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Firefall Primer

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Firefall Screenshot
Red 5 Studios

October 28 2011

In many ways we're tripping over multiplayer online shooters these days, but that hasn't discouraged Red 5 Studios from bringing their vision to life in the form of Firefall. The game is a team-based shooter set in a post-apocalyptic future where humans have survived only by virture of technological advancements. Although it is Red 5's first game, the development team is very experienced and headed up by Mark Kern, former team lead for World of Warcraft. Firefall will be free-to-play and supported by an item shop.

We don't have all the details of the story behind Firefall yet, but we do know that it's late in the 22nd century and planet Earth faces a multitude of threats. For starters, it was hit with the Firefall, which refers to a collision with an asteroid that breaks up and goes into a decaying orbit around Earth, showering it with debris and causing devastation.

The asteroid is discovered to contain a substance called "crystite," which is a tremendous new source of energy. Intending to get more of it, they build a spaceship to haul crystite from the asteroids place of origin, but the ship crashes, opening a rift into another universe though which pours a dark energy that consumes everything it touches. Known as "The Melding," this dark energy quickly engulfs most of the planet. If that's not enough, at some point an alien race called the Chosen shows up, and they don't seem very friendly. We haven't heard much about them yet, but we do know that renowned sci-fi writer Orson Scott Card has been hired to help with Firefall's story.

Battleframes

Rather than traditional classes, Firefall gives players a selection of wearable weapons and armor called "battleframes." Battleframes are customizable and you can switch between them, leveling each type individually. It sounds like they plan to continue adding new battleframes after release. The battleframes revealed so far are Assault, Medic, Recon, Engineer, and Dreadnaught.

One key aspect of battleframes is that they come with jet boots and jet packs for added mobility. This gives players limited flying capabilities and adds a lot of vertical action to the game.

Gameplay

Firefall will have both PvE and PvP components. PvE will take place in a large, open world with dangerous creatures roaming around and various types of missions to partake in. Early videos of the game show a team protecting a mining device called a "thumper" from progressively more vicious waves of attackers.

PvP is likely to be instanced and there will be different types of matches. So far Team Deathmatch and an attack/defence scenario called Sabotage have been confirmed. Sabotage involves a team of attackers trying to hack a series of points while the defenders try to stop them. They then switch positions and try to beat the previous attackers' time. No word yet on how many players a match will involve.

Vehicles

Vehicles have been spotted in various videos, including transporters, glider-like wings, and a motor cycle. It's not clear yet whether vehicles will be strictly for transportation, or whether they will have a role in gameplay.

The Next Tribes?

The Tribes series has had a big influence on shooters over the years. Certain features, like jet packs, are definitely reminiscent of those older titles. Other similarities are likely to come up as Scott Youngblood, who was lead designer for Starsiege: Tribes and Tribes 2, is now part of the Red 5 team.

A release date for Firefall has not been announced, but Red 5 is currently accepting applications for the beta test on the official site.

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