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Red 5 Studios

Red 5 photo
Bad times at Red 5
Employees of development studio Red 5 got something worse than a lump of coal for Christmas this year; they got a note from management saying that the company didn't have the funds to make payroll. Multiple sources reached ou...


Former Red 5 CEO's violent temper derailed Firefall's development

Described as a toxic work environment
Apr 01
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
GameFront has a big exposé on Red 5, the developers behind the much delayed Firefall. Part one of the feature was released today, and it focuses mostly on Mark Kern, former CEO of Red 5. Note that we at Destructoid hav...

FireFall board votes out co-founder Mark Kern

The last of the four founders ousted from Red 5 Studios
Dec 20
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
Co-founder and CEO of Red 5 Studios, Mark Kern, has been voted out of the company behind FireFall "effectively immediately." Mark was also removed from the board, and no longer has any authority with Red 5. The story comes vi...

Firefall beta: Post-apocalyptic pina coladas

Jul 18 // Fraser Brown
Firefall (PC)Developer: Red5 StudiosPublisher: Red5 StudiosRelease: TBA It wasn't long after basic training -- which consisted of selecting the best moustache, shooting things, and listening to a disembodied female voice drone on and on -- that I found myself on a shuttle on my way to the sanctuary paradise of Copacabana, being serenaded by Rupert Holmes. "If you like piña coladas," he began "and getting caught in the rain..." I do, Rupert, I really do. "If you're not into yoga, and you have half a brain..." It was like he was peering into my soul. "If you like making love at midnight in the dunes on the cape..." I'm not fussy about where I make love, but that does sound splendid. "Then I'm the love that you've looked for, write to me and escape." Frankly, I was ready to ditch this whole jetpack, mining nonsense and elope, but no sooner than the thought had entered my mind, the shuttle docked, and the promise of adventure took hold of me. There's something remarkably intoxicating about being given a world to play in and very few restrictions. With open-world sandbox-like experiences becoming more common, it threatens to become mundane, but -- for me, at least -- those first few hours filled with exploring the limitations of a new open-world are incredibly exciting. Firefall teaches players the absolute basics, and then simply lets them off the leash, to do whatever they want to do. But first, I wanted to get to grips with the role system. [embed]258256:49647:0[/embed] I'm an engineer. This is a choice I made back at basic training, but I want to emphasize that it's a choice that I'm capable of overturning at any time -- I'm not shackled to my profession. Profession is probably the wrong word actually, just as class or job are too. As a new recruit of the Accord, I'm a capable fella that can turn his hand to any number of roles, all encapsulated by the exoskeleton battleframes.  Battleframes can be switched out with a quick visit to the garage, and the basic choices cover a good range of playstyles, from the heavily-armored dreadnaught that can pummel enemies with mortar fire, to the biotech suit, a medical battleframe that can poison foes while healing allies. I bloody love turrets, however, so I stuck with the engineer most of the time. Though I carry two weapons -- a handy grenade launcher and a submachine gun, which can be fired from both a first and third-person perspective -- it's my deployable doohickeys that bring all the boys to the yard. Grotesque insects trying to jump at your face? No problem, buddy. I'll just drop this giant blue shield in front of you and save the day, because I'm just that kind of guy. A squad of Chosen trying to break up your party? Don't worry about it. I'll just construct a huge, manned turret and blow them all to kingdom come.  Grotesque insects? Chosen? What am I talking about, I hear you ask. Well, it's the old story of asteroid meets planet, asteroid falls in love with planet, the two hook up, and humanity is nearly wiped out. Civilization as we knew it is gone, and the landscape has been completely altered. To make everything worse, a spaceship crashed to Earth, devastating yet more of the world, and somehow allowing an alien race known as the Chosen to invade.  But enough of all that doom and gloom, I've got a jetpack and it's rad. It's even radder when one has a buddy to fly around with, and so I quickly get into the spirit of the second "M" in MMO, and meet up with a chum so we can brave the world as a duo. I don't like being told what to do, which works out rather well in Firefall, as it eschews the typical "go here and do this for XP" drag that has defined so many games in the genre. Instead, it was up to me how I wanted to progress. The first thing I wanted to do, like any hot-blooded chap, was get in on some of that sexy mining action. Chum in tow, we hovered around the place, looking for a quiet spot to start wrecking the planet. Absent x-ray vision, we found ourselves incapable of figuring out what part of the stunning -- yet, at this time, rather small -- world would yield the best minerals, but luckily we had a hammer that could do that for us. Striking the ground with a hammer revealed its hidden mineral wealth, causing a holographic signpost to pop up, showing the different resources that could be gathered, their rarity, and the percentage of each resource in that area. After only a few minutes, we struck gold. Well, carbon and silicate, and lots of it.  The second phase of pillaging the world's treasure trove of resources began by calling down a thumper: a large, towering device that falls from the sky, and slowly begins to pound the ground, scoffing up all of its goodies. Thump, thump, thump -- it's all very rhythmic and soothing, until the monsters arrive. They're drawn to the thumper, you see, and fling themselves at it with wild abandon. Protecting our greedy machine became our highest priority -- with me laying down turrets and shields, and my ally showering the beasties with bullets.  There are two things you should know about thumpers -- and I discovered both the hard way. The first is that the "WARNING" hologram that surrounds the mining area is not just for show. I thought it would be most amusing to stand right in the center, and just watch the thumper plummet to Earth. And, you know, it was fun. Until it landed and turned my body into a mess of broken bones and gore.  The second thing that you should know is that there are two types of thumpers, one for a single adventurer or a duo, and one for a group. The latter harvests more resources, but it also brings forth an unrelenting horde of monstrosities. Being brave and, I confess, very stupid, my comrade and I made the mistake of using the group thumper on one occasion, and spent the next few minutes desperately fighting for our lives as the whole area was swallowed up by a never-ending stream of mutated creatures. We did not survive. Cooperation is the name of the game in Firefall, and conveniently, the structure of the dynamic missions and harvesting makes it far easier to work together, instead of PvE devolving into competition. After our thumping misadventure, my chum and I discovered several other thumper sites on the map. These had all been called down by other players, and we were able to assist them without joining a group, and still got a share of the resources.  It's not all mining and slaughtering the local wildlife, though. No siree. There's a war going on between the Chosen and the Accord, and it is one seemingly without end. We were on our way to a large port in the south. Both of us had heard tales of a shop where one could purchase a tiny tiki-man with a flaming head who would follow you around for eternity. It sounded like a hoot, so we strapped on gliders -- one of the three means of transportation, which includes jetpacking and taking the shuttle -- and sped down the coast.  We landed in a warzone. Explosions rang in our ears, bullets flew past our vulnerable heads, and all around us were squads of Chosen, pouring out of drop-pods, being summoned by alien machines, and hiding behind translucent energy fields. Outside the walls and within the city, people were fighting and dying by the truck-load.  Such events are commonplace, though this was one of the larger, rarer ones. Dotted all over the land are smaller outposts that need to be defended or recaptured, but these large city assaults are the ultimate expression of this tug of war between the Chosen and the Accord. As such, they require a substantial number of players to win, and if the defenders fall, then the players become the besiegers.  We had little time for R&R after saving the port, and by the time we had saved the day, night had fallen, and a report came in on the radio: a strange weather anomaly was moving in on our position, and sure enough, a giant purple tornado was causing quite the stir. It wasn't a normal tornado, of course, and not just because tornadoes aren't normally this pretty. It was artificial in nature, with a mechanical core and floating escorts.  Destroying the twister necessitated destroying its mechanical source, which is easier said that done. Wildlife poured out of the rainforest, teaming up with the anomaly, and getting close to the tornado flung me up into the air, depositing me far from the battle and off a cliff. When I finally returned, my new friends had almost defeated the core, but this would only be the beginning of the evening's action. Next to where the tornado had been defeated, a portal appeared. Because nothing bad ever comes from stepping through an unexplored tear into a new reality, we all leaped in, eager to investigate a new realm. What a terrible mistake. A Lovecraftian nightmare greeted us, an arena at the heart of some fever dream, with chunks of alien crystal erupting out of the ground, and a veritable army of eldrich horrors sprinting towards us.  A fight is not how I would describe it. Struggling to survive in a reality that shouldn't exist is more apropos. The last thing I saw was a blinding light, and then nothing. I was dead, eventually resurrected far away in the safe confines of the Accord base at Sanctuary.  From the stunning coastal vistas and verdant jungles of Brazil, to an alien hellscape -- I had traveled far, and collected a fair amount of resources and experience. Upgrading my battleframe is anything but simple, but the payoff is that it's considerably more engaging than selecting a new ability upon leveling up. I wandered over to the crafting station, and before I could build anything, I had to refine all of my resources. Any work done here takes time, so it's often worth doing this when you're about to log off or go on yet another misadventure. Resources refined, I finally set about putting together new weapons, improved jetpacks, and some upgraded turrets. Where crafting can often be ignored -- though it's rarely advised -- in most MMOs, it's pretty much essential in Firefall. The list of possible components and upgrades is absurdly large -- and at this point it's a bit hard to navigate -- and begs to be experimented with. Building a weapon isn't as simple as merely selecting the gun and clicking "manufacture." I collected and refined the basic resources, built separate, essential components, and then added extra non-essential parts which would further increase the item's capabilities.  Before attaching these new weapons and components to my suit, I had to upgrade the internal workings of the battleframe itself. New weapons and augmentations require more energy, more cores, and increase the mass of the frame, and this is where XP comes into play. Experience points can be spent on adding more cores and making the suit more energy efficient.  Firefall is one of the few MMOs where developing a "build" actually involves construction, and the work that I put in to upgrading my suit added greater meaning to the incremental increase in my damage output and survivability. These aren't just numbers and stats, they are the culmination of actual mechanical tinkering and time spent gathering and manufacturing resources and components. In this sense, every player is an engineer, regardless of what battleframe they favor. With new weapons, an improved suit, and my little tiki-man friend, it was time to test my metal in a battle arena. No more fighting Chosen, insects, and bad weather -- other players would be my prey. You can check out my PVP impressions soon. I have to get back to combing my magnificent moustache. 
Firefall preview photo
And lots of mining
Red5's sci-fi MMO Firefall has been in beta for a very long time, recently hitting that open-beta milestone. So long, in fact, that when I started playing the closed beta in earnest last month, it had transformed into an enti...


Celebrate Firefall's open beta with this cheesy trailer

I can't look away
Jul 10
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
Yeah, it's a cheesy video but it sure does make me miss when games had live-action cutscenes. Not that I want more games to have live-action stuff again. Oh far from it. I just love watching really bad stuff like this while cringing in my seat. Anyway, Firefall is now in open beta. It's a free-to-play shooter, go check it out.
FireFall photo

FireFall goes into open beta this July

Expect some new updates before then
Apr 19
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
After what seems like forever, FireFall is finally getting ready to go into open beta come July 9, 2013. Developer Red 5 Studios will continue rolling out updates leading up to the open beta, and current players can expect a ...

Friday Night Fights: Win a Firefall Founders Pack!

Jan 25 // mrandydixon
New to FNF? Read this! Each week, a bunch of us Dtoiders get together to play videogames online! It's a 100% community-run event, so feel free to join in or even host something yourself! The planning for FNF starts in the forums, where community members sign up to host matches and post their pertinent details (game, time, Gamertag, etc.). Then, every Friday, reminder posts go up in the community blogs thanks to a dedicated group of volunteers, and I recap it all here on the front page to give it a bit more exposure. To join in, simply send a friend request to the match host! If you'd rather host something yourself, sound off in the comments section below! Tonight's Games: Persona 4 ArenaHost: Perfidious Sinn (GT: Perfidious Sinn)Time: 6 PM Pacific | 9 PM Eastern Call of Duty: Black Ops IIHost: SuperMonk4Ever (GT: SuperMonk4Ever)Time: 7 PM Pacific | 10 PM Eastern Check out the 360 FNF blog for more info! Tonight's Games: Call of Duty: Black Ops IIHost: KymikoLoco (PSN: KimikoLoco)Time: 6:30 PM Pacific | 9:30 PM Eastern Battlefield 3Host: Elsa (PSN: Elsa)Time: 7:30 PM Pacific | 10:30 PM EasternNote: Join the Dtoid Platoon! Anarchy ReignsHost: Trev (PSN: ElZilcho)Time: 8 PM Pacific | 11 PM Eastern Anarchy ReignsHost: Epic-Kx (PSN: UncannySilk)Time: 8:30 PM Pacific | 11:30 PM Eastern Warhammer 40,000: Space MarineHost: Trev (PSN: ElZilcho)Time: 10 PM Pacific | 1 AM Eastern Check out the PS3 FNF blog for more info! Tonight's Games: Trine 2Host: smurfee mcgee (NID: smurfee_mcgee)Time: 8 PM Pacific | 11 PM Eastern Check out the Wii U FNF blog for more info! Tonight's Games: Team Fortress 2 (Early Game)Server: 5 PM Pacific | 8 PM Eastern FirefallHost: SwishieeTime: 9 PM Pacific | 12 PM Eastern Team Fortress 2 (Late Game)Server: 9 PM Pacific | 12 AM Eastern Tribes AscendServer: Destructoid (NA East)Time: 9 PM Pacific | 12 AM Eastern Left 4 Dead 2Host: PhilKenSebben (Steam: hillbillysk8)Time: 10 PM Pacific | 1 AM Eastern Binary DomainHost: PhilKenSebben (Steam: hillbillysk8)Time: 12 AM Pacific | 3 AM Eastern Join our Steamtoid group to find more games! Check out the PC FNF blog for more info! Free this weekend? Why not sign up to host something for the Weekend Warriors community event! It's like Friday Night Fights all weekend long!
FNF photo
And hop in the beta with the Destructoid community!
[Update: Contest over! Winners have been PM'd their codes.] Welcome to another exciting edition of Dtoid's Friday Night Fights! For tonight's event, our friends at Red 5 Studios are celebrating this weekend's Firefall open be...

Firefall beta photo
Firefall beta

Firefall begins weekend open beta testing

Stress test it, baby
Jan 23
// Harry Monogenis
Have you been itching to try out the Firefall beta but couldn't because, you know, beta access codes? Well, Red 5 Studios is about to make your day (or weekend) because the studio has today announced a temporary open beta te...
Grab your code now and be ready for this weekend's beta!
[Update: Codes expired! Thanks for playing!] Our buddies at Red 5 Studios have given the Dtoid community another 2,000 keys to participate in this weekend's Firefall beta event! To claim your code, just head on over...

Play all weekend long!
[Update: Codes expired! Check back next week for another set!] Our friends at Red 5 Studios have given the Destructoid community 2,000 keys to participate in this weekend's leg of the Firefall beta! To claim your code, just h...

Firefall's major update owes thanks to community feedback

Aug 21 // Hamza CTZ Aziz
The biggest change to Firefall which affects both the MMO and PvP aspects of the game is the new leveling system. The original system wasn't cutting it, so they completely tossed it out the window. "We didn't like the time between upgrades and the fact that the player couldn't really choose their upgrades," David told me. "It was 'Congratulations, you just spent 30 hours gaining experience, and now we give you this!' because that was the next thing on the list. We've actually switched to a tier system, and within each tier you have an entire tech tree for your Battleframe (loadout). So rather than gathering experience points to level up, you're now spending experience points in the tech tree to unlock different upgrades for your battle frame." With the tier and tech-tree system, you call the shots for how your character progresses. You can upgrade a secondary weapon to give it faster rate of fire, or upgrade the shotgun so it will have a faster reload speed. "As a player, you're having to make choices about what kinds of bonuses you want." Another significant addition to Firefall is the changes made to a couple of the classes. Originally, there was a Medic class and "what the players found, and what [Red 5] found, was that at a competitive level you basically had to have [a Medic] and all of the combat was being balanced around the expectation of two or three medics on a five-man team." Anytime that the team nerfed the Medic in some way, people ended up going from using the Medic all the time to never using him at all. "They were either so good that everybody had to have them or they were completely terrible and nobody liked playing them at all. There really wasn't an in-between point, the balance point largely didn't exist." So instead of rebalancing the entire game around the Medic, Red 5 decided on reworking the class entirely. The replacement class is now called the Biotech, and he no longer has a specific healing weapon for teammates. Instead his new main is the needler, which has a vampire-like effect that gives the Biotech health every time a needle strikes a target. While the class doesn't have a gun that's a constant stream of healing energy anymore, that doesn't mean he can't aid other players still. He has a healing wave ability, which is a wave of energy that will heal any teammates that get hit by it. "Now of course if you're going to take something away, we still want this class to be fun," David adds. "So we added a strong secondary component to the class which is poisons. The same nanites that he's using to heal guys he can also use to poison his enemies. An example of that is this poison trail ability that he has. So for a couple of seconds he leaves this trail of poison which is going to rip apart any bad guys that try to follow you. It's also hard to see through. Personally one of the things I like to use it for is if one of my teammates goes down, I run over there, do a quick circle around him with the poison trail and then I can crouch down and I have enough time to get a revive off while the enemies can't see me. As much as possible we like to have our abilities have a dual function, dual purpose." Lastly, David and I discussed the eSports side of things with Firefall. There's no doubt anymore that competitive gaming is here to stay. An entire hall at gamescom was dedicated to eSports alone, with a number of different games all hosting live cash prize tournaments. To give you some context, this one hall is as big, if not bigger, than either of the main halls at E3. That's a lot of eSports, folks. It was amazing (and difficult to get through) the huge crowd of gamers all standing in the booths and aisles, watching the big screens of other people play games while the other four halls of gamescom had a ton of unreleased games on offer. David believes that Firefall is a eSports game all the way, and a lot of the changes cater towards the pro players. "There was a bunch of things about the game that weren't quite shaping up the way we wanted them to ... The skill cap wasn't high enough and the really top players weren't really able to distance themselves enough from a standard player … We really wanted to push on raising the skill cap, giving the highly skilled players the ability to distance themselves and really show off their skills in Firefall." Don't let this scare you off if you've never played. Firefall is still "accessible early on" as David told me, they're just providing something that lets the advance players get more out of the game. The other aspect of the eSports focus comes from the eSports Toolkit in Firefall. You can go watch live or prior matches and jump to the perspective of each character on the fly. You can also jump to fixed camera positions, use a free-flying camera, and get an automated, overhead top-down camera that will move and focus to wherever the most action is taking place on the map. The tool also lets you slow down and freeze the action, even if the match is live. The toolkit provides recording options as well, with integration to Twitch.TV so you can store your videos. [embed]233496:44799[/embed] There's also a more advanced toolkit for shoutcasters, where they get more features to cast a match efficiently. They'll be able to see important stats, and there's dual-monitor support where the second monitor will show you all of the camera perspectives at one time. This basically gives you a real sports production feel, allowing you to cut straight to the action as you see it occur live. David told me that players have already posted thousands upon thousands of videos since the launch of the toolkit a couple of weeks ago. It's obviously a good marketing tool for Red 5, but it's also important to the studio as eSports "means that there is always a skill goal for the players. They know there time spent in game is always going to make them better and better and better. You don't want to feel like you've never learned everything about the game or that you cannot get any better at it. If you do, you get board. There's just constant improvement that is still going to be available. You don't want to hit your head on the ceiling and say 'Oh okay I guess this is as good as I can be.' There's only so good you can get at Tic-Tac-Toe. But there is no limit to how good you can get at chess, for example. And then the other side is that having a pro circuit it creates a short of a long-term goal for people. I know it was true for me when I was playing Magic professionally for a while. There was only about ten of us making money at the time. But the guys who weren't still liked the idea that we existed, and loved talking to us about it because even though I'll never be a professional videogame player, I like the fact that they're out there. It gives you that 'you know, maybe someday' feel to it. That helps make the game more exciting. Maybe if I play this a little more, I can get good at it. Maybe this is that game that I can really dig my teeth into and I get so good at it that this could happen to me. It's a real cool long-term goal for people to have in the back of their heads. Even when I stopped playing Magic professionally, I still had that in the back of my head -- 'You know, maybe if I focused on it again, I can get back up there.' And I bought a whole bunch of cards with that in the back of my head, even though I knew realistically it wasn't going to happen. Having that in the back of your head makes the game a little more fun than it would be otherwise." At the end of the day, it's all about the community. The eSports features add to the overall experience, and gives players something to talk about. It gives players stories to tell, asking each other what they thought of last night's game, much like people do with any sports match. Look for Firefall at PAX Prime this year, otherwise keep tabs on the official website to see how you can get into the beta to check all this out for yourself.

Red 5 Studios' free-to-play shooter Firefall is essentially two games in one. There's the MMO aspect of the game, where hundreds of players can work together in an open-world environment and take part in the overall meta g...


Firefall dev says game consoles are 'broken' and 'dead'

May 03
// Jim Sterling
Game designer and Red 5 boss Mark Kern is ready to kick the footstool from under the feet of modern videogame consoles and let them dangle. According to the man heading up Firefall, the business models keeping the Xbox 360, P...

Extra Credits explains Firefall's 'staged content'

Apr 19
// Daniel Starkey
Starkey here, with yet another Firefall post. This time, we have a video discussing how the people at Red 5 Studios are planning to create a strong sense of community by using a unique method of content deployment.It's a pret...

Check out Firefall at PAX East

Mar 27
// Daniel Starkey
Remember Firefall? That game I've been talking about for what seems like forever? Well, Red5 is going to be at PAX East showing it off for attendees. It will be the first public demo of the invite-only beta. Anyone who s...

Firefall dev's 'fireside' chat

Feb 10
// Daniel Starkey
So... I dunno if you brodudes have been following Firefall, if not, you definitely should be. It's pretty cool. Earlier today, Red 5, the studio behind the project released a new developer diary to explain what it is, th...

Firefall, Red 5 and LFG Livestream

Jan 20
// Daniel Starkey
Come join me and the Red 5 guys at 6PM CST (4PM Pacific) for a live video interview. We'll be talking about the SOPA/PIPA bills, Wednesday's blackout, the E3 boycott, and the League for Gamers. After that Red 5 will anno...

Join Destructoid and Red 5 for a Firefall stream Friday!

Jan 19
// Conrad Zimmerman
This Friday at 4pm Pacific, the team at Red 5 Studios will be hanging with Destructoid for a live streaming preview of Firefall. Join Daniel Starkey as he talks with the developers and discusses their work on this team-based ...

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