It’s Not Already Out? Firefall Officially Launching This Month

By Alice O'Connor on July 9th, 2014 at 12:00 pm.

Zoosh!

You know, I’d sort of assumed that Firefall had been finished and released then quietly faded into the background noise of video games. That’s probably because it’s been in open beta testing for an entire year, and I don’t know anyone speaking about it. Come July 29, developers Red 5 will declare their free-to-play shooty jetpacking MMO finished and officially launch it. While many launches after lengthy betas seem to be the equivalent of someone yelling “That’s it! I’m done! God! Nuts to this!” and walking out, this one will be fairly substantial, bringing an update that Red 5 say will “quadruple the amount of world space.”

This world-expanding update will also “add roughly 15-times the amount of content we have had previously in beta,” according to Red 5. Whatever “content” means. And however “amount” is judged. What is certain is that they’re opening up huge areas of the world that had been closed, bringing heaps of new quests and events and all that.

The launch will also bring PvP back to Firefall, after its humdrum man-murdering offerings were pulled. This time, it’ll be an open-world resource battle sort of thing, quite different to the digital sport arena last tried.

Given that I haven’t really heard about Firefall in a while, how is it now anyway? Or if you played but had stopped, might all this new stuff tempt you back? Here, have a launch trailer:

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36 Comments »

  1. skyturnedred says:

    Oh really? I just played it yesterday and stopped after 30 minutes or so. It was so damn buggy I could not bring myself to enjoy it. Which is sad, since I kinda like what they’re trying to do and I’m looking for a new co-op shooter.

    • ran93r says:

      I didn’t think any of the “good” sweeping changes were in yet.

      That said, despite being a founder and throwing money at Mark Kern for his fun bus, the trainwreck we have been playing so far has killed any interest I had in this. I might have a quick look after actual launch but ultimately I just don’t care anymore.

      • AngoraFish says:

        Same. So much promise squandered on so much meh, sigh.

      • Afoxi says:

        I threw out much more money than that, but I am not a fan of the massive sweeping updates that take one year to complete. I’d rather have Warframe’s bi/weekly minor and/or reckless update schedules than Firefall’s “Oh we’ve got massive gamechangers, but no patch until 6 months later”.

        Combine that with some horrible decision making that can’t be undone for 6 months, and…

    • po says:

      Must be your system that’s the source of bugs.

      I’ve been playing since early closed beta, and one thing the game has over many others is how polished a lot of it is, even if a lot of the mechanics surrounding crafting/trading/progression are unfinished. The only issue I’ve ever seen with any regularity is things like items/currency/XP missing, which always returns after logging out.

      I’m playing WildStar, a game which is actually released, and I’m seeing plenty of mentions in chat that quests are bugged and should be skipped. Haven’t seen a bugged mission in FireFall since the beginning of the year, and missions are pretty much all I do.

      However I am worried that the new zones will bring in a huge number of bugs, because for the first few months I was playing, the huge majority of patch content was to fix holes in the terrain, and problems with either players falling through the world, being able to drop thumpers in exploitative spots where mobs couldn’t get to them, or mobs getting stuck in terrain and being able to do damage while being unkillable.

      If R5 haven’t refined their world building process considerably, then those problems are going to be with us all over again for the next few months, all over the new zones.

    • jpm224 says:

      If you’re looking for some solid co-op I highly recommend PVZ Garden Warfare. It’s only ~$25 if you buy it through the Mexican origin page (use Hola!). Best $25 I’ve spent on a game in as long as I can remember.

    • killmachine says:

      yea, that kind of applies to me as well. i have played it a few weeks ago and the bugs expressed themself through making my soundcard go off and on through the loading screens. don’t mind the “tutorial”. you can stay in one place and it just runs itself through the end.

      if you’ve read about this game before, stumbled upon things like “this game has no direction” and so on, believe it. it is actually true. over the course of beta, this game has become a mess. the idea and the concept is great! but the implementation and the technical foundation is a pure mess.

      if you followed this game from the beginning (which is a long time ago), i’m afraid to confirm that this is the definition of vaporware. if you’re interested in the complete history of the game and the company (which i doubt you will), you will agree to my thesis.

      i had a great time on their forums though. kind of sad that the game was never able to deliver. but, hey, at least the company secured a final investment of 25 million dollars…

    • Blackcompany says:

      This game is a walking disaster. How Mark Kern is not in prison for embezzling all that investor money for his production studio, broken down buss and cosplay sponsorships I dont know. He should be.

      I wanted to like the game. I even bought into the Founder thing. But its a mess. Progression is terrible. The events are boring, scripted and exactly the same every time you play them. With absolutely zero variation. Missions are the same three or four templates. Enemy AI is a joke. Other than graphical presentation, there is nothing left to like about Firefall and I honestly do not know how it has not collapsed yet.

      Edit: And now they are charging people for “Early Access” to a game that has been in Open Beta for a year. Classy.

  2. Niko says:

    For some reason I confuse it with Wildstar.

    • slerbal says:

      Me too! Weird given that they seem very different, but somehow my brain conflates news from both as being about Wildstar

      • SomeDuder says:

        Both are about a new world with a frontier theme. One is about dancing and getting married in public spaces, the other involves sick subwoofers making all kinds of insects angry

      • Turkey says:

        I dunno. They both have a certain jen e sais Blizzard to them.

    • Rizlar says:

      Shit, mis-reply.

      Confusion may be due to both having ex-WoW devs working on them?

      • Niko says:

        Maybe that, they also have somewhat similar eight letters, two words names, and a frontier theme, as SomeDuder says.

    • ScubaMonster says:

      Well, Firefall is a first person (or third depending on how you want to play) shooter, so they are pretty much nothing alike.

  3. Tei says:

    Well. It has ben a long travel (trollnado?, trollbeta?)
    *remove hat*

    Thanks for a long and fun beta. I am sorry and us gamers has been abrasive at times, or unhappy with Change. I suppose this is the end of whole subsystem changes, and a slow aggregation of new areas and things to do in the game.

    *puts hat again on head*

  4. Artist says:

    I have the impression that this “Release announcement” is rather to get press coverage to advertising the game and get more players in.
    The chances to get covered by the press are usually pretty limited to certain “milestones”. (Announcing game, restricted access to alpha/beta, going in public alpha/beta/early access, release, announcing DLCs/ successors – thats it basicly.)
    After all Firefall doesnt seem to be popular enough to maintain service for much longer.

    • AngoraFish says:

      Like 99% of other “early access” and “open beta” games, Firefall burned all it’s goodwill and publicity credits a long time before it had anything significant to show for it. Now that it actually needs to impress, the hype train has well and truly passed the station and it ain’t coming back.

      • Smoky_the_Bear says:

        Yeah honestly a F2P game has to be damn good to go open-beta and then keep players interested. Firefall was lacking features when I last played it, I’m sure a lot of people feel the same way. I might give it another go when it is officially released but a game like that lives and dies on the vibrancy of it’s world, if players don’t come back then it will feel very dull as a game.

        They seem to have mucked up the marketing badly with this one. Over a year ago they seemed to have a lot of momentum, people talking about it, live events with Wil Wheaton, Felicia Day, Athene etc. It was all over gaming websites. This was all BEFORE open beta was announced, then they released open beta and it wasn’t very good. Can’t help but think they should have either saved open beta until they had a more complete game or saved all the marketing hype until later to try and get people into the game at a later point.
        Of course it could turn out that even once it is “released” it still sucks and this is just a last ditch attempt to get people into the game and make some more money.

        It’s an interesting point to note with this situation and one that companies need to take heed of, “beta” is no longer a testing phase. Especially with F2P games, once you go into open beta your game is essentially out already, the quality and content needs to reflect this. People will put up with non-gamebreaking bugs due to “this is beta” but they will not hang around if the game is light on content.

        There is a reason companies are now calling Early Access and other such situations (i.e. Blizzard with Heroes of the Storm) as “alphas”, even though an alpha by definition is an internal testing phase, people take beta to mean something else now, which is a pretty much complete game with a few bugs to iron out.
        Firefall wasn’t that a year ago, it was a proper beta, still needed a ton of work and was missing lots of content, however that’s not something you can do with an open beta release these days, especially after you drummed up a whole bunch of hype for the game.

      • Blackcompany says:

        Actually, Angora, the problem is just the opposite: Its actually the hype bus, in this case, and its parked at the station and unable to ever leave. Not that it would matter, since its also too wide to use most city streets and the LAN inside doesnt really work anyway.

        So much for hype. That bus was parked long ago, and it aint ever moving again.

  5. BarneyL says:

    I’ll probably update the client and nose around a little. The best part of the game was the terrain so hopefully there’ll be more of it to jet pack around.
    I’d thoroughly recommend paying Firefall a visit as it’s a great tourist attraction but suspect few will want to stay in the long term.

  6. plsdeleteme says:

    I’ll give it another shot. Enjoyed it during beta but lost interest due to the limited amount of stuff to do. It felt like you have seen and done everything after a while so I stopped playing. So new content seems to be the right reason to give it another go. The gameplay itself is actually quiet fun, it just lacked variety and stuff to do after you reached a certain “level”.

  7. Dawngreeter says:

    I tried this back when beta weekends were a thing (I guess? or some other beta-related thing). I don’t recall the last time a game made me stop playing so fast. Oh, actually I can. Global Agenda PvE. It felt exactly the same – I’d rather read Atlas Shrugged than play either of those. And I really, really don’t want to read Atlas Shrugged.

    • Tei says:

      Zipping around killing mobs in Firefall can be fun. More or less depending of the patch.

  8. Rizlar says:

    Will definitely go back in once it’s released. It has a lot of really cool, original stuff going on.

    Like the setting, the huge melding wall that looms over the landscape. And the landscape itself! It’s very cool and very different to most MMOs, extremely open and not just blanketed with monsters. It has a great atmosphere. It’s a pleasure to just fly around exploring it, the movement of the suits feels great and the combat is actually extremely fun as well. Probably the best feeling MMO or free to play combat I have experienced, it’s just really fun. The resource gathering system is extremely cool as well – you need different minerals and chemicals and stuff to fabricate items, so you travel around scanning for elements in the ground. When you find an enticing spot you drop a thumper to start extracting them, but it also attracts all sorts of angry wildlife, which you need to protect it from. The mission system is also very cool, while flying around you get a comms message from your operator telling you about something of interest in the area, then you just have to fly towards the marker that has popped up. And some of the spontaneously appearing events, like that tornado in the video, are awesome (in the original sense of the word).

    Anyhoo, I stopped playing the beta last year since once you had explored pretty much the whole map, the only thing left to do was grind ridiculous amounts of stuff for pointless suit upgrades. Never really got into the PvP either (but it sounded like noone did at that point, it wasn’t very fleshed out). As good as the map was, there was only one of them, so the idea of ’15-times more content’ actually makes a lot of sense. If there had been two or three more maps like the original one I would probably have played a lot longer.

    Apologies for the word splurge.

    • Hmm-Hmm. says:

      So, basically, it needs better gameplay and/or more varied ways to play the game? If so, then I can’t imagine people staying for very long (unless they dig the pvp).

      • Rizlar says:

        No, it needed more content. The stuff I played was great, but after exhausting most of the map there wasn’t much else to do other than grind.

        • TimorousBeastie says:

          More content is a pointer towards lack of diversity though. Content creation is time consuming, and generally takes much longer to create than consume. If the problem of the game is that it needs constant injections of new content to be enjoyable, rather than its core experience being fun to repeat, that’s not an issue with lack of content.

          Personally I enjoyed what I played in early CB, but every thumper event being essentially the same was a major issue for me. Most games of this type solve the issue of repeatability with PvP elements, but I’ve not had any hands on with that so I can’t say if it helps. I’ll give it another go come launch though.

          • Rizlar says:

            Yeah, more variety in thumper events, more maps to explore, greater variety in upgraded suits etc would probably have kept me playing for longer. I don’t think the problem was with the core game mechanics though, it was so much fun while it lasted.

            Anyway, it’s been like a year since I played the beta, presumably a lot has changed since then.

  9. emorphien says:

    I stepped away from the game for quite some time but I did really enjoy it during closed and open beta. The bugs didn’t kill it for me at the time but the lack of content. I came back briefly earlier in the year but the content hadn’t changed much and they had completely revamped weapons and crafting, forcing me to nearly start over.

    I finally looked in to coming back this week only to find out it’s launching and everything I’ve read about the new mechanics, new zones and everything else sounds very promising. I definitely expect I will play this again now and it sounds like they’ve been working to address a lot of my concerns. I’m cautiously optimistic, but there will be only one way to find out.

  10. HiFiHair says:

    Truly free to play.

  11. mashkeyboardgetusername says:

    Huh, think I’ll jump back in, having more space to run across sounds just spiffing.

    I do think there’s a really good game in there, the movement (jetpacks and mountains!) and combat (good enough for a singleplayer game, and jetpacks! again) is fun, the quests/events work well (being brave enough to allow someone else to complete the objective avoids the classic MMO problem of a world that never changes), but given how long Red5 have meandered about I’m not sure they know how to get the best out of the game, they’ve made some poor choices in the past.

    Any indication if the PvP involves different races? Aaaaaaaaaaages ago there were hints that as well as the human Accord there would be playable Chosen and some guys with blue crystals stuck to their faces, that would really interest me if we can have fights between the different races.

  12. sinister agent says:

    I rather liked it when I tried one of the open beta weekends over a year ago. Nice people too. If I do get back on the “give mmo a chance” wagon, it’ll be high on the list.

  13. Jaks says:

    I remember trying this game out. I made my character, spawned into the game world, walked 10 feet in and clicked on a thing that told me I should give the developers money for video game items. When I clicked no, the game crashed to the desktop. I uninstalled it.

  14. t3hsquirr3l says:

    Too many of these posts are based on wildly out-dated experiences. New areas to explore are the very least of this coming update. If you actually want to know if Firefall is worth your time, please please read the actual dev blogs detailing the coming changes, browse the official forums, and check out the reviews on Steam in the coming soon section of F2P games.

    I’ve never been more excited for a game’s ‘launch’.