Indie studio Red 5 has brought in sci-fi heavyweight Orson Scott Card to help craft the story for its upcoming shooter Firefall.
At first glance, Firefall looks like just another generic, free-to-play online shooter in which you jump in, shoot a few guys, blow up some stuff and then quit when the microwave goes “bing.” But Red 5 is going for something deeper than just anonymous online mayhem; as CEO Mark Kern explained in the latest Firefall dev diary, the story is a very important part of the overall experience. Important enough that the studio has brought in none other than Orson Scott Card, the man behind the Ender’s Game books, and his daughter Emily to help bring it together.
Firefall is set on the Earth of the future, which is being slowly consumed by a destructive energy storm called “the melding.” Things go from bad to worse when a mysterious alien race launches an attack against the struggling human survivors. Yet despite that epic scope the story will focus largely on individual characters like Typhon and Morningstar, the two survivors of the cinematic Firefall trailer than premiered last year, and that’s where Card comes in.
“Orson is a character-driven story guy,” Kern said. “His stories are about sci-fi, but they’re more than that. They’re about the humanity behind it, they’re about people’s problems and how they’re resolved. We feel that that really draws you along his stories in the same way that we want you drawn along the Firefall stories.”
In order to “prep the audience,” Red 5 is putting together a free online manga in conjunction with Card, his daughter Emily and Udon, a well-known publisher of comics, graphic novels and English translations of Japanese manga. “Together, we develop exactly how things are going to flow and then she writes the dialog and scenes, and of course I vet it and make suggestions,” Card explained. “But I don’t have to make many suggestions. She’s really good.”
The free-to-play Firefall is currently in development for the PC and is targeted for launch near the end of 2011.