Firefall has had a rough lifetime that is sadly coming to a close on Friday, July 7th. Redfall staffers updated the official site with a brief notice to the remaining playerbase. For fans who will mourn the end of the Firefall online era there is still good news as a mobile version is in the works.
The Firefall site has suddenly gone dark, perhaps indicating that the game itself has shut down. Players on Reddit are claiming that they game is still functioning with a few players in it. While perhaps not yet completely gone, the site's demise does not bode well for the longevity of the game.
Late yesterday afternoon, Reddit user reecej101 reported on the Firefall subReddit that a major round of layoffs had gone down at Red 5, development studio behind the game. A few posts later, user bdsmchs, reportedly a former employee with Red 5, confirmed that layoffs had occurred, reiterated on Community Manager FadedPez's Twitter account.
In a short post on the Firefall site players and fans have been informed that the team has plans to bring the game both to mobile devices and PlayStation 4. The post also indicates that there are further plans for Firefall, but that the current focus is the deployment to mobile devices and PS4.
Red 5 Studios has revealed the contents of the next FireFall update that is scheduled to hit live servers on January 20th. There is a massive number of changes and new content coming to the game.
To celebrate the launch of Firefall in China, The9 CEO Zhu Jun is gifting players "red packets", up to ten million of them, contents of which remains unknown though it is not out of the realm of possibility that real world cash will be included.
VentureBeat.com has obtained a statement from Red 5 that says that all employees have been paid what they are owed. The statement does not indicate if they were paid on the date expected j(December 24th) or, as we reported this morning, earlier today. Regardless, it is good to hear that employees have been paid.
UPDATE: (DEC 30): GOOD NEWS! According to Gamers-Haven.org, Red 5 employees will be paid on December 30th after the company missed last week's payroll deadline. However the same report indicates that "according to reliable source inside the company" several employees were let go last week and, as with layoffs at the end of November, did not receive severance packages.
We are hearing various reports from several anonymous sources that major layoffs have occurred at Firefall's Red 5 Studios. We do not know the amounts, or what will happen to the sci-fi MMO, but we'll keep you posted as we learn more.
To say Firefall has had a long and controversy filled history would probably be an understatement. There was a time when developer Red 5 Studios seemed destined for a fate similar to that of Flagship Studios. But problem child founder Mark Kern was ousted, Chinese company The9 invested 20 million dollars, and perhaps most telling... Chris Whiteside was brought on to lead the studio and future development of Firefall.
Chris Whiteside, currently in attendance at this year's ChinaJoy, has let us know that Firefall will be coming to PlayStation 4 (no word on XBox One, however). He reached out to Managing Editor Bill Murphy directly to let us know that it had been announced at Sony's Press Conference. A press release should be forthcoming soon and we'll keep you posted as the story develops.
Chris Whiteside is best known in the gaming industry as the former Lead Producer of ArenaNet on Guild Wars, then the Design Director for Guild Wars 2. After roughly five years, Chris decided to part with the Bellevue, Washington developer. He went into consultancy, but that only lasted a little bit as one of the companies he consulted for was Red 5 Studios, makers of hardpressed but excellent MMO Firefall.
The Firefall team has a new Design Director with the addition of former ArenaNet and Guild Wars developer Chris Whiteside. The notice was given on Whiteside's personal Facebook page with his blessing to post the big news. Expect more from Red5 about Chris's appointment and our own exclusive interview in the coming days.