Giant, bipedal war machines stalk through the hills, small groups of tanks roll in determinedly, while around them infantry move up and engineers lay down defences, fix up damaged vehicles. Soldiers select equipment from a mobile re-spawn vehicle, squatting under a shimmering cloaking dome. Overhead, aircraft dogfight, while a dropship, braving anti-aircraft fire, flies over the besieged base and discharges a contingent of soldiers, some nestled inside bulky exo-armour with formidable firepower. Defenders man gun turrets and return fire from the parapet that tops the base's imposing walls. The battle rages. Welcome to PlanetSide.
Released back in May 2003, PlanetSide was yet another bellicose videogame vision of the future. But unlike previous games involving humans fighting a future war, PlanetSide was unique in that those doing the scrapping were exclusively other players. Potentially thousands of other players, working with a remarkably diverse array of hardware to create unprecedented, elaborate gameplay. That elaborate play survives to this day, with much of what PlanetSide offers yet to be bettered by any game, FPS or MMO. Call of Duty 4's multiplayer, for example, may offer diversity in its weapons, but you're still on small-scale maps on servers that only support small numbers of players. PlanetSide is massive. An entire world at war.