How Firefall fell off your radar, and why it's ready to come back July 29

The path of its massively multiplayer online shooter — which was originally announced in 2010 — has been a long one. Firefall's intended release date for 2011 came and went, and its beta launch in 2013 got off the ground with a rocky start. While the game itself underwent changes, the company relieved one CEO for another and kept on track by selling minority company stakes. Although 2014 has been a discreet year for the game, CEO James Macauley says it's all part of the plan. Finally, Firefall is ready to launch July 29. "In the past we've done a really good job at telling, but for this year it was time to show," Macauley told Polygon. "We didn't want to announce anything about launch or anything about what we were changing until we could bring up the game and say here it is. That's...


Red 5 secures $23M in funding, plans to launch Firefall in 2014

Firefall developer Red 5 Studios and two shareholders have agreed to sell a 20.01 percent minority stake in the company to the Shanghai Oriental Pearl Culture Development Co. for approximately $23 million, Red 5 parent company The9 Limited announced today. The Series B funding will allow Red 5 to stay on track with its plan to release Firefall in 2014, said James Macauley, the company's acting CEO, in a press release today. "This is the year Firefall takes flight. The entire Red 5 tribe is focused on creating top quality content that will take Firefall to the next level and we are excited for this next stage of development," Macauley added. Macauley took over the CEO position a month ago when Red 5's board of directors ousted the previous CEO, Mark Kern. The9 Limited announced a p...


Firefall dev Red 5 replaces CEO

Mark Kern, co-founder of Firefall developer Red 5 Studios, has been replaced in his role as the company's CEO, a Red 5 representative confirmed to Polygon today. Kern was replaced yesterday, Dec. 19, by Red 5's vice president of development, James Macauley, who is now serving as acting CEO. The news was first reported today by Game Front, which obtained an internal email that Macauley reportedly sent to all Red 5 employees in which he explained that Kern was ousted as CEO by the studio's board of directors. "Effective immediately Mark will no longer have any authority to act for or on behalf of Red 5 Studios," said Macauley in the email. "As one of the founders of Red 5 Studios and our leader for many, many years, we owe Mark a great deal of appreciation for all that he has done to...


Red 5's new investor is the Shanghai Oriental Pearl group (update)

Firefall developer Red 5 Studios may have a new investor, the Shanghai Oriental Pearl group, according to a press release from Red 5 parent company The9 Limited. The proposed sale would total about $24 million, for which the Shanghai Oriental Pearl group would receive an equity stake of about 20 percent in Red 5. The press release values Red 5' free-to-play online shooter Firefall at $100 million. China Securities Network News reports that the investment would be the group's first in the video game ecosystem. The9 Limited acquired a majority stake in Red 5 in 2010. Today's proposed transaction would take place between The9 and the Shanghai Oriental Pearl group. Red 5 would remain a subsidiary of The9. We've reached out to Red 5 Studios for comment and will update this article with...


Red 5 Studios to 'rethink,' shut down Firefall's PvP mode

Red 5 Studios will temporarily shut down PvP for its free-to-play, massively multiplayer shooter, Firefall, at "some near future point," CEO and chief creative officer Mark Kern announced via the game's official website. According to Kern's post, the game's pursuit of eSports is "not working very well." Kern specifically points to the latest attempt, Jetball, which attracts less than three percent of players in the game. Kern added that in its current state, PvP does not represent Firefall "at its best." "PvP has suffered as our focus has had to focus on the popular PvE part of our game," Kern wrote. "People want more content, fewer bugs and more polish on these world systems. For these reasons, we have made the tough decision to suspend PvP and take the system offline so that we can...


Firefall begins Stage 2 of open beta, signups still available

The second open beta for Firefall, Red 5 Studios' massively multiplayer free-to-play shooter, is now live. During this beta, players will work on "pushing back the Melding." In addition to leaderboards and unlocks, the beta will also include new enemies and battleframes. After players have completed certain requirements, the "Warfront" will convert to a full zone, opening up a story-based instance. Signups are available through the game's website. Firefall's first open beta launched July 9 with assorted issues; some players couldn't log in, while others couldn't complete the game's tutorials or use certain features.


CEO apologizes for Firefall's 'rocky start,' outlines fixes

Firefall developer Red 5 CEO Mark Kern took to the game's official website yesterday to apologize for the game's "rocky start" and outline the fixes in store for the open world massively multiplayer online shooter. When the game's open beta launched on July 9, problems prevented players from logging in, completing the tutorial and using in-game features like "calldowns" that spawn weapons at players' command. "As I stated on the forums, this was our fault, and we take full responsibility," Kern wrote. "Stage 1 of Open Beta was meant to stress our system, and we gained many, many players during that time that did, indeed, stress our servers." Although Red 5 still has "more to do," Kern said that the developer has made progress with the login, tutorials, calldowns, user interface...


Firefall trailer showcases Blackwater Anomaly, its first story-based episode

A trailer released today for Firefall shows off Blackwater Anomaly, the first story-based episode in Red 5 Studios' massively multiplayer free-to-play shooter. Blackwater Anomaly will be released during Firefall's open beta, which will launch July 9. To celebrate the launch, the developers will host a new Firefall Fest, which will include Twitch streams of the new content July 9-10 as well as giveaways for in-game items and real world prizes from AMD and Razer. Players interested in the shooting-focused MMO can sign up for the open beta at Firefall's official website. For more on the game, Blackwater Anomaly and the developers behind it all, be sure to check out Polygon's recent feature. You can watch the new Blackwater Anomaly trailer above.


Appealing to casual gamers is killing the MMO genre, says Firefall dev

Adjusting massively multiplayer online games to casual players has had a draining effect on the genre, according to Red 5 Studios founder and former World of Warcraft team lead Mark Kern. In a guest blog on, Kern writes about working to make World of Warcraft's user interface, quests and leveling easily understanding to new players. "And it worked," Kern wrote. "Players came in droves, millions of them. But at what cost? Sometimes I look at WoW and think 'what have we done?' I think I know. I think we killed a genre." According to Kern, lowering the difficulty curve affects the sense of achievement players will feel. Kern says that dropping the bar ultimately loses the journey in between that should make the experience fun and rewarding. In turn, this lowers the quality of...


MMO Anomaly: Behind the scenes with the world builders of Firefall

The firefall The firefall Firefall has been in development for years. Exactly how many of those years are relevant depends on who you ask. According to Pearsey, the current iteration of the game has been in active development for just over three years. Before that, there was another game called Firefall in development at Red 5, but recent hires, a high-level strategy shift, the founding of a TV studio (Stage 5) and a radical technology revamp have all but obliterated most traces of it. What remains, say Red 5 staffers, is so far removed from what it was that it is essentially a different game. Still, whether it's been three years or ... more than three years, one would think, judging from the game's presence at various trade shows, that there would be more to it...

Firefall Releases
North America
  • Windows
    • Publisher Red 5 Studios
    • Developer Red 5 Studios
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