Mark Kern said he’s going all-in with the PC for Firefall.
Update: Mark Kern clarified his thoughts a bit in an interview with me at PAX East. He admitted that he his tongue was firmly in cheek when he said it, and it’s a very general statment. “When I say consoles are dead,” Kern said, “it’s a broad statement but it’s really about how the current iteration of consoles is kind of brain dead. The old publishing model, the old ‘Let’s compete by putting more graphics in there’ isn’t working anymore.”
He also sees great potential in smaller, niche consoles for independent developers. “I’m not saying that TVs and controllers are dead, in fact, I’m really excited by Ouya, for example,” Kern said. “It’s like ‘Hey, no one cares about the hardware anymore, just get the great games on it and make it open, make it accessible to indie devs and everybody else.’ That’s, to me, where the future of consoles should be so I guess there’s a qualification to that broad statement.” So consoles aren’t dead, they are just being reborn in much smaller packages, according to Kern.
Original: The hot-button topic for the game industry, even here at PAX East, is the impending next generation cycle of consoles. The PlayStation 4 is coming this holiday, oh yes it is, and Microsoft’s as yet announced console is on its way too. With Blizzard’s Diablo III coming to the PS4, and another PC gaming stalwart like EVE Online creator CCP releasing Dust 514 for the console, everyone’s wondering if more MMOs should follow suit. With Firefall‘s strong concentration on shooter mechanics, it actually makes more sense than most to jump to the TV and controller setup. Mark Kern, CEO and Creative Director of Red 5 Studios, doesn’t think so.
“Consoles are dead,” he said when asked if Firefall would ever be playable on the PlayStation 4. The crowd assembled for Red 5’s presentation laughed raucously. I’m not exactly sure Kern was joking. Well, within every joke there’s always a nugget of truth.
For a more technical answer, Kern said the team is concentrating on a DirectX version of the code, which depends on the Windows platform, but they are voraciously working on an Open GL version of the client which will open up Firefall to a whole bevy of platforms.