Irvine, CA-based Red 5 Studios has announced its long-awaited first title at the Penny Arcade Expo today -- a free to play team-based action shooter PC MMO called Firefall
], slated for a 2011 release.
The title has been in production in various incarnations for a number of years, but looked as if it might not see the light of day when the developer laid off 30 employees
early this year.
However, Chinese MMO publisher and developer The9 staged a timely intervention and helped Red 5 get back on track by acquiring the firm
with an investment of approximately $20 million in March.
The game will be free-to-play and will utilize microtransactions to allow players to purchase extra items and build their characters. It is powered by
a "highly modified version" of the Offset Engine, made by the now shuttered
Project Offset team at chip maker Intel.
and Tribes 2
lead designer Scott Youngblood is on board as Firefall
's lead designer, as the title "thrusts hundreds of players together into a lush, dynamic open world combining intense competitive multiplayer and large-scale cooperative gameplay."
The game will feature a free-to-play model that "allows players to experience every detail of the vibrant world without having to pay a single penny", while updates to the game, dynamic world events, and other content will also be offered without a price tag, and a marketplace will allow fans to purchase optional enhancements.
CEO and Chief Creative Officer Mark Kern, a former team lead for World of Warcraft
, says the project is a result of wanting to do something radically different. "I wanted to take the best of what I learned making online games and bring that to skill-based shooters,"he says.