Red 5 Studios
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Red 5 Studios
Firefall
Firefall logo.png
Developer(s) Red 5 Studios
Publisher(s) Red 5 Studios
Garena
Designer(s) Scott Youngblood
Scott Rudi
Writer(s) Scott Burgess
Mark Kern
Orson Scott Card
Tim Macauley
Sean Chapman
James B. Jones
Richard Pearsey
Composer(s) Michael Bross
Boon Sim
Engine Offset Software Edit this on Wikidata
Platform(s) Microsoft Windows
Release
  • WW: July 29, 2014
Genre(s) Massively multiplayer online
First-person shooter
Third-person shooter
Mode(s) Multiplayer

Firefall was a science fiction free-to-play massive multiplayer online open world shooter by Red 5 Studios which was released on July 29, 2014.[1] Officially announced September 8, 2010 at the Penny Arcade Expo in Seattle,[2] the game entered closed beta in 2011[3] and open beta in 2013.[4] It was the first game to be developed by Red 5 Studios,[5] and combines elements from both the shooter genre and some role-playing aspects from the massive multiplayer online genre.[6] The game was shut down on July 7, 2017.[7]

Gameplay

Classes

Players wear power armor, called Battleframes, that grants health regeneration, jump jets, and a retractable pair of wings that allows players to glide. Each Battleframe has a unique main weapon, a standard secondary weapon, a set of three unique abilities, and a fourth special ability that charges while the player is in combat. There are five main types of Battleframes:

Assault 
Area damage raider whose abilities focus on movement and damage as opposed to defense or support.
Biotech 
Combat medic that can use its weapons and abilities to heal friendly players or poison hostile ones.
Dreadnaught 
Heavily armored tank whose main weapon is used to apply suppressive fire and whose abilities are largely defensive.
Engineer 
Combat engineer that can use its abilities to deploy turrets and shields, support friendly players, and hold fixed positions.
Recon 
Single-target damage sniper whose abilities focus on stealth and support in the form of damage and ammo boosts.

The player begins with the standard issue version of each of the five types of Battleframes, and can change between them freely. Players level up by completing missions and collect equipment from downed enemies to further enhance their Battleframe's attributes or to add entirely new features to their weapons and abilities. Upon fully leveling their Battleframe, the player is awarded a token that allows them to unlock an Advanced Battleframe with additional specialized weapons and abilities.[8]

Game mechanics

Much of the combat is influenced by Tribes, a game the lead designer worked on previously, and centers around the use of jump jets. This feature adds a third dimension to combat that allows the player remain in the air for long periods of time and to quickly travel to the tops of buildings.[9] A retractable pair of wings further enhances the emphasis on the third-dimension as players are able to dive-bomb enemy positions or quickly escape hazardous situations.[8]

In PvE zones, the player can engage in: dynamically generated missions and events that spawn at fixed locations throughout the open world, procedurally generated encounters that spawn at the player's location, on-demand missions that the player choose when and where to spawn, and world events that bring players together either to fight off the game's antagonist or to participate in group activities. The core goal of these missions is to allow the player to level up and acquire resources and equipment. Friendly fire and PvP combat is disabled by default, but a player can declare a duel with another player and engage in PvP combat.[10]

Once the player has fully leveled their Battleframe, the player can then choose to engage in: an open world PvP zone to collect additional resources, or max-level zones and instanced missions where they bring the fight to the game's main antagonist in large scale battles. These missions also push the game's narrative forward as most of the story is told through instanced missions. At this point, the player's core goal changes from leveling up and acquiring resources and equipment to fighting to keep the player's playable zones from falling to the game's antagonist and acquiring notoriety in the game's competitive leader boards.[10]

The game servers automatically creates or shuts down the number of available shards in order to prevent overcrowding in the game world. The spawn rate of missions is likewise adjusted to scale with the number of players online to prevent the players from getting bored or overwhelmed. Firefall's servers use cloud computing through Amazon Web Services to scale the number of servers to fit demand, automatically acquiring more CPU and memory during peak hours and releasing them when they are no longer needed.[11]

Social

The game server places players on shards where they are most likely to become a part of an online community by prioritizing shards with the player's friends and clanmates. If the player is not a part of a clan or does not have any friends available, the server tries to place the player on the same shard for each of their gameplay sessions in order build familiarity with the other players who happen to share the same play-space. Players can jump between shards by joining squads with friends or clanmates.[10][12]

The game has a player driven economy with features designed to deter gold farming.[13] The game client directly interfaces with Twitch, which allow players to stream their play sessions without requiring a third-party application.[14][15]

Synopsis

Backstory

The Firefall is an event that takes place in 2178 after an asteroid predicted to be a near miss gets caught by the Moon's gravity and crashes into Earth. The catastrophe plummets mankind into a dark age known as the Nine Year Winter and many large governments, including that of the United States, collapse. During the dark age, scientists discover a new substance called Crystite from the asteroid fragments. Found to be a powerful energy source, Crystite fuels the reconstruction and a new golden age of mankind.[1] Despite the seemingly unlimited potential of Crystite, mankind wanted more and followed the trajectory of the Asteroid to Alpha Prime, a star system in Alpha Centauri. With the first massive loads of Crystite arriving from Alpha Prime, the governments of Earth, unified under The Accord, began construction of the Arclight, a warship that achieves faster-than-light travel by folding space in a process known as Arcfolding. The purpose of the Arclight was to prevent a potential revolt on Alpha Prime that would cripple Earth's economy due to mankind's reliance on Crystite.[1] As the Arclight began its first attempt at faster-than-light travel in 2233, its large engines rips a hole in space that allows the Melding, an extra-dimensional energy storm, to emerge. Unable to complete the Arcfold, the Arclight crashes outside of Fortaleza, Brazil. The Melding engulfs most of Earth with the exception of areas near and surrounding the wreckage of the Arclight, now used as a base by The Accord, with its engines being used to keep the Melding at bay.[1]

Setting

The playable story takes place four years after the Arclight's attempt to fold space, known as M-Day. The Melding has transformed Earth, mutating the wildlife and reshaping the landscape. The Melding is lethal to the player, which keeps the player constrained to the playable area. The player assumes the role of a mercenary working for The Accord. Crystite acts as an in-game currency that is rewarded to the player for completing missions.[8]

The main antagonist is the Chosen, who appear to be humans transformed by the Melding. Secondary antagonists include: Bandits, humans who refuse to join the Accord; Aranhas, an invasive spider-like insectoid accidentally brought over from Alpha Prime; and wildlife transformed by the Melding. The players' main objective is to aid in mankind's survival and to ultimately defeat the Chosen and repel the Melding.[1]

Development

Engine

Firefall uses a custom server and graphics engine with its renderer based on Offset Engine by Offset Software that was sold to Intel in February 2008. Offset Engine was originally built for Offset Software's first person shooter Project Offset that was cancelled in 2010 by Intel due to the failure of Larrabee.[10]Red 5 Studios relationship with Project Offset gave them full access to source code, which they heavily modified to suit their needs.[16] Modifications to the Offset Engine include a custom texture streaming engine, a character and terrain system designed to handle hundreds of players in a large open world, a vegetation and prop system, custom lighting and FX, and integration of Havok Physics onto the server-side. The server code is built in-house.[17]

Beta

Firefall was under development for over five years with its title undergoing several internal name changes before it was officially announced on September 3, 2010 at the Penny Arcade Expo in Seattle where it received high praise.[2] The game became available to the public for the first time at PAX East 2011 where Red 5 held a live multiplayer tournament.[18] The game entered its first closed beta test on September 2, 2011,[3] and began continuous 24/7 closed beta testing on April 2, 2012 with the NDA being dropped April 6 during PAX East 2012.[19] The game began monetization on August 24, 2012 allowing players to purchase cosmetic items and time compression bonuses that allows players to level up more quickly.[20] A founders pack that allowed players to purchase access to the closed beta was offered on August 28, 2012.[21]

During this time game announced $1 million in prize money for its PvP tournament throughout 2013 in order to stimulate its eSports program.[22] The game entered open beta on July 9, 2013.[4] After meeting limited success with its eSports Program, instanced PvP was removed from the game and none of the previously announced $1 million was paid out to the players.[23]Firefall has made numerous changes to its core systems throughout its beta phase: iterating on different progression systems, trying different economic models, and testing different implementations of its mission types and back-end server technologies.[24] The open beta ended on July 29, 2014 with the game being released on Steam or through an in house installer.[1]

Art style

The art style in Firefall is primarily inspired by Masamune Shirow's Appleseed, Hayao Miyazaki, and Udon Entertainment's Street Fighter.[25]

Audio

The Firefall Original Soundtrack was composed by Michael Bross and Boon Sim during beta with Chris Lord & JJ Lee composing additional soundtracks for the game's release.[1]

Firefall Original Soundtrack
Soundtrack album by Boon Sim, Michael Bross, Chris Lord, JJ Lee
Released July 14, 2014 (2014-07-14) (Digital)
Genre Video game soundtrack
Length 46:01
No. Title Music Length
1. "The Arclight" Boon Sim 4:07
2. "ARES 35" Michael Bross 2:27
3. "Elegy" Boon Sim 2:57
4. "Lost in New Eden" Boon Sim 3:00
5. "Welcome to Earth" Michael Bross 4:32
6. "Gear Up" Boon Sim 0:59
7. "Fight Or Flight" Michael Bross 3:04
8. "The Devil's Tusk" Chris Lord & JJ Lee 5:04
9. "Building A World" Boon Sim 2:56
10. "Coral Forest Burning" Michael Bross 2:26
11. "Only the Strong" Boon Sim 2:30
12. "We Are All That Is Left" Chris Lord & JJ Lee 5:01
13. "Sunken Harbor" Michael Bross 3:00
14. "The Accord" Michael Bross 3:21

Developer

Red 5 Studios
Subsidiary of The9
Industry Video game industry
Founded 2005
Defunct 2016
Headquarters Irvine, California, United States

Red 5 Studios was an American computer game company that was known for its high ratio of former employees of Blizzard Entertainment. The founders previously worked on World of Warcraft.[26]Mark Kern was a team lead, William Petras was art director, and Taewon Yun was part of the company's Korean operation which oversaw the launch of World of Warcraft in Asia. The company's only game release was Firefall.

History

In early 2007, Red 5 Studios launched a campaign to increase the size of the organization by recruiting the top game developers in the industry. Citing a lack of success using conventional recruiting methods, Red 5 turned to San Francisco-based Pool and Orange County-based Airbag Industries, to help them send a personalized recruiting pitch to each of the 100 prospective hires. In early February, the project was completed, and each of the "dream hires" was delivered a package containing 5 nested art boxes, with an iPod Shuffle containing a personalized message in the center. As of June 2007, three of the candidates had joined Red 5, and a fourth was being interviewed.[27]

On April 23, 2009, Red 5 Studios announced the closing of their Shanghai office.[28] In January 2010 Red 5 laid off about 30 people.[29] In March 2010 it was revealed that Chinese company The9 has acquired a majority stake in Red 5.[30]

On September 8, 2010, Red 5 Studios revealed Firefall at PAX Prime in Seattle, Washington. In July 2011, Red 5 announced a collaboration with Orson Scott Card, author of the science fiction novel Ender's Game, as writer of the Firefall story as well as the creation of a manga novel co-written by his daughter Emily Janice Card and drawn by Joe Ng.[31] In August, 2011 after PAX Prime, Red 5 began closed beta testing on Firefall.

On September 30, 2011 it was announced that Red 5 Singapore, a wholly owned subsidiary of The9, would substitute Webzen for publishing in all of the countries worldwide other than the United States, Canada and European countries.[32] On October 21, 2011 Chinese company The9 established Red 5 Singapore to handle game operations in Asia.[33]

Red 5 Studios pulled support from 2012 E3 in protest of the ESA's support of SOPA and PIPA. Mark Kern instead created League for Gamers with the fifty thousand dollars intended to be spent on E3.[34]

Red 5 announced it is to open a new 30-man office in Cork, Ireland, initially dedicated to European support and localization for the upcoming free-to-play shooter Firefall.[35]

On December 20, 2013, Red 5 Board of Directors voted out Mark Kern of CEO position, Kern was the last of Red 5?s four founders with the company, all of whom formerly worked at Blizzard Entertainment.[36]

On May 26, 2015, Chris Whiteside, the former lead producer of ArenaNet on Guild Wars, then the design director for Guild Wars 2, attended an interview as a member of Red 5 Studios, stated "We've been through the fire, and we've grown close. These guys (Red 5 Studios) have bonded into a truly collaborative business, and our overall plan is to become the best online world building studio in the business. We know what people remember from our checkered past, but we know we can prove we've come through the fire and controversy ready and raring." [37]

Red 5 Studios in November 2015 laid off 40 employees (including Chris Whiteside) and several more in December 2015.[38] On December 25, 2015 many employees did not receive their paycheck instead receiving a letter: "Hi Team, I regret to inform you that Red5 currently does not have the funds necessary to meet our payroll scheduled for today Friday, December 25. Due to this, there will not be payroll paid this week. Red5 and The9, our parent company, is currently working to resolve this, during the holidays, as soon as possible. We are hopeful we'll be able to resolve this and will update the team immediately."[38]

In July 2016,[39] all of the Red5 development team, including the community manager FadedPez, had been fired. There were no official statements regarding the future of Firefall from The9, but it was confirmed that the servers were still on, however the authenticating servers for new players were not. As of July 7, 2017, the servers were officially shut down.[40]

Red 5 have announced that development of a mobile version of Firefall has begun.

Reception

Reception
Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings (PC) 54.80%[41]
Metacritic (PC) 60/100[42]

Firefall launched in 2014 to mixed reviews primarily criticizing the quest design as repetitive and lackluster group play mechanics, as well as slow world-travel between areas. Contrasting this, it has been praised for its friendly player community and visually pleasing panoramic areas.

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Firefall Official Website". Red 5 Studios. Retrieved 2014. 
  2. ^ a b Buchanan, Levi (3 September 2010). "Firefall Sets Pax Alight: Red 5 is just giving it away". IGN. Retrieved 2014. 
  3. ^ a b "Firefall Beta is Go!". Red 5 Studios. 2 September 2011. Retrieved 2011. 
  4. ^ a b "Firefall opens up on july 9th". Red 5 Studios. 18 April 2013. Retrieved 2013. 
  5. ^ "Our Games". Official Red 5 Studios. Red 5 Studios. Retrieved 2014. 
  6. ^ VanOrd, Kevin (8 July 2014). "MMO Shooter Firefall is (Finally) Almost Out. Here's What to Expect". GameSpot. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 2014. 
  7. ^ http://www.red5studios.com/2017/07/firefall-closure-announcement/
  8. ^ a b c Red 5 Studios (29 July 2014). Firefall. PC. Red 5 Studios, Garena. Scene: New User Introduction. 
  9. ^ Tito, Greg (7 April 2012). "Lead Designer: Firefall Is the Evolution of Tribes". The Escapist. Defy Media. Retrieved 2014. 
  10. ^ a b c d "Firefall Live - Special Tiki Edition". YouTube. Red 5 Studios. 4 June 2013. Retrieved 2014. 
  11. ^ Gazimoff (20 February 2013). "FireFall: From the Clouds". Zam. Zam Network. Retrieved 2014. 
  12. ^ "Red 5 Studios FireFall Pre-Launch Interview w/ James Macauley". MMOhuts. 12 July 2014. Retrieved 2014. 
  13. ^ Kern, Mark "Grummz" (21 July 2013). "Why Can't We Have P2P Trade?". Firefall Official Forums. Red 5 Studios. Retrieved 2014. 
  14. ^ McGrath, Tori (13 February 2014). "Firefall Gets One Click Twitch Streaming". GameBreaker.tv. GameBreaker Media Group. Retrieved 2014. 
  15. ^ Makuch, Eddie (13 February 2014). "Twitch support coming to Firefall: Video company partners with Red 5 Studios to bring real-time streaming to free-to-play PC MMO shooter". GameSpot. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 2014. 
  16. ^ Macauley, James "Thrasher" (12 September 2010). "Red 5, Why the Game Engine Over Others?". Firefall Official Forums. Red 5 Studios. Retrieved 2014. 
  17. ^ Kern, Mark "Grummz" (31 July 2011). "Offset Engine". Firefall Official Forums. Red 5 Studios. Retrieved 2014. 
  18. ^ Dee (8 February 2011). "Firefall Multiplayer Demo available at PAX East". Vgrevolution.com. Retrieved 2014. 
  19. ^ Dewald, Matt "Phobos" (29 March 2012). "An Open Letter to Our Testers". Red 5 Studios. Retrieved 2012. 
  20. ^ "Firefall Patch - Store Launch - v0.5.1432". YouTube. Red 5 Studios. 24 August 2012. Retrieved 2014. 
  21. ^ Reahard, Jef (28 August 2014). "Firefall reveals founder's packages, special deals available at PAX". Massively. AOL. Retrieved 2014. 
  22. ^ Martuk (16 August 2012). "Red 5 Supports Firefall eSports in 2013 with $1 Million in Prize Money". TenTonHammer.com. Master Games International. Retrieved 2014. 
  23. ^ Kern, Mark (12 September 2013). "An Important Letter about PvP". Red 5 Studios. Retrieved 2014. 
  24. ^ "Patch Notes". Firefall Official Forums. Red 5 Studios. Retrieved 2014. 
  25. ^ Downloadable Firefall Concept Art Booklet. Red 5 Studios. 14 July 2014. p. 2. 
  26. ^ Interview with Mark Kern (Red 5 Studios), Game Tycoon
  27. ^ Covel, Simona, "Start-Up Lures Talent with Creative Pitch", Wall Street Journal, June 4, 2007. accessed September 20, 2007
  28. ^ http://www.red5studios.com/en/news/2009/04/23/red-5-to-focus-growth-in-us-office/ The Tribe Grows
  29. ^ http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/26960/Source_Red_5_Studios_Lays_Off_Workers.php Source: Red 5 Studios Lays Off Workers
  30. ^ The9 Limited Announces Acquisition of Majority Interest in Red 5 Studios, Red 5 Studios
  31. ^ "Orson Scott Card and Red 5 Team Up to Pen the Story of Firefall". July 1, 2011. 
  32. ^ [1]. The9 substitutes Webzen for Asian Publishing
  33. ^ [2], Red 5 Singapore
  34. ^ Scimeca, Dennis (January 18, 2012). "Why one game developer is skipping E3 to start an anti-SOPA crusade". Ars Technica. 
  35. ^ Martin, Matt (May 30, 2012). "Irish Government helps attract Red 5's new European office". Gameindustry.biz. 
  36. ^ Hornshaw, Phil (December 20, 2013). "BREAKING: Red 5 Board Votes Out Co-Founder Mark Kern As CEO". GameFront. 
  37. ^ Murphy, William (May 26, 2015). "Interviews: The Future of Red 5 with Chris Whiteside". MMORPG.com. 
  38. ^ a b "Sources: Game Studio Red 5 Misses Payroll On Christmas". Kotaku. Retrieved . 
  39. ^ https://twitter.com/FadedPez/status/757697647075467264 |title= Faded Pez July 25, 2016 Twitter: No longer with Red 5 as of today
  40. ^ http://www.red5studios.com/2017/07/firefall-closure-announcement
  41. ^ "Firefall for PC". GameRankings. Retrieved . 
  42. ^ "Firefall for PC Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved . 

External links


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