For a tumultuous period of time, Firefall was in freefall, having crossed the spectrum of gamer goodwill about as fast as was humanly possible. This talked-up title was soon dismissed for Red 5’s radically shifting design that alienated more than it attracted.
However, Firefall’s been making steady and encouraging progress over the past year with content updates, welcome features, and market expansion. We checked in with Executive Producer Chris Whiteside to get more details on what’s going on behind the scenes, both in development and operation, of this sci-fi MMO.
Massively OP: Firefall recently announced that it’s coming to the PlayStation 4 in China. Could you expand on that announcement? Have any further dates or details been set?
Chris Whiteside: We aim to release Firefall including all of the current improvements at some point next year. We will be aiming at the China market first, and the console version will be equal to the PC version in every way. We are also excited to work with Sony to add PS4 specific features focusing on hardware and control functionality.
Are there plans to bring Firefall to consoles in the west?
I would like us to, but this has not been officially decided upon yet. We will let everyone know when we are able.
Other than China, are there any markets that Firefall is currently pursuing?
We have done a lot to improve the game over the last year, and therefore our focus is to get the evolved version into the China and western markets, hear what the community has to say, and then fine tune the game. Once we are happy (developers and community), we will be looking at other territories for the PC version.
In short, our plan is to get the game to as many players as possible; however, building a highly polished experience and long-lasting relationships with our communities are our priorities.
What feature or system added in the past year has strengthened Firefall the most?
The new player experience is probably the single best system that we have recently introduced. The player response and metrics to it in terms of accessibility and a smooth learning curve are really exceptional.
Bounty hunter and elite levels have added more compelling reasons to play as well as providing greater depth in rewards and compulsions loops as a whole. Finally, the overall decision to maintain a fixed direction for the game have allowed us to spend our time in a more valuable and meaningful way as well as allowing us to focus on polishing the peaks and valleys in terms of overall quality and player experience.
How is the War in the Amazon patch panning out?
Overall we feel that we could have done a much better job with this content, and as such we are currently reworking it along with other large pieces of content in the game. Details in regard to our business model and deployment strategy will be communicated at a later date.
In what way does the upcoming bounty system differ from its ARES job boards?
First and foremost, it is much more accessible. The player can open the bounty hunter screen and choose the bounty they want to do and then select to track the bounty. The player does not have to go to a quest giver in the open world to get playing the content.
Secondly, the bounty hunter objectives are generally less story based and more pick and play for want of a better term. There are daily, weekly, and group-based bounties, and the players are able to select the ones activities that they prefer rather than be forced into a particular playstyle.
Finally, the system has a meta reward structure that allows the player to accrue bounty reward points that give out bigger prizes the more the player accrues whilst also receiving rewards from the game world activities they take part in.
We wanted to say a huge thank you to our community for all of their support. We are very much looking forward to getting the new version fully live as the feedback from PTS has been extremely valuable and has shaped the development in a big way.
Thanks for sharing this with us!