deep online shooter that will bring fans of that genre an experience that few if any games out now can. As more details about game play are revealed I am sure the interest for this game will continue to increase. So go get your friends, and their friends, and their friends and get ready for one wild frag fest this fall.
To watch the video interview and gameplay just click here and enjoy