Firefall, which has been in beta for the past few months, has been radically revamped. The game's design and mechanics were changed so much that CEO Mark Kern joked that the developers at the studio think of it as "Firefall 2".
The changes were all player-driven, according to Kern, who noted, "A huge thing for us is we don't want to create game in a vacuum. We don't want to spend millions of dollars making the game and then ship it and realise 'oh, we liked the game, but the players didn't like the game."
"So we decided to open our beta very, very early and this was very unusual because most betas are when you're content complete, feature complete and there's no time to really change anything except a couple of numbers here and there. We decided that we wanted to actually mitigate our risk, get to the fun quickly and find out what's working and what's not with our customers as soon as possible." "Because it was so early we were able to make huge substantive changes within the game which I think people are going to be really thrilled with."
"Because it was so early we were able to make huge substantive changes within the game which I think people are going to be really thrilled with."
Kern admitted that radical changes would upset some players in the beta. "We changed everything, so whatever you had that was a favourite, we've likely changed it so that it's not as favourite as it used to be for you. In which case there's going to be a very long thread in our forums about how everyone hates the game for at least a week, I'd say," he stated.
"I think people will settle into it, give it a chance and try other things. A lot of that people will discover, 'Hey, if I'm willing to change the way I play or I'm willing to try all these new features I'm going to find something else that I love even better," he went on to predict.
One of the new features are class tiers instead of granular levels, in which players gain access to new gear when reached.
"What we're trying to do is provide more tactical options to players," Kern explained, "More ways to play their class and use their skill to figure out which style of customisation of their battleframe suits the way they want to play. That is much, much more difficult than simply increasing the amount of damage and health at every step. Having worked on WoW and having worked on this game, I can say that this game is far more challenging to balance."
Firefall "Version 2" will be shown off at Gamescom in Cologne, Germany. The convention runs from the 16th to 19th August, during which the Electronic Sports League will run the first European Firefall beta tournament boasting a grand prize of €10,000.