World of Warcraft Experience Hurt Firefall Development

World of Warcraft Experience Hurt Firefall Development

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Red 5 Studios CEO Mark Kern revealed that his previous job as team lead on World of Warcraft was actually detrimental to team-based online shooter Firefall.

Red 5 Studios was out at PAX East 2011 showing off Firefall, an upcoming online team-based shooter set in a persistent world. Red 5 CEO Mark Kern is known as a games industry veteran and previous team lead on World of Warcraft, which you'd think would only be a positive thing for his current project. However, he told us that moving from an online RPG to an online shooter was a harder transition that you might think.

Today, Red 5 is developing Firefall as a third and first-person shooter experience with more customization and features than the genre typically receives, not as an RPG/shooter like Borderlands. Kern said that his time working on World of Warcraft may have actually hurt Firefall in the beginning of development because Red 5 put together mechanics slightly more on the RPG end that "just didn't work." Luckily, Red 5 realized this, and are shaping Firefall into something that makes more sense.

I got some hands-on time with Firefall at PAX East and it's definitely a game that shooter fans looking for a little more depth should anticipate. Kern explained that the game's persistent world will feature many different quests to complete and lots of loot to pickup. While this part of the game won't feature player-versus-player, the world's zones are instanced when you want to take on other humans.

These instances start players in a base where they can choose from three different types of classes- an assault-type, recon-type, and medic-type - which are fully customizable with various types of pickups in both PvP and PvE. Each have their own weapon styles that are complimented by unique skills. For example, the recon-type comes equipped with a sniper rifle that can tag enemies with mines from afar, shoot freeze bullets, and more. Other class abilities include an up close area-of-effect ground smash and, of course, the medic can heal.

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On the contrary, World of Warcraft may have positively inspired Firefall's level design. I was only able to try out one environment, a tropical island area with a busted up boardwalk, pools of water, and other colorful features, but the map was a far cry from the rusty, industrial environments of other shooters. It was like a battle vacation.

Kern added that while putting tons of players in one area might be fun, Red 5 determined that smaller skirmishes are sometimes even better. I tried a 5v5 match and the variation of class abilities combined with drops that might give players a cloak or similar bonus made Firefall feel like the unique type of shooter Red 5 is going for, because I was never just running around with an automatic weapon on blast. Instead, I was judging which attacks would be best to use in various situations, jetpacking to a safe spot to snipe from afar, or dashing over to a fallen ally to save him (which can deny the other team a kill).

The combination of shooter-focused gameplay with a persistent world in which Kern said Red 5 is doing its best to implement quests that are more than just "kill X space marines" has potential to lead to an extremely fun and deep action-based experience with MMO elements. The final product could appeal to MMO fans sick of pressing a key to watch themselves attack a bear over an over, and shooter fans bored with simply fragging lots of noobs.

Firefall will be free-to-play and supported by an in-game marketplace. It's expected for release on the PC in 2011.

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This actually seems like an interesting project. Not too sure what the giant world would add to all this though.

I heard the game is going to be a free download? I didn't get to play it while at pax but it did look great!

I seems like every single genre is going to incorporate some kind of RPG element within them...

Not a bad thing if done right. And this project seems interesting.

F2P? WHAT!?
Insta...Download, I guess.
I'm just wondering if it's a MMOFPS with thousands of players in one world OR more like Borderlands with PvP?

I would much rather see a company make the mistake of "too much like wow" in the beginning stages of development and realize their mistake, than decide their game is not enough like WoW sometime after launch.

LOL, I can see it really.

I don't understand, the lead designer is blaming his design on the fact that he worked on a different game beforehand? Sounds to me like he went overboard on the RPG elements, his team told him it isn't going to work, and he's deflecting it.

Not sure what to think of this, it seems like the exact opposite of what you want to say when hyping a game.

Alexridiculous:
I don't understand, the lead designer is blaming his design on the fact that he worked on a different game beforehand? Sounds to me like he went overboard on the RPG elements, his team told him it isn't going to work, and he's deflecting it.

Not sure what to think of this, it seems like the exact opposite of what you want to say when hyping a game.

Not necessarily. When you work on one style for several years, you tend to get stuck in that mindset, so when he lead his new team on something that isn't an RPG, he only thought in terms of an RPG, rather than a shooter. Hopefully the game is good.

I do think it sounds really cool. I like the persistent aspect of TF2 a lot, and I would love to try it out in a bigger world.

I am seriously not surprised. WoW is a MMO god. Faring up to that (And TF2 for that matter) is going to be a hard act.

What's with the use of the word 'persistent'? It seems like the wrong word for what's actually meant.

I saw the gameplay trailer when it was released last year, it looked pretty damn cool. I may try it out, and the free to play is just icing on the cake.

It's not my thing but it is an interesting direction in design and art.

This looks like a really interesting game and seeing "Free" in there guarantees that I'll at least download it and give it a try. Looking forward to this, the game actually looks pretty sweet. I just hope the marketplace doesn't sell totally unbalanced weapons or I'll end up wasting money on it.

Tl;dr: Bad designer who was probably kicked out of other company for a reason still has bad design ideas, blames old employer for corrupting his mind.

Wait, wait, wait.... a PC only game? There might be a god after all! Its about time the PC community got something more than later release dates and buggy releases.

 

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