Red Faction: Guerrilla publisher Nordic Games is now running an open beta for a version of the shooter that supports Steamworks and is completely free of Microsoft's Games for Windows Live service, Nordic announced yesterday.
Nordic, which acquired the Red Faction IP from THQ during a bankruptcy auction in April 2013, confirmed to Joystiq this past January that it planned to remove Games for Windows Live from Red Faction: Guerrilla. Microsoft was reportedly planning to shut down the service in July 2014, but the company denied those reports in June.
Players won't need to sign in with Games for Windows Live in order to play the Red Faction: Guerrilla beta, which uses Steamworks for matchmaking and multiplayer gameplay and the Steam network for leaderboards, voice chat and achievements. Upon its initial boot, the beta will ask players for an existing save game from the Games for Windows Live version, and will attempt to migrate it to the new version.
The beta runs on the DirectX 9 renderer by default instead of DirectX 10. According to Reinhard Pollice, executive producer at Nordic Games, DirectX 10 "created a lot of problems and resulted in performance drawbacks." Pollice added in a comment on the Steam Community post that in Nordic's view, DirectX 10 support from Microsoft is "not good," which is "why we believed [it's] the safest to go for DX9 mode." According to Pollice, DirectX 10 offers "no real advantage" for Red Faction: Guerrilla.
Asked about plans to maintain the existing Games for Windows Live version of the game, Pollice said Nordic could keep it in a public beta branch, but that it would be "really deprecated and unsupported then." He added that the multiplayer servers for that version would only work for as long as Microsoft keeps the service running.
Volition developed Red Faction: Guerrilla, which was released by now-defunct publisher THQ in 2009 on PlayStation 3, Windows PC and Xbox 360. "I hope a lot of people will re-enjoy the beauty of destruction," said Pollice. "We are also very passionate about Red Faction and hope to do more in the future for this great franchise." Instructions to enter the public beta are available here.