FireFall Gears Up for December 2011 Launch
Exciting news was posted at upcoming MMOFPS Firefall‘s website this week. It looks like not only is this open world experiment in modern MMO technology being pushed into launch in December of this year, but they will also be using a social networking launch strategy never before used in the MMO world. The following letter by Red 5 Studio’s CEO Mark Kern explains:
“Back in PAX prime of 2010, we announced that the game would be released at the end of 2011. This has never changed. This month, at ChinaJoy, I confirmed this same information with the Chinese and Korean press, which caused so much interest in our forums and elsewhere. I can only attribute this to the growing tidal wave of interest we’ve had in the game.
We are currently in Friends and Family Beta and have been since early this year. We have hundreds of testers playing both internally and externally. These testers also include a select few gamers drawn from our beta signup program.
But, I am very pleased to announce here at the Escapist that our expanded beta program will begin this month after PAX prime. We will be drawing a much larger group of gamers from our beta program at our signup page, www.firefallthegame.com which is rapidly climbing to 200,000 signups despite our keeping a low profile.
To explain our launch process further. We already consider ourselves “launched.” We will not have a traditional beta, open beta, launch process. We no longer feel this makes sense in a modern, online, service oriented business, especially a free2play game. Instead, we have modeled our launch after G-mail’s invite system.
The way this works is that we bring testers and content up in layers. As each layer proves itself out, we give our testers invite slots, which they are free to send to their fellow gamers. We use different criteria to decide when and to whom we release more invite slots. This process never stops, as it didn’t stop for G-mail for a very long time. It’s a great way to grow the game through people’s social networks, which is what we want for our team and clan oriented game.
Finally, as for my comment to the Escapist that the game was 50% complete, this is an overly simplistic way of representing progress in a game. Game development has many parallel tracks, and some are harder than others. Our custom 3D engine and server engine, for example, is 90% complete. Our terrain and art and towns for December are also at 80% as is the art for NPCs, monsters, mobs, etc. Our competitive multiplayer maps are about 75% of the way there, and while Co-op missions are the lowest at below 20%, these are also the fastest to produce with our tools. This is modern rapid development. We are a F2P game and we have a different go-to-market strategy than retail games. Just like League of Legends, we start with a great gameplay experience, get that right, and then the content will flow. It’s all about frequent and rich content updates. We have lots of unannounced content in the wings, some already created, that we are reserving for our layered approach and will reveal as the story unfolds and players drive back the Melding to reveal new content.
CEO/CCO, Red 5 Studios”