Firefall e-sports toolkit revealed: Red 5's Morgan Romine on building the next big competitive shooter

Chris Thursten at

You’ve got a big tournament coming up at GamesCom. How is that going to play out?

So we’re working with the ESL, one of the biggest e-sports leagues in the world and certainly one of the most prominent in Europe. We really want to kick off with Europe in a really strong way, and we thought that partnering with the ESL would be a good way to do that especially because of how strong their e-sports community is in Europe.

We are considering this a beta tournament - it’s the first of its kind, the first one using this beta build. So we’re prefacing this with all of the players that this is our first test and like any of the other stuff we’re doing in beta we’re open to feedback and I think everybody should be ready to experience this as a beta tournament. But we wanted to put some money behind it also to reward people who are early adopters and are willing to jump into Firefall as a brand new IP - and somewhat of an unproven game so far.

We have two seated teams, including Team ALTERNATE who are a Counter-Strike team that have expressed a lot of interest in Firefall and have been doing some of their own beta testing, and then we have another team that we’ve actually compiled from beta testers who have been really supportive of the game so far in Europe. So we have two seated teams that are automatically going into the semifinals that happen on the Saturday, and then on Thursday and Friday we’re going to have qualifiers each day. The way we’re running it is a king-of-the-hill style so if you show up with your team of five you can register there, you can also register beforehand on the ESL website. You can show up, sit down and play and if you win you keep playing. At the end of the day then we’ll do play-offs with the top two teams and then pick a qualifier from that. That’ll happen both on Thursday and Friday, and then on Saturday we’ll be on the ESL stage. We’ll all be on ESL Stage 1.

Any plans for after GamesCom? As far as e-sports goes.

In North America we’re rolling out a bus tour - we revealed our Mobile Gaming Unit at Anime Expo this year at the end of June, which is a giant customised bus that has a server in it that can locally serve up to a thousand different players, plus twenty AMD machines inside the bus itself. It’s essentially a mobile LAN centre that we’ve optimised for tournaments. We’ve wanted to do that - first of all because it sounds really fun! - but to bring Firefall and the competitive experience of Firefall to people locally in North America. We’d take it to Europe too but it’s kind of hard to get a giant bus over there!

We’re going to be doing a tour this fall, and we’ll be doing a bunch of different mini-tournaments throughout. That’ll actually start at PAX - we’ll have the bus there at PAX, and we’re going to be doing other stuff at Penny Arcade as we have been doing for many years now. As far as the rest of 2012, we definitely would like to do a few more formal competitive tournaments but I’m still considering this our beta event year. Then 2013 is when we expect to really kick things off in a big way.

Thanks to Morgan for her time.

More details of Firefall's GamesCom tournament are available in the announcement blog post. Check out Craig's Firefall preview for hands-on feedback on a previous version of the beta, and watch the new engineer and biotech trailers here.