Ask a fan of the SOCOM franchise exactly what it is that makes them keep playing round after round of the title, and you'll get a wide variety of answers. Perhaps it's the large sense of community that's been established since the series was introduced in 2002. Maybe it's the focus on team tactics that requires cooperation and trust between squadmates to succeed at their tasks. Then again, it could be the focus on realism that the games try to impart, with everything from weapon loadouts and customizations to camouflage patterns. For most players, however, the answer is rather simple: it's all of the above and much more. While the franchise has consistently logged thousands of hours on the PS2 and PSP, the series hasn't crossed over to the PS3 yet. That's going to change later this year, when Slant Six and SCEA release SOCOM: Confrontation
, a multiplayer only focused shooter. At a recent press event held in Las Vegas, we were able to get a full sense of what Confrontation will be like, as well as some hands on play with three of the first seven maps included within the game.
Seth Luisi, the Director of Development at SCEA, started out our gameplay session by pointing out that more than 10.5 million games within the SOCOM Franchise have been sold, leading to an extremely large and active community that not only drove online on the PS2 but still consistently logs time with their favorite installments of the game. This dedicated following is something that the developers at Slant Six specifically wanted to tap into, listening to their concerns, wishes and preferences when it came to bringing the franchise to the PS3. According to David Seymour, Design Director at Slant Six, listening to the fans as well as noting the success of Warhawk helped influence the developer's decision to keep Confrontation a multiplayer-only title.
Along with this choice, Slant Six made a couple of active design choices when it came to Confrontation's basic features, such as the elimination of vehicles in favor of on foot play. This helped keep the action focused solely upon the soldiers and players fighting each match instead of having to consider the strengths and weaknesses of different vehicles. Similarly, to keep players focused on a specific theater of operations instead of continually leaping from one part of the world to another, the designers specifically decided to launch their first set of maps (which they call theme packs) within a North African setting. Regardless of the map selected, each one would host the regional influences of the theme, ensuring that players always felt as though they were battling through different hotspots in the region of the world.
Of the first seven maps, we were told the names of six of the stages: Desert Glory, FrostFire, Crossroads, Urban Wasteland, Quarantine (the new name of the previously titled Viral Lab) and the tentatively titled Kasbah. Veterans of SOCOM will pick up on the first three maps that I mentioned, as these classic maps have returned for Confrontation. However, there are a few differences within these areas. For one thing, the maps will feature both day and night cycles and will be completely scalable for eight, sixteen and thirty two players. All of them can be used to play through seven classic SOCOM game modes: Team Suppression, Breach, Demolition, Escort, Control, Extract and Elimination.
Players will have the option to fight across all of these maps from different Special Ops forces from around the world. That includes Navy SEALs, The SAS from the UK, KSK from Germany, UOE from Spain and the RPIMa from France as well as commando and mercenary groups. Each soldier will be able to choose from 37 different weapons, as well as 15 separate attachments to the gun like scopes and grips and 10 gear items, such as frag and flashbang grenades or C4 explosives. You'll even be able to customize the upper and lower body of your soldiers, including body armor and camouflage. However, you'll have to be careful of the weight of each piece of gear, which will affect your soldier's overall speed. Regardless of the weapon loadout or allegiance your soldier claims, you'll always have access to night vision goggles on the right D-pad to help you see your allies and opponents in dark areas. These aren't the only gameplay tweaks that have been made. Instead of being locked in to one specific camera angle with your reticule, players will be able to switch the camera over the left or right shoulder at will with a simple left press on the D-Pad. This helps when you need to switch your viewpoint to see where someone might be firing from so you can return fire.