Firefall will officially sunset tomorrow

Did our article yesterday on MMOs in limbo knock one loose? Probably not, but one of them is sunsetting all the same: Firefall. Late last night, an unknown Red 5 staffer posted the sad news.

“With heavy hearts, we regret to inform you that after much review and analysis, Red 5 Studios have decided to suspend the Firefall efforts on 7th, July 2017. Thank you for being an important part of the Firefall experience and for your loyalty and dedication to the online community. Your efforts and loyalty will not go without recognition, however. Firefall is currently developing a mobile version of the game and all of Firefall’s founders and players will be rewarded greatly in the new game. We will be sure to provide everyone with more updates as we have them. Thank you for your support and enthusiasm throughout the years; we will see you at the next battle.”

Yay, a mobile game. You could also head over and pick up your credit toward Mark Kern’s new game, Em-8ER.

It’s been a wild ride for Firefall. It had already weathered one mess after another — the e-sports bus fiasco and suspension of PvP and former CEO Mark Kern hoopla and “pre-launch reorganization” — in the lead up to launch. But in 2015, Red 5 missed payroll, followed by a brutal company meetinglate salaries, and the inevitable “reorganization” layoffs and departures, which didn’t help the bug-laden Razor’s Edge patch. In May of 2016, Red 5’s Chinese owner The9 traded part of its stake in the studio to a Cayman Islands cashmere manufacturer and announced mobile and console ports for Firefall, but that company’s stock crashed soon after and trading was suspended. Then Mark Kern even resurfaced to offer to buy the game that fired him. By July, more layoffs apparently took the rest of the US team. In August, the game went offline without notice, then again in January of this year, supposedly because of datacenter issues.

This time, however, the game isn’t coming up again. Our condolences to all affected players.

Source: Official site. With thanks to Kevin.
Update: Mark Kern has posted the following:

“Red 5 Studios has decided to shut down Firefall effectively tommorow, July 7th. This means that today is the last day to claim Firefall credit via our founders’s program. Since we do not control Firefall’s servers, we will have no way to verify founders when the servers go down. We are saddened by this news, and apologize for the short notice. Please help spread the word so that any remaining Firefall vets or forum users can claim credit for Em-8ER’s future virtual cosmetics store.”

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78 Comments on "Firefall will officially sunset tomorrow"

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Esoteric Coyote

Some of the iterations were good. It’s a shame, but not a surprise to see it sunset.

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Jack Kerras

I loved Firefall.

I liked a lot about its crafting system back when there were qualities and properties to consider. I feel like their rarity systems and such made this less interesting than SWG (where you could get some copper which was good for some things and some which was good for other things, as opposed to just ‘good copper’ or ‘bad copper’), but the effect of crafting gear in the end was just fine.

They started to layer all sorts of specialization systems on top of it which basically choked the life out of the thing; I liked being able to experiment (a thing which Crowfall is doing and SWG did, but Firefall never did, that I recall) and build cool things, but having to grind X amount of some knowledge stat by crafting oodles of worthless items was not my favorite thing.

Being able to make neat stuff is just fantastic. I really enjoyed a lot about older Firefall, and a lot of the aspects of newer Firefall iterations had merit also. I can’t imagine how hard the team worked, I know how long, and I’m sad to see it go.

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Kristakis

At one point the crafting was so good that we made a fan site for it. Never done that before and I doubt I’ll ever see a game worthy of it in the future. Never say never though…

Skoryy
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Skoryy

So who gets possession of the bus?

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Targeter

This is an excellent callback.

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Fred Douglas

Boy, what a dumpster fire. I wouldn’t have been surprised to read “and a man-eating Gorilla later killed the new executive producer” thrown into that summary paragraph.

Reader
MolleaFauss

This should have happened long a go. It’s been an agony.
I just feel quite uneasy about Mark Kern meddling with the corpse of his (ex)creature. He isn’t completely innocente about the Firefall demise …

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jaif13

I loved playing the game; the theme, the graphics, the sounds, the jumping, the shooting. I’m not even an fps guy, and I loved it.

But in the long run it was repetitive and boring. It needed a focus – PvE or crafting or PvP or GvG or RvR or a strong mix – something to tie all that fun fighting stuff together to give it meaning.

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flamethekid .

it had one it was just revamped once or twice every year till they fired the CEO ran out of money and put out a deadline forcing them to pull out the good ol WoW formula

PurpleCopper
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PurpleCopper

Why am I not surprised?

This game went through so many different overhauls. I seriously wonder what the heck they were thinking.

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Jesse Schulkers

To put it simply the management were chasing the flavor of the month. One overhaul was for PVE. Another for PVP. Then back to PVE. And each time they trashed the character systems to favor the system in question. The constant ping ponging kept driving away players.

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mike foster

Yeah wasn’t there a complete overhaul once for the sake of esports?

fallwind
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fallwind

two or three if my memory serves.

Mewmew
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Mewmew

To do a mobile game right takes a lot more skill and planning than a lot of companies think going in. I’d love to play something actually finished out with a clear direction that was Firefall related and I do like mobile games a lot, but they are a lot easier to mess up and fail at than what many companies believe. You can’t go in with a PC mindset, you really have to know the mobile platform and it’s players.

I of course wish them luck. It’s a shame to see what could of been that just never came together.

Reader
Reselect Name

The game was pretty terrible. A boring bug shooter.

Mewmew
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Mewmew

No, it wasn’t. The game was pretty decent actually, depending on which iteration you played. It had so many changes to the core game it could make your head spin. While I did not enjoy the last version they settled on, there was some pretty decent fun earlier on with some majorly difficult events that took numerous community members to take down. The frames themselves were pretty nice as well with a lot of differences to them.

The game was never properly finished. But I guess from Satan I should expect this comment :P

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Reselect Name

Sure. That’s why were making comments in an article about it going out of business, because it wasn’t terrible.

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Ashfyn Ninegold

Yup, it’s a bummer when a game you like sunsets. Doubt there’s a single gamer that doesn’t have their own sunset blues. I’m still waiting for someone to remaster SSG’s Warlords II. Sigh.

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CthulhuDawg

RIP EQOA/SWG

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Castagere Shaikura

I have been through two and yeah it sucks when its games you really like. Mine were Earth & Beyond and Auto Assault.

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Paarthurnax Dragonhearth

Sure lie to yourself …. I would bet my soul to that Satan dude ..even if they kept the iteration that you say … it would still fail and Die ….. but sure … you liked it and that’s why it would not fail ….. Logic … -_-

kjempff
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kjempff

Not a surprise, but sad nevertheless. The game needed major changes and content, and with the game more or less hasn’t changed in 2 years that was a pretty clear indicator. They had a game with potential and the major change in direction after Kern got booted was a step in the right direction, but only if they kept on making the necessary changes to the core game… which they didn’t.

Mobile ? Noo, die with dignity.

kjempff
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kjempff

My impression is that he is great at marketing, but not very skilled at designing games. At least his original “vision” with Firefall was a mess that was never going to work, and after he got gone Red 5 tried to make a game out of it.. some things they did worked, other were not great.

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Michael Lehner

Nah. Say about Kern what you want. He sure got an ego big enough for a dozen and he sure messed up many things. Among other things, his marketing for this game sure was crazy and over the top. But the game itselt, at its time, was pretty good.

Unfortunately the publisher then decided to want massive changes, which were in strong contrast to the games base design and philosphy. Forcing the developers to make that switch killed the playerbase, it never recovered from that.

So, blame Kern for many things, including overhying the game before it was launched, but the downfall of development and the messed up design in the end were not his fault. He fought against these changes from all we players knew, and was “let go”. Only after he was gone, the disastrous changes were made.

Mewmew
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Mewmew

It’s hard to say who really is right in this he said she said situation. Kern really may have messed up the game, the direction of it and development more than we realize. He definitely was a chaotic force in development, too many people confirmed him coming in and yelling at them to change and do things completely different than what he said a few months before for it to be false.

And yet after he left they messed it up even more. They had a chance to rebuild and do it right and never got themselves back on track to do that. I don’t know if it was lack of funds and faith from investors after the whole Kern situation but things only got worse after he left and not better. Maybe whoever took over just didn’t have a clear picture of what players really wanted. Although a story line was always welcome and nice to see, most new changes were not for the better.

I’m willing to give his new game a chance and for him to prove himself, just as I would the current Firefall team. Maybe they just weren’t all a good mix for each other. Maybe Kern has actually learned from his mistakes (Unlike Derek Smart). There’s enough blame to go around in Firefall and it could be he set things in motion that just couldn’t be fixed, most of us don’t really know either way.

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Bruno Brito

Kern was the trigger for a mindset for Firefall to fail.

You don’t keep screaming vision at everyone in your studio, then leave after being a chaotic force and expect peace to reign and minds to be sane. It wasn’t the case. They had to rush stuff to make Firefall appealing without a head. Kern set them back in that.

Think about this: If Kern hadn’t failed and wasn’t such a inocuous imbecile, they wouldn’t have to “do better”.

He failed at his damn job and set the entire company for failure. They have responsabilities? For sure. But GUILT? It’s all his.

kjempff
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kjempff

I disagree, obviously :D I will stick to my opinion “his original vision was a mess that was never going to work as a game” hehe… err I mean not all of it, some parts were good, I mean as a complete package it was not well thought game design wise.

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Dug From The Earth

Part of me wishes Firefall would pull an “Alien queen” move from Aliens, and reach up and grab em-8er by the foot and pull it down with it.

Is a shame though that Firefall never got a chance to be the game it was hyped to be.

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Danny Smith

I would say “who is still playing?” but theres always some down with the ship die hard for every game.

But honestly i thought it died like a year ago and they just kept it quiet.

Mewmew
Reader
Mewmew

The only reason we weren’t still playing was because we never knew when it was actually even up and available for play. It would be up and down all the time with no notice at all and no news. It made it really hard to play.

If they had kept on developing the game into something and kept it up, a lot of us would still be around. Some of their visions were pretty decent, others not so much. Honestly they could take the entire thing down long term, rebuild it a good deal and re-launch like FFXIV did and possibly do pretty well. It definitely *could* be built into something decent, it’s just hard to say if that will actually happen or not until we’d see the relaunch.

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Tridus

I doubt it. FFXIV was able to do that because it had the backing of Square-Enix and its massive wallet. Not to diminish what YoshiP and the team were able to do in reviving FFXIV at all, because they pulled of something very hard to do successfully… but without the budget to do it, there’s no chance.

They’re likely going mobile because it’s significantly cheaper in terms of upfront cost.

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Sleepy

I had great fun in Firefall. There were obviously some very talented people working on it, regardless of the politics behind it. Hope they end up somewhere their creativity is appreciated.

Nathaniel Downes
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Nathaniel Downes

This game had such potential. Very tragic how things went down.

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mcsleaz

Had alot of fun in this game, but it just didnt have the content to keep me around.

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Targeter

Em8attled MM0 8urns 8ridges 8y 8reaking 8ad.

Reader
Utakata

Well, that truly sucks. (And in saying so, I don’t care if /Alt Kern developed it and in turn helped it’s demised when he was let go.) My best wishes and condolences to those who played the game, it’s fans and those who worked on it who’ll likely finding themselves out of work after the fact.

I wish the game was still around for a better future. It’s truly sad that it got cut short so it will never experience that. /sigh

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Zen Dadaist

Sadly, no surprise. Oh well, I had a little fun there.

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Nick Smith

I love Firefall. I played Defiance and Planetside as well but they dont give me that cool jumppack fly through the air feeling as did Firefall.

Sigh.

Is there anything else out there like this?

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Tazuras

Wait for Anthem maybe, it has jetpacks, though it doesn’t look like it will have much of an open world.

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Meanie

Yeah..I got to the game pretty late so I didn’t stick around long knowing that it had not much of a future at all. Still haven’t found anything in the way of it though.

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Kickstarter Donor
Alex Willis

I know this is unfair of me, because [POLITICS], but I stopped giving this game the benefit of the doubt the minute Orson Scott Card became involved. I have no room in my life for products that written by toxic homophobes, or in studios who overlook such matters when they hire writers.

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Nascent Visions

Voting with your wallet is almost always the most effective way.

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Castagere Shaikura

Man i really loved this game back at its start. The dev events were some of the best ones i ‘ve ever been in. It had it all. The alien storms that popped up and you would yell in chat to players and they would all come running in to help take it down. The Thumping for ores while defending the spot from masses of mobs trying to take it down. The city hubs would get hit from devs launching invasions and players had too save the city. This game was amazing but bad people were in charge. This is one game i wish someone that loved it could buy.

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Melissa McDonald

I know it’s not what everyone wants to hear, but our genre is dying. PC MMOs are finding new / extended life by moving to consoles, new development (and developers) are looking to Mobile as their chance to make money. Asia has deeper pockets from thirty years of being the technology manufacturing center of the earth… so they can still do it, but won’t forever.

To paraphrase Merlin from EXCALIBUR…
“The days of our kind are numbered. The Mobile god comes to drive out the PC gods. The spirits of wood and stream grow silent. It’s the way of things. Yes… it’s a time for men, and their ways.”

Reader
rafael12104

“Looking at a console game is like looking at the future, until you’ve played it what do you really know? And then, of course, it’s too late.”

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Geoffrey Smith

I don’t think it is dying as much as it is going through a market correction.

All these AAA producers banked on being the next WoW and ignored the reality that WoW was a once in a lifetime thing that benefited as much from timing as anything else. Once the correct this by putting out titles with better directed focus (i.e. NOT expecting 1 million subs or something stupid) it will be fine.

I am not too keen on this future as I don’t really like the weird niche titles it is leading to, but that seems to be the proper course in a business sense.

ceder
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ceder

No this is simply the market working as intended. Poor game + Mismanagement= demise. Plain and simple.

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Greaterdivinity

It’s not dying, it’s evolving/being refined. Unlike non-MMO’s, MMO’s can’t really maintain sustained new releases without older/weaker games closing down, there simply won’t be enough folks playing/spending money to keep them all alive. There has been a slow cull of a lot of the weaker titles already (note – we have far fewer low budget imports getting attention/coming over than we used to) and we’re seeing the lack of growth leading to a more or less halt on big budget Western MMO’s, but that doesn’t mean the genre is dying.

Yeah, it’s getting a boost from gaining access to a new crowd/market on consoles, but that’s a stopgap. Eventually consoles will reach similar levels of saturation, and a lot of the weaker titles there will fade into obscurity or close down (remember that PS4 exclusive F2P game The Tomorrow Children? Not many do, but after launching last year it’s closing down this November because well…nobody played it).

It’s a rough transition for a lot of us, but it’s much needed for the genre moving forward. There will need to be a certain level of consolidation/contraction in the market to make room for more growth for existing titles or new titles.

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Schmidt.Capela

There is a change, though, in that many of the technologies behind cool MMO features are becoming cheap enough they might be included in other games, watering down the differential MMOs offer. Thus, players that might before be lured into MMOs due to those features might instead go for non-MMO games that implement them.

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mike foster

In the WoW days WoW was the game I played to hang with friends. Now I can play…anything. Almost anything. We rotate in and out of games almost on a bi-weekly cadence — last month SFV, tonight World of Warships, etc.

The only constant for us is League (disclaimer: work at Riot). And even that we play in waves when something cool comes around.

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Geoffrey Smith

Wish I could take advantage of the founders thing for Em8er, but can’t, as I don’t have any forum posts as I never used their gawdawful forums. My account is certainly old enough.

Anyway, it was time for this game to die. It went through so many damn revisions that there really was no point to it. I don’t really regret my purchase though, I enjoyed it.

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Green Dragoon

I always felt Firefall deserved better. It was such a cool concept and had fun gameplay. Unfortunately, it also felt like it had parents who were always fighting to the detriment of the child.

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Michael Lehner

Yea. It for quite a while was an awesome game. Sure a bit starved of content, but that was early in its lifetime and the players understood and accepted that.

But the publishers once again had the game reworked, in the end even from an open world game to a level based one, which really drove the players away in masses. Would the game have stuck with its original vision, it might have kept a loyal fan- and playerbase for many years.

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mysecretid

This, Green Dragon. My family enjoyed it quite a lot (we came in post-Kern), but it was hard to know where it was headed.

When the current owners went radio-silent, it became like a guessing game, wondering if there was even going to be a game a week from now.

We had a lot of fun while we were there, though.

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David Goodman

I’ll echo and thumbs up that. I did really like the idea and theme, and jumpjets are great fun in any game :)

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Kickstarter Donor
Greaterdivinity

What a long, disappointing, exhausting trip this has been. Still disappointed with how things turned out, the game definitely had some great potential, but the writing was on the wall for this outcome years ago while Kern was still on board.

Sucks that the remaining players (however many there are…dozens? literally dozens?) only get 24 hours of notice before things go dark, but at least it’s better than surprise closures like have been feared for the game in the past.

RIP a potentially interesting and fantastic game.

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mysecretid

Honestly, I was surprised by how many people were still playing the last few times I was in.

I definitely saw more than dozens, and people were still showing up in good numbers for some of the open-world event tasks. More than I would’ve expected, honestly.

What used to make me laugh, though, during these final months were the very-obvious handful of bots parked around certain once-valuable farming nodes — what advantage were they hoping to gain in a game clearly at risk of going away any day? Who were they hoping to sell gold to? Was someone still desperate to impress other players with their “1337” gear while the game was only living day-to-day? :-D Sad, you know?

Cheers,

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Little Bugbear

This is so sad, Firefall had a lot of potential. I had always wanted to go back and play the game. Sadly with the roller coaster of a life Firefall had I just didn’t want to get too attached. RIP Firefall.

ceder
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ceder

Potential is code for faith based decision making without anything significant to back it. As long as gamers make these faith based decisions and purchase, then companies will continue to take their money and give little to nothing in return.

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Little Bugbear

I played the game and had a lot of fun during my time there. Potential means, based on what I saw, some changes could have made the game amazing (combat was a real joy). I’d say that is pretty significant. I just think Mark Kern was too great an obstacle too overcome.

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BalsBigBrother

You could also head over and pick up your credit toward Mark Kern’s new game, Em-8ER.

Now that is just throwing salt into the wound and then squeezing lemon juice onto the mess.

I had fun when I played Firefall in the early days but the frequent changes in direction that it took really pushed me away from the project. Despite a few attempt at returning it never really stuck for me again in the same way.

Sad to see you go but if ever there was a game that it was inevitable it would be sunset it was this one /sigh

miol
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miol

I’ve noticed, you’re sighing a lot lately! That’s not a good sign for the genre! :/

“Yes that’s right, we’re currently experiencing a 12 on the open-ended BBB sigh scale right now! People a running out of their housing and leaving all the expensive decoration behind! Jeff, back to you in the studio!”

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Dominick Critelli

I can’t say I’m surprised. This game has been a hot mess since day 1.

Kern was clearly over ambitious and has a serious focus problem (needs people to ring in his ideas and ground them in reality), but it didn’t take long after he was removed to see that the claims that he was pretty much the entire problem were wholly false. The game /never/ got it’s focus right, and never found itself in a position comfortable enough to experiment in the way it really needed to to find that golden thing to make it work properly.

Damn shame. I hope the developers land on their feet, and Kern gets himself some adequate creative managers for his new thing. This is pretty much the prime testimony as to why it’s a bad idea to allow creatives to head the boat unchecked.

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Bruno Brito

I disagree. People don’t realize how much of a toxicity, a toxic person can generate to others mindset. When you spend your year fixing shit it shouldn’t be broken, you get pretty awful.

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Dominick Critelli

That’s true, but it doesn’t change the fact they had multiple years after Kern was gone and still didn’t turn it around. As Geoffrey pointed out, the game had a short period of light at the end of the tunnel, but it didn’t last. They might have at one point been going towards what they needed, but they did a u-turn instead of recognizing what they finally had.

It either boiled down to publisher intervention, or the team was just inherently bad at maintaining a focused goal. Kern didn’t help whatever problem was there, but he was far from the source. If he was the source, the team should have been able to turn it around in the years following his departure.

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Geoffrey Smith

See, the thing is, the game actually WAS in a pretty good state circa mid to late 2014, I thought. They just went through these insane over revisions for reasons that were never really explained or made any sense.

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Michael Lehner

I fully agree. Sure it was not everybody game even at that time. It was very much a sandboy game and indeed had some grindy elements. It at all times was a bit short of content, but at that time of development, we understood and accepted that.

But when they for the fourth time completely reworked already perfectly functional core mechanics, this time replacing them all with a level based system, players just got fed up. And from all we know by now, Red5 never wanted to make those changes, but the publisher forced them to go that way.

Afterwards the game just never was the same. What formerly was an open world game, where you could play together with friends at different stages of progress, suddenly turned into a world of connected but functionally segregated segments, where playing together only worked if you were at similar levels.

For me that broke it. If a game hampers playing with friends, i usually don’t stay for long…

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MesaSage

Obligatory Ron Burgundy meme.

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