Remember Firefall, Red 5's sci-fi shooter MMO? It's finally dead.
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To grind or not to grind? For Red5's long-gestating Firefall, that is very much the question. As a game that is both massively multiplayer and free to play, Firefall is squeezed on both sides by the need to stretch, pad and otherwise elongate the player's journey in order to keep them playing - and hopefully get them paying.
It's also a game that has made huge advances since I last checked in on it this time last year. Back then, it was a sort of formless mush of potentially interesting ideas, let down by baggy pacing and distractingly complex systems. In the intervening 12 months, and with the game now officially launched, those ideas have come into better focus, and while there are still issues with pace, balance and fiddly bits, it's finally a game that is enjoyable to play.
You still play as an ARES operative, a mercenary plying your trade on a future Earth forever changed by a terrible meteor impact, a tragic accident in which the first "arc-folding" deep space vessel crashes into Brazil, and the subsequent opening of a dimensional rift called The Melding through which pours a zealous alien army called The Chosen. Keeping the peace is The Accord (everything starts with "The" in Firefall) and it's this UN-style organisation you'll be doing most of your work for.
Californian developer Red 5 has axed 10 per cent of its staff ahead of the release of MMO shooter Firefall.
Let me tell you a story. A giant meteor strikes the Earth, huge chunks of it raining down across the globe, while yet more remains in orbit, continually showering the planet with more alien space rock. Our world is changed forever, plunged into nine years of darkness. But that's not what Firefall is about.
It turns out that these meteor fragments contain something called Crystite, an element with boundless energy potential. Using Crystite, the human race is able to overcome the aftermath of the meteor's impact and create spaceships capable of reaching Alpha Centauri, the origin of the meteor. A colony is established on Alpha Prime to mine Crystite and ship it back home. But that's not what Firefall is about.
Fearing rebellion from the colonists, which would cut off the supply of precious Crystite, the united governments of Earth develop something called "arcfolding" - a technology that allows matter to be transported between planets in a matter of months, rather than years. However, the test flight of the first city-sized arcfolding craft, the Arclight, goes horribly wrong and it crashes into Brazil, wiping out millions. But that's not what Firefall is about.
Free-to-play FPS Firefall will launch into open beta on 9th July, developer Red 5 Studios has announced.
The open-world shooter's closed beta will continue to be updated until then, with "major milestones" planned for May and July.
It follows earlier public beta "stress tests" that allowed core systems and server technology to be established.
Highly anticipated free-to-play FPS Firefall will be open to the general public - i.e. with no beta key required - for the first time this weekend as part of its first of three "stress tests" to see how well the servers handle being swarmed.
The first Stress Test will run from 25th January at 6pm GMT to 28th January 8am PST. The remaining two are planned for sometime in February and March.
Each Stress Test will be accompanied by a community unlock and exclusive contests to teach new players about the game. This first one will contain a video skillshot contest, where players are encouraged to record and submit an epic skillshot video for a chance to win some Firefall swag and Razer gear. There will also be a screencap contest to take a picutre of the most stylish skillshot, which will then be featured on the Firefall Facebook page. The community unlock will be an exclusive, customised Battleframe decal.
Outspoken ex-World of Warcraft lead and CEO of Firefall developer Red 5 Studios Mark Kern has railed against current consoles and remains skeptical of their successors, yet he's interested in developing for Ouya.
Upcoming free-to-play shooter Firefall has made a myriad of substantial changes to its design and mechanics, developer Red 5 Studios has announced.
Nearly everything from the way level progression works, to special abilities, load out customisation, mining and crafting, the way shooting feels and hit-box detection have been radically altered, as detailed on the official blog.
"The internal joke is it's more like Firefall 2," said Red 5 CEO Mark Kern in a Skype interview with Eurogamer earlier today.
System requirements for free-to-play PC shooter Firefall are in the wild.
See below for developer Red 5's relatively manageable list of demands:
The humble home video game console and the traditional publisher-led model that supports it is on its last legs, so says Firefall creator and former World of Warcraft lead Mark Kern, with developer-centric free-to-play titles waiting in the wings to replace them.
More content for MMO shooter as community unlocks.
New project from ex-Blizzard staff at Red 5 Studios.
Red 5 Studios, the company set up by former World of Warcraft team lead Mark Kern, has unveiled its first game.
Titled Firefall, it's described as "a team-based action shooter that thrusts hundreds of players together into a lush, dynamic open world combining intense competitive multiplayer and large-scale cooperative gameplay".
The game is set 200 years in the future. In a bid to find a clean energy source called Crystite, a hostile energy storm known as the Melding is unleashed. With the planet all mashup, the surviving humans must band together to continue the species and fight against new, bloodthirsty race The Chosen.