Unlike a traditional sequel, PlanetSide 2 is not a direct continuation of the story of the original game. Instead, the game’s creative directors have chosen to write PlanetSide 2 as a “reimagining” of PlanetSide, complete with a detailed history of the first settlers to arrive on Auraxis and backstories for the three empires that are now at war over the planet.
The original PlanetSide was frequently criticized by players for having an interesting premise but virtually no post-launch plot advancement; outside of developments required to add gameplay elements in various expansions and patches, the overall lore behind the game was largely overlooked. In an effort to build anticipation for the game and to prevent a similar lack of creative investment in PlanetSide 2, Sony Online Entertainment has brought award-winning comic book writer Marv Wolfman on board to pen the game’s backstory. He will presumably also play an active role in the fiction’s continuing development post-launch.
Several short stories detailing the universe of PlanetSide have been released to date, all written as point-of-view pieces from various historical characters in the game’s lore. These pieces go so far as to include hard dates, allowing a rudimentary timeline of events to be constructed leading up to the point at which the game actually takes place.
PlanetSide 2’s plot revolves around the planet Auraxis, which was discovered and settled by travelers from Earth and is now embroiled in a bitter war over control of its land and resources.
The world’s original settlers arrived near Auraxis after attempting to mount a spacefaring expedition through a mysterious wormhole that appeared in Earth’s solar system. Though it was expected to stay open for several weeks—giving the expedition time to explore what lay beyond it and return safely—the wormhole unexpectedly closed as soon as the fleet began to pass through it, destroying one half of the group and stranding the other in uncharted space. With no way to know the direction or distance of Earth and a mere fraction of their supplies intact, the fleet desperately sought out a new world to terraform and inhabit, all while dealing with the internal strife caused by their situation. Eventually, the fleet identified a habitable planet and charted a course for it.
Though the initial centuries after arriving on Auraxis were peaceful and prosperous years, lines had long ago been drawn between the emergent factions of the original settlers. Armed conflict slowly became an inevitability as ideological differences took hold. When the authoritarian Terran Republic and profit-minded New Conglomerate eventually broke out into full scale war, the borderline-cultic Vanu Sovereignty declared their independence and joined in the hostilities. Now, with all three factions vying for control of Auraxis and its resources, every soldier must declare a side and defend Auraxis from a seemingly endless stream of foes.
The Rise of the Republic
In the year 2426, acting upon intelligence that suggested imminent and simultaneous attacks, the Earth's six greatest nations declared war on one another. By all rights, the war's senseless violence should have been stopped by its effect on the human population, which would be cut in half within the first decade of fighting, or by its wanton consumption of the Earth's limited resources, which were all but completely extinguished by the production of weapons of war. Instead, it was something different—something potentially larger than humanity itself—that ended the cycle of destruction. On March 16th of 2444, a great rift in space appeared in the far reaches of the solar system. Though it only remained open for several weeks, reconnaissance probes were successfully dispatched to its location, where their scans discovered something unexpected: More scans. Scientists were shocked to discover multispectral transmissions emanating from the wormhole in the precise direction of Earth, as if something on its far side was scanning the planet. Their shock was turned to terror mere days later when, as the rift destabilized and closed, the dwarf planet Pluto was instantly and inexplicably destroyed.
When the scientists' findings were made public in December of that year, peace talks between the Earth's remaining major powers began, spurred on by the threat of a greater enemy that threatened not one nation, but the entire planet and human race. Within six months, on May 13, 2445, the Armistice was signed, bringing to an end nearly two decades of war. The ensuing decades were ones of unparalleled peace and cooperation that ultimately led to the unification of the world's disparate governments into a single entity known as the Terran Republic, signed into existence under the Declaration of Constancy. Featuring a senate consisting of all of the Earth's former world leaders and a President elected to 4-year terms, this new government was to be voted out of or back into continuing power every ten years. For centuries, the Terran Republic would be voted back into power as worldwide peace and prosperity brought rapid advances in every area of science and technology. Even large-scale and affordable space travel became possible, but Pluto's destruction left few with the boldness to explore the solar system in person, and Earth's newfound golden age left even fewer with the desire to leave its surface.
The Explorer & the President
It was on July 3rd, 2542 that the worst fears of many came to reality: The wormhole responsible for a century of fear and the destruction of an entire planet reopened. But amidst the questions of what the rift's appearance could mean for Earth—amidst the collectively held breaths of the entire Terran Republic—probes dispatched to the site reported nothing. No emissions. No invading alien fleets. And, when days turned to weeks and the rift finally closed again, they reported no world-shattering after effects. The wormhole had come and gone for another 100 years, and had taken with it humanity's fear of the universe. Indeed, by the end of that century, mankind established cities and industries on every major world and moon in the solar system.
In 2615, a space explorer named Thomas Connery and his crew discovered the Moon Belt, a sparsely populated sub-section of the Kuiper Belt made up of the fragments of hundreds of destroyed moons—and the shattered remains of Pluto—extending from Neptune's orbit to beyond. They also discovered a strange signal emanating from a particular mile-long moon fragment, but without the proper equipment to pinpoint the signal and investigate it they instead returned to Earth, where the discovery of the Moon Belt and Pluto's remains made Connery a household name. Three years later, the Terran Republic's Vice President suffered a heart attack and the charming and charismatic Connery was asked by the President to fill the role for the remaining six months of her term. Not expecting famed explorer Tom Connery to lay down his mantle so easily, many were shocked when he accepted the position. Even more were shocked when he then ran for the Presidency. None were shocked when he was nearly unanimously elected into office. Connery served three successful terms as one of the Republic's most beloved heads of state before retiring in January of 2630 to return to his passion of interstellar exploration.
Shortly after Connery's retirement from the Presidency, a summit was held by a group known only as Business Forward. A private alliance between the CEOs of the solar system's largest corporations, Business Forward was created with the intention of navigating the increasingly treacherous waters of Terran Republic restrictions on private business. Though not by any means totalitarian, the Republic had progressively been involving itself more and more in the private sector, heightening standards and intervening in business practices, all—it assured its citizens—in the interest of the people. At this summit, the members of Business Forward agreed it was in their best interest to monitor the activity of former President Connery in order to benefit from his explorations. The group of CEOs suspected that Connery's sudden political ambitions were little more than a means to an end—an end that Connery had left safely hidden in the Moon Belt, where neither he nor anyone else could recover it without the resources only a former head of state could reasonably be expected to have. In order to not only force Connery's hand into requiring their help for his mission but also to create an entity capable of resisting the Terran Republic's mounting pressure on private businesses, Business Forward negotiated backroom deals with major banks, private security firms, and powerful labor unions across the solar system. This multi-industry consortium—dubbing themselves the New Conglomerate—would prove to be very effective in their aims, though not in a way they would expect.
Connery's return to the Moon Belt was not made alone. With him, he took a discreetly assembled team of tech experts, engineers, and scientists—chief among whom was the young but brilliant xenobiologist Henry Briggs—who were told they would have a hand in changing the course of human history. And while Connery may have had a penchant for hyperbole, he was no liar: When the crew returned to Earth, they did so with the first alien artifact ever discovered in hand. The very existence of this delicately carved alien figurine was the catalyst for a far-reaching space exploration boom; but after scouring the Moon Belt and exploring the solar system up to twice the distance of Pluto's former orbit, no additional artifacts were found.
Though some took this as an opportunity to question the original artifact's authenticity, there was never any doubt in the mind of Henry Briggs. Standing beside Connery when it was first excavated, he had been the first to touch the artifact after it was located in the mile-long moon fragment Connery had left behind more than fifteen years earlier. When he picked it up, Briggs, who suffered from an anti-social form of autism known as Asperger's, was given a vision; a vision of his past, his future, and the effects of his actions on others. For the first time, he felt the sensation of empathy for those who had tried to care for and about him, and when he snapped back to reality, he was left with only a single word ringing in his ears to explain his newfound awareness: Vanu. In Briggs' mind, it was Vanu who had shown him this vision—who had changed his life for the better—and it was Vanu, not the team who discovered the artifact, that would fulfill Connery's promise of changing the course of human history.
The Wormhole Expedition
In 2636, two years after the artifact's unveiling, Tom Connery approached the Terran Republic Senate and petitioned them for the funds to mount an exploratory mission through the wormhole, which, now predicted to open for about two weeks every 98.3 years, was scheduled to reopen on October 20, 2640. Though they doubted his ability to prepare for and reach the rift within four years, and even the wisdom of such an expedition at all, the Senate agreed to pay for the reconditioning of up to 200 ships—if Connery could produce the signatures of at least 75,000 volunteers for his mission within three weeks' time. More than a week ahead of schedule, Connery walked into the senate with over 300,000 signatures. They were the signatures of Terran Republic military enlistees looking for adventure; New Conglomerate executives, enforcers, and laborers looking for fame and fortune; and tech experts, engineers, and scientists—including Connery's close friend Henry Briggs—looking for the truth about alien life. On May 13, 2638, the anniversary of the Armistice that brought about the Terran Republic, Mission Commander Tom Connery and his fleet of 128 ships crewed by 75,000 volunteers launched from Earth, bound for the far side of the wormhole.
As predicted, the wormhole did indeed open on October 20, and Connery's expedition fleet was expecting it. What they weren't expecting was the wormhole's massive gravity well—as it took shape, the rift pulled the fleet's first wave into its depths and deposited them on the other side before its ships could even engage engines. As subsequent waves attempted to follow, however, the rift began to destabilize, and only some were able to pass through safely before the gravity well, closing completely, destroyed those ships still near it. In all, only 40,000 people of the initial expeditionary crew survived the ordeal. It didn’t take long for the survivors' relief at being alive to be quickly overshadowed by the realization that they were trapped on the far side of the universe with a mere fraction of their original supplies. And the wormhole, if it was to reopen at all after the stress placed upon it by the fleet, was not likely to make a return for another 98.3 years.
The Stranded Fleet
Connery and his fleet immediately set out to find a habitable planet on which they could seek refuge, but weeks gave way to months as scans of nearby star systems revealed no planets suitable for the terraformation process. Within six months, an increasingly frustrated population gave birth to an insurgency movement; first supplies and weapons began to go missing, and eventually deadly fighting broke out between the mercenary and civilian labor forces of the New Conglomerate and some of the Terran Republic military patrols tasked with the order and security of the fleet. Not all aboard were complicit in the violence, however. The more intellectually minded crew members—like Henry Briggs and his associates—generally involved themselves with their own, scientific pursuits. Henry in particular spent much of his time studying the artifact that had spoken to him so many years earlier, though he seldom mentioned that particular fact to anyone else aboard the fleet, and discussing it with his fellow enthusiasts. Tom Connery, meanwhile, was dealing with the delicate balance of security versus freedom aboard the fleet, strengthening curfews and intensifying military patrols against his own better judgment and desire to not control his already beleaguered people too tightly.
The fleet's dire political situation boiled to a head in January of 2642, when more than fifty insurgents assaulted the weapons depot aboard the military vessel Explorer-5 and then stormed and captured the bridge. Unable to negotiate with them, Connery issued the order to retake the bridge by force. The fighting was short, but intense; 70 people lost their lives, with all but a few of the insurgents killed in their desperate assault on the military vessel. It was unclear why, exactly, the insurgents chose to take the bridge of the Explorer-5. With the arms stolen from its weapons depot, they could have easily captured any smaller vessel in the fleet—but they instead chose one of the garrison ships for the fleet's military peacekeepers. Whatever their reasoning, the effect of their actions was the declaration of martial law, and an emergency vote on security measures. To Connery's dismay, he watched as the terrified denizens of the stranded fleet voted away their few remaining freedoms to secure themselves against the insurgency: Meetings of more than three non-family members were banned, and military presence was again increased aboard all ships. Determined to end the senseless violence, Connery called a secret meeting with representatives of the New Conglomerate aboard the Discovery-7 to discuss a path to peace.
The meeting took place, but what exactly was discussed—or whether a settlement had perhaps been made—was never found out. As Mission Commander Connery and the other participants prepared to disembark the Discovery-7, a massive explosion tore through the ship and killed all 592 people aboard.
In the wake of the disaster, Lieutenant Commander Brent Waterson was declared the Provisional Commander of the fleet, and another vote was put to the people: Investigate the disaster on a ship-by-ship basis, or form a fleetwide investigation that entitled the military to full emergency control of the fleet until those responsible were brought to justice. The vote was close, but ultimately those desperate for justice prevailed. The fleet was now under the unmitigated authority of Brent Waterson and the Terran Republic military.
Though most of their freedoms had been taken away, the security offered by the military's control was appreciated by many. The New Conglomerate—never officially linked to the insurgency—was begrudgingly compelled to cooperate or have its members shown to the nearest airlock. Scientists aboard the fleet worked endlessly under the constant supervision of the military who, by the end of that year, felt justified in its methods: They had discovered a planet suitable for terraforming within range of the fleet's sensors. Charting a course for this world, which they tentatively dubbed "New Earth", the fleet began to return to a sense of normality and stability. Though the peace was kept under the watchful eyes of expert marksmen, it was a peace nonetheless, and the stranded survivors of the wormhole catastrophe would eventually disembark on the surface of their new home.
The New Earth
Details on the period between the landing of the fleet and the current conflict are currently scarce. The planet, eventually re-christened Auraxis, proved to be a hospitable new home for the wormhole refugees, with varied climates and ecosystems not unlike those of Earth. It would prove, however, to not be without its secrets: Alien ruins were uncovered on the planet, and sometime in the year 2650, Henry Briggs discovered an artifact identical to that which he and Tom Connery had found in the Moon Belt sixteen years earlier. When he did, he received another vision—this time hearing the voice of Vanu speaking directly to him. Though what Briggs heard remains a mystery, it nonetheless caused a full-scale movement to form behind him and his research. Incredible technologies would come from the dedication of his followers; Briggs himself, however, would not be around to see their achievements. For unknown reasons, Henry Briggs took his own life in 2660, on the tenth anniversary of the second artifact’s discovery. In the wake of his death, the Vanu movement would flourish, keeping its discoveries secret from eyes it deemed unworthy of Vanu’s gifts. Increasingly obsessive over their research, the movement’s members were ostracized by much of society.
Meanwhile, the autocratic Terran Republic—now resembling the transparent democracy of Earth in name only—failed to rescind the curfews they had claimed would be only temporary aboard the fleet. Though forced, the security and stability the Republic provided did help to bring peace and prosperity to the fledgling Auraxian colony. In the eyes of the New Conglomerate, however, this was not enough. The ideals of free enterprise and open markets espoused by the former executives of Earth and their hired guns and workers changed over generations into a general desire for freedom from the iron rule of the Terran Republic, which grew stronger and more possessive with each passing decade. Towards the end of humanity’s second century on Auraxis, the New Conglomerate’s unrest began to take the form of worldwide protests against the Republic.
Eventually, what began as protests evolved into riots, armed skirmishes, and finally all-out war. On June 21, 2845, peace talks between the Terran Republic and New Conglomerate fell apart amidst conflicting reports of attacks in the Kaorr desert region of Auraxis, and armed conflict broke out. The Vanu, having long watched the two factions bemusedly from the sidelines, suddenly found themselves in a dire position: Wedged between two warring empires and on good terms with neither. With their options few and their allies fewer, they declared their independence as the Vanu Sovereignty and took up arms against their long time persecutors.
Conflict has now consumed the surface of Auraxis, where each faction’s control of territory and resources is tantamount to the destruction of its enemies. With no clear advantage going to any one side, the future of the human race on Auraxis has become as unclear as the planet’s all-too secretive past.
Timeline of Events
|November 28, 2345||An anomaly described as a "fracture in space" is discovered. It disappears weeks later, before exploratory probes can reach it to investigate.|
|January 18, 2426||Responding to intelligence indicating imminent and simultaneous attacks, Earth’s six greatest countries declare war on each other. The planet's major resources are used up in the ensuing conflict, and the fight intensifies over what little is left.|
|March 16, 2444||The space-fracture anomaly reappears, nearly 100 years after its original sighting. This time, probes are able to reach it and identify multispectral transmissions as they exit the fracture in the direction of earth. They are believed to be some form of scan issued from the other side, and are considered by many as a clear indication of intelligent alien life that is aware of humanity. When the fracture closes several weeks later, Pluto is inexplicably destroyed.|
|December 19, 2444||The existence of the wormhole is made public. In response to the news of an extra-terrestrial power that may have directly caused the destruction of Pluto, peace talks between the Earth's major powers begin.|
|May 13, 2445||World leaders sign the Armistice, bringing an end to the global war begun 19 years prior in 2426. Over the next several decades, borders fall and governments merge until all nations unite under a single entity known as the Terran Republic. Under the Declaration of Constancy, a council with representatives from every former nation is created and an executive system of elected Presidents begins.|
|July 3, 2542||The space-fracture, now commonly referred to as the wormhole, reopens exactly 98.3 years after its last appearance. No further emissions are detected, prompting some to question the veracity of the original reports a century prior. After several weeks, it vanishes again.|
|By June, 2582||Free from the fear of a powerful alien presence, colonial explorers have traveled the solar system and terraformed planets and their moons for human habitation.|
|2615||Explorer Tom Connery discovers the Moon Belt, a sparsely populated sub-section of the Kuiper Belt made up of the fragments of hundreds of destroyed moons—and the shattered remains of Pluto—extending from Neptune's orbit to beyond. His team discovers a distinctly unnatural signal emanating from a moon fragment, but lacks the equipment to pinpoint and investigate it and instead returns to Earth.|
|May 2618||Terran Republic Vice President Martin Harris dies of a heart attack, and renowned explorer Tom Connery is asked by President Sylvia Wyatt to fill the position for the remaining 6 months of her term. To the surprise of many, Connery accepts.|
|November 10, 2618||Terran Republic Vice President Tom Connery runs for and is elected to the office of President of the Terran Republic.|
|January 2630||Terran Republic President Tom Connery retires from office, after three successful four-year terms, and begins preparations to return to the Moon Belt.|
|February 14, 2630||Business Forward, an entity co-founded by the CEOs of some of the solar system's largest corporations, holds a summit at which the members agree to closely monitor the activity of former Terran Republic President Tom Connery.|
|July 30, 2630||The term "New Conglomerate" is coined as a reference to Business Forward's plan to unite major corporations, banks, labor unions, and private protection firms under a single banner to help combat the Terran Republic's restrictive policies towards the private sector.|
|March 4, 2631||Former Terran Republic President Tom Connery discreetly recruits noted xenobiologist Henry Briggs for his mission to the Moon Belt.|
|September 2632||Former Terran Republic President Tom Connery and xenobiologist Henry Briggs locate an alien carving emanating strange signals in the Moon Belt. Briggs touches the idol and claims to have received a vision that greatly changes him, but retains only one distinct memory from the event: the word "Vanu".|
|May 2634||Former Terran Republic President Tom Connery's second Moon Belt expedition returns to Earth and announces the discovery of an alien artifact: A delicately carved figurine. This discovery ushers in a new space exploration boom, bringing with it a host of advances in spacefaring technology and the exploration of the solar system up to twice the distance of Pluto's remains. No additional artifacts are found.|
|January 21, 2636||Tom Connery petitions the Terran Republic for resources to mount an exploratory mission through the wormhole—which scientists predict will reopen in 2640 and remain open for at least two weeks—using a volunteer crew. The Senate agrees to fund the expedition if he can enlist the requisite 75,000 volunteers within three weeks, by February 12.|
|February 3, 2636||Tom Connery presents signed affidavits containing more than 300,000 volunteers to the Terran Republic Senate. He is granted resources to recondition up to 200 ships for his mission through the wormhole.|
|May 13, 2638||An exploratory fleet of 128 ships, crewed by 75,000 volunteers and led by former Terran Republic President Tom Connery, launches from Earth, bound for the wormhole with the intention of exploring its far side. The fleet consists of Terran Republic military peacekeepers; New Conglomerate-affiliated corporation executives and their their hired enforcers and civilian labor force; and many scientists, engineers, and tech experts eager to learn more about the possibility of alien life.|
|October 20, 2640||Exactly as predicted, the wormhole reopens. The first wave of Connery's fleet, caught by the fracture's gravity well, is deposited on the far side of the wormhole before even engaging engines. Subsequent waves attempt to pass through but most are destroyed or unable to reach it as the wormhole destabilizes and closes. Ultimately, about 40,000 people—just over half of the initial force—are trapped on the far side of the wormhole in uncharted space.|
|March 2, 2641||Mission Commander Connery intensifies military patrols on board all vessels as insurgent activity aboard the fleet begins to escalate.|
|December 22, 2641||Mission Commander Connery institutes strict curfews as the insurgency grows bolder and several deaths occur due to fighting.|
|January 2, 2642||A group of 53 insurgents assaults the weapons depot aboard military vessel Explorer-5 and uses the stolen arms to take the bridge. Commander Connery orders an armed response, reclaiming the bridge at the expense of 70 lives. In response, martial law is declared and an emergency vote taken on security measures. The vote to extend military presence and ban gatherings larger than three people passes.|
|January 6, 2642||Immediately following negotiations between the fleet's leadership and representatives of the insurgency, the ship on which they are meeting—the Discovery-7—is destroyed, taking the lives of all 592 aboard including Mission Commander Tom Connery and Colonel Richmond Morgannis. Lieutenant Commander Brent Waterson is named Provisional Commander.|
|January 7, 2642||A vote is again taken on security measures to be enacted. The vote to give the military emergency powers and full fleet control passes by a margin of 2%. Provisional Commander Waterson assumes full military authority over the fleet.|
|April 10, 2642||A planet capable of terraformation is discovered by fleet scientists. Dubbed "New Earth", the fleet charts a course toward it with an estimated arrival of January, 2643.|
|2643||The fleet, adrift for roughly 3 years arrives at New Earth and begins the process of terraforming and colonizing the world.|
|2650||Xenobiologist Henry Briggs discovers an alien artifact identical to the one he discovered alongside former Terran Republic President Tom Connery in 2634. He receives another vision and becomes the first human to be directly spoken to by an alien species.|
|2660||For unknown reasons, xenobiologist Henry Briggs commits suicide.|
|June 21, 2845||The Terran Republic and New Conglomerate begin full-scale war after peace talks are interrupted by confusing reports of armed conflict in the Kaorr desert region. The followers of Vanu declare themselves an independent Sovereignty and declare war on all those who oppose their views.|
All of the above information has been pulled from various story-related articles on the official PlanetSide 2 newsfeed which has been organized and stored in the Lore Archive here on the wiki. For additional insight into the world of PlanetSide 2, we recommend visiting the newsfeed or archive and reading the lore articles found there.
If you are interested in reading unofficial Planetside 2 lore written by players, then you can find short stories and additions to the lore at the Planetside Universe fan fiction forums or at the Planetside 2 lore subreddit.