FOSTER CITY, Calif., Jan. 26 /PRNewswire/ -- Sony Computer Entertainment America (SCEA) announced today the North American launch of MAG exclusively for the PlayStation®3 (PS3™) computer entertainment system. Developed by Zipper Interactive—creator of the best-selling SOCOM series and one of the first studios to bring the PlayStation 2 online with SOCOM: U.S. Navy SEALs—MAG features unprecedented online action on a scale never before devised. A first-person, online-only shooter, MAG lets players experience battles with up to 256 real people across a global battlefield, and employs a sophisticated command structure that aligns players into squads of eight to work together in order to progress through a persistent world known as the "Shadow War."
"By introducing a scale never before seen on a console, MAG is expected to revolutionize the shooter genre and create entirely new, large team-based strategic gameplay," said Scott A. Steinberg, Vice President, Product Marketing, SCEA. "Only with PS3's technological advancements, such as the SPUs and Blu-ray™ Disc player, as well as new proprietary dedicated server architecture, can MAG deliver such revolutionary large-scale console gaming at 30 frames-per-second with no lag."
MAG is set in 2025 when the world's nations are supposedly at peace, but under the surface a war rages. This "Shadow War" is the secret conflict fought between Private Military Corporations (PMCs) vying for dominance across a global battlefield. As the private military industry starts to flourish, it is dominated mainly by three companies: Valor based in Alaska, Raven headquartered in Vienna, and S.V.E.R. based out of Grozny. It is with selecting an allegiance to one of these three PMCs that the player enters the world of MAG.
MAG's PMCs are distinct in their own history, personality, and style, including unique soundtracks, user interfaces, character aesthetics, and geographical regions – each PMC has its own "home base" map for each gametype within MAG and is effectively camouflaged within that area. Players choose a character in one of the PMCs and begin to fight for that PMC's control of the Shadow War. Each battle victory or loss contributes to the PMC's world standing by gaining or losing contracts, and moving them to the offensive or pulling them back to the defensive. When a PMC earns a contract, a variety of in-game rewards ranging from experience bonuses to upgraded gear, weapons, and vehicles are bestowed upon all players of that particular PMC.
Using MAG's experience point (XP) system, which is vital to progressing players' characters, players can unlock new items in the skill tree, further specializing themselves on the battlefield. Through incentives of bonus experience points, players are motivated to follow the chain of command and work together to accomplish objectives and advance their PMC within the Shadow War.
After gaining enough experience points to reach level 15, players become eligible for the squad leader position. By gaining leadership points through completing objectives as a squad leader, players climb their way up the chain of command to reach the next levels of leadership: platoon leader of a 32-person platoon, and ultimately the "Officer in Charge" (OIC) of a 128-person army. Experienced players who choose to become a leader on the battlefield are able to communicate with their squad or platoon to assign objectives, call in airstrikes, and execute advanced command abilities that benefit the team. In addition to giving orders via the fragmentary order (FRAGO) system and over voice chat, leadership roles have their own set of abilities and enhancements they provide to nearby squadmates. While Squad Leaders focus on the tactics of the eight-man squad, Platoon Leaders coordinate the four squads under their command, and the OIC coordinates the four platoons — all while they are still boots on the ground, running and fighting with the rest of the operatives. All of this coordination is supported through built-in voice communications channels and directive game mechanics.
MAG's advanced matchmaking system groups players into squads, platoons, and armies by taking into account each player's geographic region, leadership standing, and the specialization of that player's character. MAG features deep levels of character customization, including aesthetic options of different head and voice types, as well as more functional choices of gear and weaponry. Rather than using a traditional class system, MAG focuses on character loadouts and takes players through a robust skill tree, whereby they can spend earned experience points to unlock new weapons, equipment, and inherent skills. The equipment and skills that players purchase will determine their specialty as a sniper, commando, direct action, field support, or rapid assault operative.
Experience points are also used to progress players through MAG's different gametypes. Before players can reach the full 256-player Domination battle, they must progress through the 64-player Suppression and Sabotage maps, followed by the 128-player Acquisition battles. Suppression missions, which do not impact the Shadow War, are PMC practice exercises with the objective to maximize casualties on the opposing force. Players also have the option of going through offline training missions to gain skills and experience points before leveling up to the Sabotage, Acquisition, and Domination gametypes that affect the Shadow War.
The 64-player Sabotage missions are the simplest game types in the Shadow War. The objective of the missions is for attackers to secure a pair of satellite uplinks. Once both are simultaneously held, a final objective will be activated which attackers must then demolish. The 128-player Acquisition missions involve two platoons of attackers trying to steal prototype transports. Defenders must stop them, destroying escaping transports if necessary. Should any two vehicles escape, regardless of which platoon takes them, the attackers are victorious. Finally, 256-player Domination missions require attackers to destroy the defender's fuel facilities. Attackers must secure two subsequent pairs of burn off and cooling towers, destroying one pair to activate the next. When all towers are destroyed, securing and holding the final control panels causes progressive damage to the facility.
The independent Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) rates MAG "T" for "TEEN" (Descriptors: Blood, Mild Language, and Violence). For more information about the ESRB, visit www.esrb.org.
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