Firefall [official site] – the sci-fi, jetpacky, free-to-play, fight-the-Chosen-and-reclaim-the-Earth MMO – is shutting down today (7 July). The announcement came via a post on the game studio’s website on Wednesday and notes that although the PC iteration of the game is ending they’re now working on a mobile version.
“With heavy hearts, we regret to inform you that after much review and analysis, Red 5 Studios have decided to suspend the Firefall efforts on 7th, July 2017,” reads the announcement. “Thank you for being an important part of the Firefall experience and for your loyalty and dedication to the online community.”
The rest of the announcement is only brief but suggests players from the PC version of Firefall will find some kind of acknowledgement of their effort/time/loyalty when the mobile project launches:
“Your efforts and loyalty will not go without recognition, however. Firefall is currently developing a mobile version of the game and all of Firefall’s founders and players will be rewarded greatly in the new game. We will be sure to provide everyone with more updates as we have them.”
Firefall is/was free-to-play but had a bunch of paid-for packs as these games often do so I’d guess offering some kind of reward for that in the new game is an attempt to mitigate bad feeling and maybe attract a playerbase to the new format. After all, mobile is a massively crowded marketplace.
I’m not sure how I’d feel about that though – mobile is so different from a PC MMO the promise of a reward might just feel so divorced from Firefall as to be meaningless.
ANYWAY. We haven’t actually written about Firefall in three years. When I mentioned it in the RPS Treehouse this morning though Graham says he was really excited about the launch trailer back in the day:
“I remember the reveal trailer being really exciting. World of Warcraft + proper combat. Taking dropships across huge open MMO worlds. Using thumping resource gatherers to trigger fights. Borderlands hadn’t become a thing yet and Destiny wasn’t around, so an MMO with decent combat seemed exciting.”
Adam also remembers Jim being excited.
I wasn’t paying attention to the game at the time and so I’m piecing together bits and pieces from reading comments but it sounds like a project which was promising and exciting but the execution was kind of patchy when the game itself got into the hands of players.
There then followed a bunch of changes, layoffs at the studio, Mark Kern being removed as CEO, anonymous employee complaints about working under Kern, the ongoing bad blood between Kern and the studio which rears its head on Twitter from time to time, more reported layoffs and financial issues like missing payroll on Christmas Day in 2015.
An oft-repeated refrain in the comments on Firefall’s demise is players pinning hopes on Kern’s persistent online shooter Em-8ER, which is in development at the moment. I imagine the Firefall news won’t exactly hurt Em-8ER’s prospects, although the closure will affect whether players’ involvement in Firefall can be traded for Em-8ER virtual currency if/when that game launches. Having had a brief skim of Em-8ER’s site it sounds like Kern’s positioning it as an oasis for fans who wanted whatever the original vision for Firefall was and which didn’t materialise: “While Em-8ER is not associated with Firefall or Red 5 Studios, we are in many ways Firefall’s spiritual successor.”
That game seems to be doing funding in rounds over on Indiegogo, asking for a bit of cash at a time for various elements.
Picking through the recent Steam reviews which aren’t part of the now-familiar wave of protests at bad news it sounds like that game itself has been in a sad state for a while – neglected and buggy, just about limping on.
The paid-for packs for the game are actually still available on Steam so obviously avoid those unless you’re bizarrely keen to get some kind of unspecified expensive nod in an unreleased mobile project????
But yes. Servers are going off today.
Let us now stand for the official RPS anthem and pay tribute to the passing of a game.