CEO and Founder of Red 5 Studios Mark Kern announced that the company is laying off 10 percent of its staff. "As Firefall matures, we must transition our priorities and our development strategy to focus on streamlined operations and live product support," Kern said.
A few weeks ago we introduced Mark Kern's "Circle of Suck." But we also talked to the Red 5 dev about the difficulties of creating a free to play MMO. Turns out it's pretty damn difficult.
"I think there are horrible ways to implement free-to-play" said Mark.
"You’ve got to understand that for a lot of these large publishers, it’s very hard for them to comprehend how free-to-play would work and to take the risk of doing free-to-play with an AAA game."
The Red 5 developer says that too much greed can break the model: "They’re under the mentality that everybody must pay; no-one gets a free ride. And so you get these warped models like, 'buy the box, pay a subscription, we’ll give you in-game advertising and you have to buy microtransactions or sell power all at the same time.' That doesn’t really work."
I got to talk to Mark Kern a few weeks ago. He's previously worked on Starcraft, Diablo 2 and Warcraft 3. But Mark also knows his MMOs. He was team leader on World of Warcraft and he's currently CEO of Red 5 Studios - the team behind MMO FPS Firefall.
Mark reckons massively multiplayer games need to evolve dramatically if they're to be successful. "We’ve got to break out of the mould." said the CEO. "If I see another action MMO combat game with exclamation points over quest givers, I’m going to commit seppuku! We’re pouring so much money down a very stale formula. It’s an illusion to say that "Oh, that’s safety. It used to be safety but it's not anymore."