F.E.A.R. Online, the free-to-play multiplayer shooter, will actually be a F.E.A.R.-free experience.
F.E.A.R. Online was announced back in July and quickly led to questions about how a free-to-play online shooter could capture the tension and moments of outright horror that made the original F.E.A.R. so good. With the F.E.A.R. Online website now fully live, it appears that the answer is quite simply, "It won't." There will be low lights and "grotesque monsters" and probably a quick cinematic here and there, but the focus on multiplayer action means that the opportunity (if you want to call it that) to slowly creep down a blackened hall with nothing to back you up but a faint hope that Alma isn't standing behind you is pretty much out the window.
Speaking of out the window, F.E.A.R. Online will also be entirely lacking in F.E.A.R. - as in First Encounter Assault Recon, the elite military unit that gave the franchise its title. It's not entirely surprising - F.E.A.R. 2 was about a Delta team and F.E.A.R. 3 was all Point Man/Paxton Fettel - but neither would it be unreasonable to assume that you would play as a F.E.A.R. operative in a game called F.E.A.R. Online.
But no! The competing factions in the game are ATC Security, which has morphed from a gang of high-priced rent-a-cops to an "elite black ops team," and an unnamed "new military tactical unit comprised of soldiers with psionic abilities." The new guys are here to acquire Armacham's secrets while the ATC goon squad wants to cover it all up, and of course both teams will have to deal with all the paranormal monstrosities turned loose by the recent unpleasantness.
It doesn't really sound very F.E.A.R.-like, but hey, F.E.A.R. hasn't been F.E.A.R. since F.E.A.R. You dig? It might turn out to be a competent online shooter, but we won't found out for awhile yet: Signups for the closed beta are still being taken. Want in on the action? Hit up fearonline.aeriagames.com.