Would you have ever imagined that Socom would amass a fan base as rabid and dedicated as Counterstrike's? Honestly, as much as I loved the first two games, I didn't think that the online console shooter would be anywhere near as popular as it is today. I had thought that the gamespace was still not ready for online shooters like Socom, but I was clearly proven wrong. The Socom franchise made lots of waves for gamer and Sony alike, and despite some of its recent downfalls, the PlayStation 3 iteration will surely correct all of that.
Replaced is the original developer Zipper Interactive, and at the reins is famed developer Slant Six. The history here is that Slant Six has proven to be a very worthy developer with the genre, being directly responsible for the incredible Syphon Filter: Dark Mirror for the PSP. Furthermore, fret not, because this break for Zipper is actually allowing them to work more on the Socom title that'll follow Confrontation. So instead of wearing out one developer, Sony seems to be employing the alternating cycle. Likewise, where as Socom: Confrontation will be downloadable via PSN and primarily online, the follow-up will be a full-scaled, balls to the wall entry in the franchise.
Again, fear not, because even though Socom: Confrontation will be primarily online and downloadable via PlayStation Network, its focus is the one that all Socom fans have been asking for: bring it back to the mecca of Socom 2. And indeed that's what you'll be gettng, promises Sony and Slant Six. 32 players will be able to partake in mayhem, complete with five initial stages, including the classic "Crossroads". Crossroads has been refined and enlarged to fit the new scale of the game, as will other future downloadable classic. So yes, while you'll start off with five stages, Sony claims additional ones will be available for download at the PS Store.
Visually, Socom Confrontation looks pretty solid, and word is that Slant Six is aiming for a buttery smooth experience over a jaw-dropping picture. Meaning, you can very likely expect to see a mixture of a superb framerate (some are saying 60) and a good, clean picture. Based on the previews we've seen, Socom shouldn't displease any graphic-whores, and we're already fond of the color palette used for the game. Moreover, a robust physics engine will ensure super tight gameplay and fluidity, and destruction in the environments will be used to directly affect gameplay. Sounds incredible, so far.
International gameplay will link gamers from the Americas, Europe and Asia. The community will feature Tournaments, Clan Ladders, Leader Boards and the customization of your character's look. You'll have the choice to choose between various International Special Forces all of which feature their own unique uniforms – but of course they can still be customized.
Sony promises advanced vice communication and an audio experience unlike any other Socom game. Seven gameplay modes will selectable for most of the stages, and there's even an optional smart matching system for when you're in the search for a game. Sixaxis support will be present, but it isn't known how exactly it'll be implemented yet.
Socom Confrontation is currently pegged for a November release, so keep an eye out for it. Hopefully Sony drops a little demo in the interim, but we've heard no word of that. Stay posted for more, hopefully we'll get a chance to try it out at E3.