The End For The Red Faction Series?

By Jim Rossignol on July 28th, 2011 at 8:52 am.

A metaphor.
THQ has blamed poor sales of Red Faction Armageddon – which we thought was okay, if something of a step back from Guerilla – for their recent losses. Volition have already moved onto other projects, of course, including Guillermo del Toro’s “Insane” games, which begin in 2013, but it’s not clear whether they’ll ever have a chance to go back. Shacknews quotes Brian Farrell, THQ CEO, saying: “We do not intend to carry forward with that franchise in any meaningful way.”

Crikey.

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83 Comments »

  1. zipdrive says:

    On the one hand, Jim, you sound somewhat disappointed by this decision. On the other hand, RPS keeps banging on about Publishers sticking to familiar IPs instead of devising new ones.

    Kind of a contradiction, isn’t it?

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      I’d say I’m surprised more than disappointed. I have no real love for the Red Faction series. The first two games were fucking terrible. But then again I did think Guerilla was a good move, so the direction of Armageddon (a step back to the more linear shooter approach) disappointed me anyway.

      I don’t see any reason to celebrate the failure of a series like this, at least.

    • President Weasel says:

      One could say that Armageddon was them already not carrying on with the franchise in a meaningful way. Throwing away the things that people liked about the previous game in favour of making a generic corridor shooter doesn’t seem like a step in the right, or indeed a meaningful, direction.
      I’m surprised that they’re surprised that it didn’t do very well.

    • skyturnedred says:

      Whatever changes they made are forgiven, because Magnet Gun.

    • Maykael says:

      Wanting a franchise to disappear is not equivalent to wishing for new IPs to be developed. Basic logic. You don’t has it.

    • Tom De Roeck says:

      Something tells me they were going to can it anyway.

    • MadMinstrel says:

      This hurts. I’m a fan of Volition. Mostly because of Freespace. It could be argued that Armageddon didn’t sell very well because it had way too little marketing. A few mentions here and there just before release and then the game got released and the whole world just collectively forgot. Just look at Homefront to see what marketing can do. And Armageddon is a much better game than Homefront.

      Well. At least they didn’t close Volition down (perish the thought). I guess this leaves them free to do something different, resurrect Freespace perhaps. And in time someone at THQ might look at their list of IPs and think Red Faction might be a nice one to resurrect.

    • zipdrive says:

      @Maykael: Try to use this logic: Wanting more new IPs, assuming that there aren’t new resources incoming, means supporting leaving old IPs behind, like in this case. That’s why I think RPS should not necessarily be glum about this specific issue, which was my point.

    • Bent Wooden Spoon says:

      They weren’t though – you jumped to your own conclusion, not really based on any evidence at all, and used that to build yourself a mildly passive-aggressive strawman of an argument.

    • Xocrates says:

      @zipdrive: You CAN make new IPs without dropping old ones. The only condition is that you take more time between instalments of the same IP.

      Which, lets face it, many modern IPs should do.

    • mejoff says:

      @MadMinstrel
      Not enough marketing? It was one of three games (Skyrim and BF3 beign the other 2) that I saw advertised in the fricking cinema last time I went!

    • Urthman says:

      It seemed like the Red Faction series was dead for 7 years before Guerrilla came out. Wouldn’t hurt to leave the series on the shelf for a few years until someone has a comparably good idea or technological leap for another installment of the series.

      Maybe inSANE or the game after that will leave Volition with a team that has the right ideas / skill / engine to make a good Red Faction game.

    • mulberry says:

      I blame their terrible TV spots and that fucking dreadful Helter Skelter cover. Every time that came on I went out of the way to mute my TV.

    • Deviija says:

      What Jim and President Weasel have said. RF: A was a step back in terms of where the RF series went with Guerilla. Going from exploring Mars and making an impact on it to generic protagonist confined shooter wasn’t imaginative or interesting in the least to me.

  2. MrMud says:

    Whoever decided to set the game underground fighting against bugs really should take the brunt of the responsibility for the sales of the last game.

  3. mechtroid says:

    (The game’s) a bomb?
    What a shame.

    No, seriously. I was hoping they’d eventually marry the destructable terrain of the first game with the destructable buildings of the second (RFII never existed), but now that hope seems lost.

  4. VelvetFistIronGlove says:

    Good. Let it die. Let go. Move on. Create something new.

    • Corrupt_Tiki says:

      I must say, I feel indifferent, but, I really enjoyed RF1 I mean, I had never played anything like it when it first came out, although my gaming itinerary was limited to CS1.6, Doom 2, Diablo and the like but still!

      RF2 did leave quite a bad taste in my mouth. So I never really looked back at the series.

  5. Vexing Vision says:

    Huh. Guerilla sold rather well though, didn’t it?

  6. BooleanBob says:

    I’m struggling to remember, but haven’t THQ been in something of a huge financial black hole for a while? I do hope this doesn’t have a knock-on effect for any games Relic are trying to get made (CoH2!).

    • FakeAssName says:

      THQ has indeed been stuck in a black hole …. but only it’s head …. and by black hole I mean it’s ass.

      THQ has some amazing IP associated with it, and even more amazing developers, but so did EIDOS and shitty, bug laden release after shitty, bug laden release drove them into the ground. the people in charge of THQ seem to think that was a good idea or something because they are dead set on following it.

      I’m just glad that they didn’t get their hooks into any of the stalker games besides the first one, sure Clear Sky wasn’t an improvement but I loved the third one. If THQ had managed to seize the IP (they tried if I remember correctly) we probably wouldn’t have ever seen COP, and sure as hell wouldn’t have the possibility of getting the series re-boot that STALKER 2 is supposed to be.

    • Corrupt_Tiki says:

      Ummm, I along with quite a few others feel that SoC was the better game, buggy release yes, but it has the best atmosphere.

  7. StingingVelvet says:

    I absolutely cannot stand all the kids talking about Guerrilla like it was the first one. Call me a cranky old git but the first game was the one I really liked and it was a linear as hell shooter. I enjoyed Armageddon more than Guerrilla frankly.

  8. vodka and cookies says:

    Someone at THQ needs to be hit with a clue by four, after successfully restarting Red Faction franchise GTA style they follow it up with a third person shooter. Also jumping ahead a significant amount of time into the future is almost always the kiss of death for any franchise.

    It was an enjoyable enough game even the Descent themed level was nice but what did they think was going to happen, marketing was very weak, the sci-fi TV show was done on a shoe string budget and barely touched on events that would later happen in the game, it would have been better off just not being made in the first place.

  9. hilllbilllyjoe says:

    @zipdrive, What he is saying isn’t really contradictory. The red faction franchise was only recently re-modelled and the last two games were very different as far as gameplay and game mechanics are concerned. re-using IP’s isn’t bad unless the games are mere reskins of the older ones like in the cod series.

  10. Faceless says:

    What happened to days when the capacity to creatively expand a franchise dictated when it ends, not sales?

  11. Heliosicle says:

    Its seems like THQ have just been making poor creative and marketing choices all year, I hope the same isn’t true of SR2.

    • MonkeyMonster says:

      You do wonder when things like this happen that is it down to 1 or 2 people who’ve come in with the wrong idea’s but so much weight they’ve broken the company somewhat…

  12. Forceflow says:

    On the other hand, i’d like to see them continuing the franchise in a non-meaningful way.
    Red Faction: Bonanza! More stuff to blow up! Crocodiles! Female characters with regular-sized breasts and meaningful social interaction skills! A mysterious character called the H-man, riddling you with pastures and dentistry tips! What does it all mean? We don’t have the faintest idea!
    I’m a dreamer.

  13. Symitri says:

    All I hope is that Volition’s magnet gun from Armageddon sees it’s way into Saint’s Row 3.

    And all will be fine.

    • Azhrarn says:

      Wouldn’t that render all the other weapons in the game pointless?

      The magnet-gun took care of almost everything. I had more ammo than I knew what to do with for most of the game.

      The only other 3 weapons I used were the grenade launcher, the nano-rifle and the singularity cannon, because all 3 could do things that the magnet-gun couldn’t handle it on it’s own.

  14. Tei says:

    No surprise here. My care for the game was below the ground (like the game!). If the game released for the PC, I never notice.

    I remember watching a video about how powerfull the engine was in a map. But other than that, the game vanished from my radar.

  15. Utnac says:

    Well, Perhaps if they’d:
    a) Kept a Multiplayer portion and built upon it’s previous iteration – RF:G Had a brilliant multiplayer, which I enjoyed thoroughly despite the GFWL reliance, if they had actually made the effort, giving it some dedicated servers and a server browser, it could have been a smash hit, the issue was that most people never tried the online, most people I know who did, loved it.
    b) Stayed with a sandbox world – all the additional little missions to destroy buildings to a timer, and the idea of destroying key buildings to reduce influence gave something a little extra to the single player that went missing in the second game.
    Basically THQ, Less effort put into the game = Less sales. You’re surprised?

    • Forceflow says:

      Bit confused by the acronyms there: RFG:A -> you mean RF: G, I think?
      Unless there’s a Red Faction Guerilla Armageddon with awesome multiplayer and I somehow missed it.

      They’re really stringing all manly words together. Red Faction Guerilla Armageddon Operation Blastzone Heavy Machinery, anyone?

  16. Moni says:

    An even bigger shame would be if the GeoMod technology just disappeared. It really is great fun smashing stuff.

    Also, Magnet Gun.

  17. Muzman says:

    Agree with much of the above. How did Guerrilla do? I get the impression it was a bit of a late discovery for some people (me). There were a lot of positive but reserved reviews that held me back for one. But it turned out to be one of the most fun games I’ve played. Going away from the sandbox to aliens and powersuits underground in the next one was a huge turn off (even if they didn’t entirely go this way. But the marketing didn’t try very hard to make it look like the last one at all. It’s like they were embarrassed by it)

    Get them on the phone and ask them why they changed it. Sure you’d probably hit a wall of PR but dammit it seems really odd to me.
    (why doesn’t games journalism do that sort of thing very much anyway? Waste of time I suppose. Do they try?)

  18. Derppy says:

    Guerrilla was fine, the engine with physics-based destruction really defined it and I kind of liked the multiplayer because of that. There’s no other game where you can breach through a wall with a giant hammer and hit someone in the face with it, or shoot a tower with rocket launcher so it falls on the enemy players and even collapses other buildings.

    However, everything else in that game was barely average. The graphics were very dull and the action pretty boring when there wasn’t much destruction going on. The lack of dedicated servers and poor matchmaking combined with the horrible GFWL pretty much killed the online community in a few month. I can’t find a single game anymore.

    With Armageddon they went in the very wrong direction. They dropped the classic multiplayer and even made the single-player linear.

    If they would have focused on making the multiplayer better (actual gameplay, not just the physics), added dedicated servers and server browser and used Steamworks, I’m pretty sure the game would have been much better and there would be tons of people playing it online right now.

    If Red Faction dies, I hope we’ll get some other multiplayer shooter with very fancy destruction in the future.

  19. Dreamhacker says:

    I really liked Red Faction 1, which while it was very linear, did have really impressive technology for its time along with a great story and good atmosphere. Red Faction 2, however, was complete trash and really turned me away from the rest of the series. The third person shift in Guerrilla really didn’t help.

    • Mitchk says:

      I have good memories of playing both RF1 and 2. Adding destruction and some pretty cool weapons to the usual FPS formula made it really enjoyable for me, especially multiplayer wise. I remember being pretty interested in Guerilla too leading upto it’s release, and I got the MP demo and had a blast with it! Again to me it was something quite fresh and unique and you could sink a lot of time into it (even if it was just a case of ignoring everything around you and just hammering at buildings until they toppled).

      I never bought Guerilla in the end, or Armageddon…I wouldn’t say I was sad to see the series go, I was nostalgic more than anything else when I read the news!

  20. Kid_A says:

    I actually quite liked the fact they were doing something different with Red Faction, going from the old FPS games to an open world and then to a TPS. I’m playing Armageddon right now and really enjoying it, especially the Ruin and Infestation modes. Would have been nice to see what else they could have done with the IP, but I guess that’ll not happen for a good few years now at the least.

  21. Evoc says:

    Know what Red faction Armageddon and Bulletstorm had in common?
    Pointless multiplayer.

  22. Diziet Sma says:

    I think this is a sensible decision on their part. Red Faction : Guerilla was the epitome of the series and apart from bigger/brasher I really am not sure what new territories it could go to in terms of gameplay. Red Faction : Armageddon seems also very good but a step back as Jim has said.
    A decision like this is fine, the game had four installments, respectable sales and a damn excellent game among them. I won’t mourn it’s passing and I don’t think it’s a shame at all to leave it at this stage.

    • meatshit says:

      I wish it would have survived longer just because the destruction mechanic could have really benefited from more powerful hardware. It was still fun, but you could tell they had to take a lot of shortcuts to keep it from bringing the current generation of consoles to their knees.

  23. luminosity says:

    I remember Armageddon coming out with little fanfare in the middle of E3 and its sound and fury. With brilliant marketers like that behind the game, I’m amazed it didn’t do better.

  24. Zarunil says:

    Shame if they decide to end this IP. Their biggest mistake with RF:A was making it a 3rd person, linear corridor shooter. I loved blowing up huge buildings in RF:G. The main thing RF always had going for it was destruction physics. By placing the game in a rather narrow, under ground setting they hamstrung themselves. A truly terrible design desicion. I also found the story to be uninteresting and utter crap, and the game to be a tad too dark (as in poorly lit).

    I hope they don’t trash the IP (though one could argue they just did with RF:A). It has such huge potential. I’d like to see an open-world, non-linear, destructo-fest with Magnet Gun.

  25. Chris Evans says:

    Being a huge fan of the first game, Armageddon was really enjoyable, forget about the mad inclusion of the aliens, you were back underground on Mars. I much prefer Armageddon to Guerilla. Sad to see the franchise ending though.

  26. Lars Westergren says:

    For me, the marketing was a bit vague. All I knew about it was that it was set in the future, and you shot stuff. I heard nothing about any meaningful plot, or characters to relate to. I don’t think I ever saw a screenshot even? Nothing that I can remember anyway.

  27. Werthead says:

    In some other, considerably more awesome, parallel universe this news would be followed by, “Violition have bought back the rights to the Freespace name and are now using their time to make Freespace 3. And it will absolutely not be called 3space, because that would suck.”

    • Jackablade says:

      Ah so that’s the reason for the lack of Freespace sequels. To whom do I need to direct my ire for sitting on that particular brilliant IP?

    • Jason Moyer says:

      I can’t imagine that prying Descent or Freespace from Interplay, even if it were a temporary deal, would be all that difficult.

  28. Kaira- says:

    What a shame.

    Now, to sidetrack a bit, oooooooh, Insane! Has there been any news about it? I haven’t heard anything of it since it was announced with that hugely unnerving trailer.

  29. Loiosh says:

    So, does that mean JT Carrol was right?
    Over on twitter awhile back:
    jtcarroll: Between Red Faction Origins and the story @DannyBilson forced on Armageddon (@THQ), I think it’s safe to call him a franchise killer. #Sigh

    Danny Bilson: @jtcarroll Interesting to have such a strong opinion on a game that hasn’t shipped?

    jtcaroll: @DannyBilson After five years working on Guerrilla and one on Armageddon, yes, it’s a strong opinion.

    Post: http://www.shacknews.com/chatty?id=26040289

  30. malkav11 says:

    It’s disappointing, but the key thing for Red Faction has always been the destruction mechanics, which could just as easily be used in a different, less bland IP. Like, oh, I don’t know…Saints Row…

  31. InternetBatman says:

    It’s sad that it ended this way, but I don’t think franchises ending are necessarily a bad thing. Frequently the franchise itself becomes a drain on creative efforts. Other times there is a lack of clear vision and games become uneven in quality, or the story is broken for the good of the franchise.

  32. Gnoupi says:

    Good, Volition can now come back to the one and only IP that mattered:

    FREESPACE

    Sure, it will be a flop because it’s a niche market, but at least make a last great one!

  33. HothMonster says:

    I don’t care about the series as long as they keep pushing the tech. Nobody has come close to the level of freeform, non-scripted, destructibility that this series has had. Hopefully it just moves to a new IP rather than getting tossed with the bath water.

  34. Kdansky says:

    In other news: Low concept, generic brown and immature shooters fail a lot, but cost a ton of money.

    I like where this will push the industry. More Minecraft, Dremor, Jamestown, Recettear and Space Chem? Yes please.

  35. Ultra-Humanite says:

    This will last until a new executive decides to resurrect it for the name.

  36. Fartango says:

    I’m more concerned with seeing the destruction tech implemented in fun ways in future games than Red Faction as a series itself. While I did enjoy the red faction games the first and third had the most magic in them and the destruction of terrain and walls in the original Geomod engine was what really captivated me.

    I want a game that mixes up some of Guerilla’s building destruction with the original Geomod’s terrain deforming (Digging tunnels with mines and rockets and giant drilling vehicles) but with some extensive multiplayer. The multiplayer in the original was excellent simply due to the destruction and number of guns available, the multiplayer in Guerilla while unbalanced was still a blast with friends.

    Having played through all the Red Faction series I am definitely disappointed with what I’ve seen from Armageddon so far. The lack of competitive multiplayer was a big let down, as are the limitations in what is destructible when in an indoor setting. The aliens were more interesting combat experiences than the human opponents in Guerilla but overall Armageddon is a less interesting game than Guerilla and did nothing to advance the strengths of the series. The Red Faction track record has been on again / off again for every other game (in my opinion) and It’s a shame that it looks like we won’t get a chance to see the “on again” game any time soon.

    Cheers to the series, I’ll still be playing the original Red Faction and Guerilla in the future and I’ll always look back on my time spent on Mars with fond memories.

  37. Jhales says:

    I wonder how much of it’s failure had to do with “Syfy games” and the crappy tv movie they made.

  38. ttcfcl says:

    I liked both a lot, but Geurilla more than Armageddon. I am saddened but I feel Volition dropped the ball on this by making it a linear shooter. I understand maybe not wanting to do “another” open world GTA clone, but that is what I like about Guerilla. Blowing open the barricaded wall from the back, sneaking in with some buddies and rescuing hostages, giving them weapons and blasting EDF from the inside was an awesome feeling. They threw that versatility and experience out the door with the linearity and ancient aliens (honestly…).

    My one hope: GeoMod 2 or better gets re-used for a different game. The only thing better is this physics program.

  39. Dave L. says:

    Someday a full post-mortem of Armageddon’s development will be written that will reveal Volition’s original plans and how they got stripped down to the game that was finally released, and the fan outcry will be pretty epic. Between RF:A’s abysmal sales (but not terrible critical response) and Homefront’s abysmal critical response (and non-existent long term sales) hopefully someone at THQ will realize what a horrible managerial fuck-up Danny Bilson is.

  40. DazedByTheHaze says:

    I was extreeeemly pumped up for Gurellia multiplayer on PC. But then they dicided to go without dedicated servers. I can imagine destrucible levels benefit a lot from dedis, but no, no it has to be hosted by players.

    After that, RedFaction on PC was dead for me. Singleplayer wasn’t THAT good in my opinion.

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