Looks like the beta season is starting to really ramp up, with developers Red 5 announcing that its Free To Play MMO shooter Firefall will be hosting three public beta weekends, the first of which will occur on January 25th. These public betas will be open to anyone, allowing any prospective players the chance to see what is in store for the online shooter.
“After successfully completing a few controlled stress-tests late last year, we’re excited to move into the next phase,” said James Macauley, Vice President of Development at Red 5 Studios in a press release issued earlier. “This will be the first time that we’ve opened up Firefall’s servers to everyone. We’re really looking forward to gathering a bunch of new feedback and data that will help us build up to launch this year.”
The public beta weekends, two more of which are set to take place in February and March, will also feature community unlocks and contests the highlights of which are:
· Skillshot Contest (Video) – Record and submit an epic skillshot video for a chance to win a prize pack filled with Firefall SWAG and Razer™ gear
· Skillshot Contest (Screen) – Screencap a stylish skillshot for a chance at being featured on the official Firefall Facebook page
· Community Unlock – Play during the weekend to unlock an exclusive, customized Battleframe decal
We previewed Firefall towards the end of last year during one of its beta weekend events, finding its mix of arcade style controls with dynamic content an enjoyable experience with plenty of potential. However, these public beta weekends will provide you with the chance to make your mind up for yourself. More information on the public beta weekends will be available over on official website later in the week so be sure to check back if you want to get involved.
Developer: Red 5
Publisher: Red 5
As time goes on, it appears developers are determined to do away with the stigma that the term “Free To Play” has had put upon it in recent years. What used to be the realm of former subscription-only titles looking for a second lease in life and products that didn’t have the shine of their bigger budget counterparts are now being joined by the likes of PlanetSide 2 and DOTA 2, proving that “free” doesn’t necessarily equal a cheap experience. So after a fair few years in development, the folks at Red 5 (started up by veterans from Blizzard Entertainment) have recently started to peel back the shroud of secrecy from its upcoming Free To Play MMO, Firefall. Best described as an open world shooter, Firefall aims to stand up to the other titles in its genre by providing an action packed experience with a dynamic environment. Before I give my thoughts on whether Red 5 are currently on the right track, let’s quickly discuss the backstory.
After an asteroid breaks up and hits Earth, sending the planet into a new dark age, a new element called Crystite is discovered that provides power potential. This launches humanity into a new golden age, and in the search for more of the new element they begin traveling to the Alpha Centauri system. Unfortunately, the trip to and from Earth takes 8 years, so using a type of wormhole technology called arcfolding, the Arclight spaceship is built. The hope is to cut the trip down to 8 days, but of course, the maiden voyage goes horribly wrong, causing the Arclight to crash off the coast of Brazil, and the failed arcfolding attempt instead unleashes the Melding: an energy wave that terraforms Earth and makes the majority of the planet uninhabitable. With hostile wildlife at every turn and the emergence of a mysterious faction called The Chosen, it’s up to players to secure what land is left, gather up any Crystite, and build more elaborate and effective equipment in the process.Click here to read more...
Red 5 Studios have released a new developer diary for Firefall,discussing the sweeping gameplay changes they're incorporating into their free-to-play FPS, . The team reveal how they've worked suggestions from the game's burgeoning hardcore community into the title itself.
You can sign up for the beta here.Click here to read more...
In case you don't know, the US House Committee will be discussing and possibly approving an incredibly controversial piece of legislation next week. Known as SOPA, the Stop Online Piracy Act (bolstered by another bill called Protect IP), this draconian measure would grant copyright holders the power to shut down US sites suspected of hosting - even unknowingly - copyrighted content... with an investigation taking place after the servers go down.
What's more, ISPs would be obliged to block Americans from international sites like ours, if there's any suspicion of going off-message. UPDATE: Not any more. If you've ever played Metal Gear Solid 2, it's basically Arsenal Gear IRL. More details here.
Several sites have vowed to protest the move by shutting their servers down next Wednesday. Full story after the break.Click here to read more...
Freemium shooter Firefall, the MMOFPS from ex-WOW team lead Mark Kern's studio, is (fingers crossed) hopefully almost upon us and Red 5 Studios have released a developer diary featuring Lead Class Designer, Dave Williams, to discuss balancing the five different Firefall battleframes, the challenges of balancing for PvE and PvP, and what's left for the future of battleframe design.Click here to read more...
When the subject of gaming crops up in most think tanks or even talk shows, the end result is almost always some alarmist tripe (usually along the lines of "videogames cause violence/cancer/broken homes/hell portals to open up and devour our rosy-cheeked youth")- but not this time. Non-governmental lobby group Council for Industry and Higher Education (CIHE for short) has called for games to play a greater part in schools' IT curriculum.
The latest CIHE report states that the current IT teaching methods are antiquated and inadequate- and that adding interactive elements or even game design/coding lessons would bring the curriculum up to a 21st century standard. What's more, the report purports that the UK's ICT training is vastly lagging behind that of China, Japan and the United States.
"By supporting the integration of creative and digital elements in the curriculum, schools can provide a more effective pipeline of talent to Higher Education and employment.
Clearly children are interested in computer games, and we want them to be taught the computing principles and hard maths and science that are behind the games."
"At the moment ICT is just a box-ticking exercise." - Dr David Docherty, CIHE
Considering that UK game development has historically been an extremely proud and productive part of our digital economy, I personally applaud this latest effort to create a next-gen IT curriculum. [Gamesindustry]
Should games play a greater role in IT lessons... or even across the whole timetable? Should we be raising a whole new generation of budding game developers? Have your say in the comments!
Star Wars: The Force Unleashed was a fun and capable action game, but the PS3 version suffered from odd graphical problems that stopped it realising its potential and taking full advantage of the hardware. Many PS3 gamers were outraged by the loss in performance compared to the Xbox 360 version- and Lucasarts would be the first to admit that there were a few hiccups.
"For me I think I like putting builds on the 360, it's a lot faster,"
"There were times, especially on the original Force Unleashed, where on the PS3, we weren't quite up to speed. But now I think [360 and PS3 are] so hand in hand that every change we make is tested on both at the same time, side-by-side throughout the whole thing."- LucasArts producer Cameron Suey
We're glad to hear that development can now continue in tandem and that both PS3 and Xbox 360 owners will be able t0 enjoy the same quality build... though Sony only have themselves to blame for the catchup time suffered by several third party studios. Now we're back on track- and psyched for the Star Wars sequel. [CVG]
Matt was able to get to grips with the Force Unleased II at Gamescom. Why not check out the hands-on preview?
Our coverage of Duke Nukem Forever and Gearbox's unfortunately caused Firefall t0 slip under our radar, but allow me to rectify this glaring omission. Former Blizzard Lead Designer Mark Kern and Tribes designer Scott Youngblood have cooked up a class-based multiplayer experience with a distinct cell shaded style. Imagine Starship Troopers mixed with Starcraft... and tribes... and Borderlands... and awesome.
Best of all, it's free to play- making this another half news story/half deal in its own right.
We'll let you know when we hear anything about the pricing structure or microtransations before the "late 2011" release date... but for now, enjoy some new gameplay footage. [Firefall The Game]
To honour Mario's pending 25th anniversary, Nintendo have pushed out all the stops and trademarked a reverential new... logo. Enjoy.