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What's New in Fallen Earth Since AGDC?

Keith Cross Posted:
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What's New in Fallen Earth Since AGDC?

MMORPG.com News Manager Keith Cross caught up with Lee Hammock, the Lead Designer from the upcoming post-apocalyptic MMORPG, Fallen Earth and asked one simple question: What's new in Fallen Earth since the Austin Game Developer's Conference?

While at the Game Developers Conference I had the opportunity to chat with Lee Hammock, Lead Designer for Fallen Earth. My first look at Fallen Earth was at the Austin Game Developers Conference, where Lee gave me the beginner’s tour. Before that, all I knew of Fallen Earth was that it was a post apocalyptic MMO built on the topography of the Grand Canyon. I said in a blog last week that it was great talking to Lee because he’ll answer your questions before you ask them. At the GDC in San Francisco my first, and pretty much only question was, “What’s new since AGDC?”

What’s New Since AGDC?

Lee told me that 75% of the game’s content is in, though much of it still needs polish. So far they have between three and four thousand missions ready to go. These missions will take players beyond the desert terrains that we’ve already seen in Fallen Earth, and move them on to greener pastures, and I literally mean greener pastures. At the Fallen Earth booth they had a demo of the game running, and a trailer running on a loop on another screen. In the demo, Lee took me to a grassy field that stretched far off into the distance.

On the horizon I could see the distinct form of an old roller coaster track rising and falling in the distance. It looked like it could be a functioning roller coaster but I was assured it wasn’t, because really, who would run a roller coaster in a plague-ravaged nuclear wasteland? Panning 90 degrees, I could also see a series of structures just over the rolling green terrain. Lee explained that the structures were large houses and small mansions, which surrounded what had been a golf course in the pre-apocalypse time. Now the entire region is a “suburbs-gone-bad” environment. Beyond these suburbs gone bad is Sunshine Corner, one of the 40 or so towns that are currently in Fallen Earth, where everyone seems to be taking the destruction of civilization quite well. They’re very happy in Sunshine Corner. I asked Lee why they were so happy, and he responded by saying, “They’re very happy” several times, finally ending on, “It’ll come out in the story.”

Oh Yeah, and You’re a Clone

Lee went on to tell me how they’ve gone over the initial storyline and they’ve been working to improve the flow of information to the players, especially in the tutorial and early game. At AGDC I learned that everyone in Fallen Earth is a clone, made from DNA stored in a project similar to the one going on in Svalbard, Norway, except with human DNA instead of grain and rice. Every time you die in Fallen Earth you are re-cloned but no one knows why, and in the last incarnation of the story, players didn’t get much in the way of hints until much later in the game. Now, Lee says that they have revamped the entire tutorial section. At one point you get to watch a propaganda piece on the cloning process which doesn’t give you all of the answers, but is still a meatier appetizer than just saying “Oh yeah, and you’re a Clone.”

After the tutorial, Lee tells me that more of the cloning information and other story elements will come out sooner rather than later. Bosses from later encounters will be introduced earlier too. One simple trick in RPG storytelling is to have a villain from a planed encounter near the end of the storyline show up near the beginning, and have them reveal themselves as a complete douche bag. That way it’ll be that much more satisfying for the players when they defeat them. In that spirit, you’ll get to meet a few early level bosses in the tutorial and witness him being a jerk.

Players will also be getting more information from NPCs in the background. The sparse unpopulated landscape of the future now has a few more residents, who will be playing out scenes in the background to inform and entertain. Lee described one scene where a newly cloned individual is unable to cope with the new reality which he’s been spawned into and winds up having a bit of a freak-out culminating in offing himself, only to be cloned again to play out the scene again to the bewilderment of by standing NPCs who just watch and make humorous comments.

Keep on Truckin'

So they’ve added lots of content and terrains, and now they’re working on polishing and improving that content. So what else have they been working on? They’re still working on vehicles and mounts. The latest news on this front is that players will have access to vehicles sooner in the game. The early vehicles will be along the lines of small ATVs to help players move around more easily, with the Mad Max style machines being reserved for higher level play. They decided players need a faster way to get around earlier, as there is a lot of space in the Fallen Earth world. A lot of that space is filled with oversized mutant arthropods, so it’s in a player’s best interest to move quickly, unless they’re armed with the finest weapons of the post-apocalyptic era, such as the mighty hockey stick or the cricket bat. (The game has better weapons, these are just two that Lee mentioned which I found amusing.)

Closing Tidbits

Pets and the auction system are still being worked on, but Lee informed me that the mail system is working, and the first PvP structures have been added to the game. In closing, we talked about the game’s guild tools, where Lee explained that they added a level of RPG dynamics to guilds. Guilds will have levels, and will be able to ‘level up’ and gain abilities although the nature of these levels, abilities, and what players will need to do to gain these levels wasn’t revealed to me.

And that’s what’s new with Fallen Earth since Austin.


Keith Cross