At Seattle’s PAX 2010, Red 5 Studios became the unsuspected powerhouse when they revealed Firefall to critical acclaim. By looks alone, the game showed promise. It may well bringing hardcore console gamers into the PC fold. What make this FPS-TPS hybrid shooter so exciting are several key factors:
- The game is an MMO with a super expansive and beautifully rendered world (see slideshow),
- the MMO will include both PVP (Player Versus Player) and PVE (Player Versus Environment) gameplay,
- Running the show is Mark Kern, CEO, chief creative officer and one of the leaders behind MMO smash World of Warcraft, and
- Firefall will be totally free to play once it is released late 2011.
If that wasn’t enough to sway you, the gang at Red 5 Studios held an IRC panel today to shed more light on the details. Lead designer, Scott ‘Cornboy’ Youngblood kicked things off by letting gamers in on how the game’s Shared Intelligence System (SIN) works. Think of it like the UAV perk in Call of Duty.
SIN “is a system where players share their ‘senses’ with other players to call out potential enemies … Information warfare! You can also suppress information with the right abilities and equipment.”
While the Call of Duty's UAV perk is mainly used in multiplayer, SIN will be more integral in Firefall. “We will also leverage SIN for PVE encounters as well. Playing PVE/PVP should feel like you’re playing the same game … not a completely different one.” If anything, Red 5 definitely has put a lot of thought and development time in the experience and feel of Firefall’s combat.
Red 5’s executive producer, James ‘Thrasher’ Macauley added, “We’re super pumped about Firefall PVP. We’re making PVP very competitive. We’re specifically designing encounters to support cooperative team-based play for squads or armies to go head-to-head with others. A back bone to this experience will be the ranking system and army stats … Along with this you’ll be able to enroll in tournaments and leagues.”
There will be plenty of challenge in Firefall from the endless amount of missions to PVP/PVE instances. Interestingly enough, they won't be scripted. “Attacks like the one on dredge [see gameplay] are not set to a fixed timer … they are influenced by what the players are doing out in the world,” said Cornboy. In other words, the game reacts to the player as much as the player reacts to the game – as opposed to heavy-handed scripted events commonplace in other MMOs (which will remain nameless).
Firefall will definitely reward you for overcoming these challenges with achievements, skins and gear upgrades. In effort to keep things balanced, however, none of the upgrades you earn or buy through the in-game market will overpower other players. According to Cornboy, “[s]ince Firefall has a strong PVP focus, we want gear to be compelling but not an I win button. Gear design centers will give the player more options while in combat but the player is still largely responsible for making the shot.”
Among the other juicy tidbits, Cornboy and Thrasher revealed some interesting things about the studio. Red 5 still hold their Tiki Bar Fridays and Mark Kern is still a Mac fanboy. Ironically, Firefall will be released only on the Windows OS at first in 2011, eventually moving to cover the OSX. They didn’t give a date as to when that move will happen, however.
Are you sold, yet? Do you need a little more, or are you just curious? You can find the transcript of the entire panel here. *Note some of the transcript was altered in this article for grammatical and syntax purposes.
What are your thoughts on the Free 2 Play model? What are your thoughts on Firefall? Leave a comment below! Don’t forget to follow Video Game Culture on Facebook and Twitter!