Red5 Studios Gives 24 Hours Notice: Firefall To Shut Down

Red 5 Studios today unveiled the announcement that should surprise few: Firefall is finally closing down its servers. Firefall has been in limbo for a long time between the staff being laid off, server outages, and a total lack of development, at some point the game completely stopped functioning past a certain point with graphics card firmware which remained unpatched. There were plans at one point to port Firefall to the Playstation 4 which quietly fizzled out, there was more than one instance of Red5 being unable to fulfill payroll, and the Chinese cashmire company that owns Red5 became effectively worthless.

With heavy hearts, we regret to inform you that after much review and analysis, Red 5 Studios have decided to suspend the Firefall efforts on 7th, July 2017. Thank you for being an important part of the Firefall experience and for your loyalty and dedication to the online community.

Your efforts and loyalty will not go without recognition, however. Firefall is currently developing a mobile version of the game and all of Firefall’s founders and players will be rewarded greatly in the new game. We will be sure to provide everyone with more updates as we have them.

Thank you for your support and enthusiasm throughout the years; we will see you at the next battle.

MMO Fallout listed Firefall shutting down as one of our 2017 predictions.

Firefall will first announce that the console version is cancelled before revealing that the PC version is shutting down either simultaneously or a week or two later. Nobody will be surprised, however the last few hours will draw in a lot of people to watch the world burn.

(Source: Red5)

Firefall Shut Down For 2 Weeks In December, Nobody Noticed

In my predictions for 2017, I said that Firefall would shut down and nobody would be surprised or really notice. What I didn’t realize was that Firefall had already shut down, for two weeks, back in December. And nobody outside of the community noticed. According to posts on the community forums, the servers first went down as early as December 7th and didn’t come back online until December 22nd.

Hello, we have found that our datacenter is having critical issues and all services including the website and game are impacted. We hope to have everything back online ASAP.

But don’t let that fool you, according to posts on official Facebook notice, the game is still essentially broken in many areas as features like Battle Lab do not work. The official website has not had a news update since May, it may still be impossible to level past 20 due to unfixed bugs in the main mission, and nobody seems to be present to answer emails.

So Firefall is still a bit broken, has less active Steam players than a full Battlefield 1 server, and seems to be riding the breeze on a prolonged descent while nobody is around to save the sinking ship. In the future, it will likely be known as one of the most incompetently run MMOs of all time, between the constant shift in direction and staff to the allegedly high sum spent to develop it.

(Source: MMO Bomb)

Firefall Disappears From Steam After Downtime


Firefall is still missing from Steam following a period of downtime, although the game is still running and people are still playing. While Red5 Studios has yet to make a statement on why the game was removed, only to state that it is expected to come back in the next couple of days, speculation is rampant that a mob of player reports to Steam that the game had been shut down were responsible for its delisting.

Our servers are back up running at full strength now, Sorry and Thank you all for being patient and understanding through this unexpected downtime.

According to Polygon, nobody at Red5 was responding to inquiries earlier today.

We attempted to reach Red 5 by phone, but no one picked up; the developer’s phone system no longer lists any active extensions. An email sent to Red 5’s press line bounced back.

It isn’t hard to understand why people assumed that Firefall’s website and server going offline was merely a precursor to the game suddenly sunsetting. According to reports, all of the remaining staff on Firefall were let go in July’s layoffs. Players have panned the game as dead, abandoned by a developer that apparently no longer exists in any real capacity.

(Source: Firefall)

Red 5 Studios Shareholder L&A International Is Effectively Worthless


When is a Chinese cashmere seller relevant to the gaming industry? When they hold 30% equity in one of the developers. L&A International Holdings Ltd is not only a mouthful, a few months ago they traded for 30.6% equity interest in Red 5, developer of the ever-struggling MMO Firefall. If you’re interested in buying stocks in L&A International, you can’t. The company has been suspended from the Hong Kong stock exchange and its stock is effectively worthless.

At the request of L&A International Holdings Limited (the ‘‘Company’’), trading in the shares of the Company on The Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Limited has been halted from 1:14 p.m. on Friday, 22 July 2016 pending the release of an announcement in relation to inside information.

Shares for L&A International Holdings Ltd had dropped to .02 HKD, or slightly over a quarter of a penny USD. L&A International plans on placing more shares in the coming days. The news of their hardship precedes this week’s news that Red5 Studios appears to have undergone another round of layoffs. Community manager FadedPez posted the following on this Twitter:

Firefall’s last update was in May, and the game appears to be bleeding users at a steadily increasing rate over the last four months or so. Looking at its troubled past, it only seems to be a matter of time before the team (what is left of them) throw in the towel.

Firefall’s Future On The PS4


Hello, Firefall fans,

We wanted to take some time to discuss Firefall and our plans for other platforms. Red 5 Studios cherishes the Firefall IP and we are continuing to make the game in the best way that we can. Additionally we are working to bring the IP to other platforms such as Playstation 4 and mobile.

The team deeply appreciates and embraces those that are enthusiastic about Firefall as an IP and welcome constructive ideas and feedback from all sources including former employees of the studio. Because of the enthusiasm shown we feel the value of the Firefall IP is not only recognized by gamers but the capital market as well.

While we have more plans for the Firefall IP, currently the team’s focus regarding Firefall is working to prepare the franchise for Playstation 4 and mobile. We will be sure to provide everyone with more updates as we have them. We’d like to thank all of those that have supported us and plan to continue to support the team as we continue to progress not only Firefall as a PC game but as an IP.

Best regards,
The Firefall Team

Firefall has had a bumpy ride on PC, and Red 5 Studios seems determined to save the game by starting fresh with new customers on new platforms. User count on PC has declined to incredibly low levels and only seems to be losing more people every day. Mobile and PS4 may be the only way to save the franchise and Red 5 from extinction.

(Source: Firefall)

Firefall Going Under For 26 Hour Maintenance


Trove isn’t the only game to take an extended vacation this week. Firefall will be launching update 1.6 on January 20th, but in order to do so will be taking down the servers for more than a day to perform maintenance. The servers will go down in the morning on Tuesday and come back online (hopefully) around the same time the following day.

Because of the nature of the changes coming in this update, we need to bring the servers offline for maintenance and migration. On Tuesday, January 19th at 8:00 AM PST we will be bringing all of our production game servers offline to perform this required maintenance. Because of the nature of the work that needs to be performed, we expect to be down for approximately 26 hours.

Update 1.6 introduces the Jetball PvP arena, a new instanced game mode, new missions, new events, changes to battleframes and progression, as well as numerous other tweaks and content additions. You can find all of it at the update preview at the link below.

(Source: Firefall)

Red 5 Studios “Optimizing” Development Resources For Firefall


Firefall is completely fine, in case November’s significant layoffs and December’s inability to fulfill payroll didn’t make it clear enough. But you can’t expect a company to flat out admit that times are tough, at least if the public relations department wants to keep their jobs. So instead, Red 5 sent out a memo to the press stating that the company is still undergoing “optimization efforts” in preparation for the launch in Asia.

Red 5 Studios, Inc. is continuing to undergo reorganization and resource optimization efforts in order to secure our direction to meet the market needs of China and other Asian countries. The recent reorganization efforts include optimizing development resources and keeping bringing in new expertise and skill sets. Our support to Firefall and our players are continuous with content updates and customer support. As always Red 5 Studios is committed to providing the best gaming experiences to our audiences.

MMO Fallout will report further once we know how many employees have been strategically reorganized.

(Source: Massively)

[Column] Time To Warm Up Your Resumes, Red5


This past Christmas week brought sales, denial of service attacks, and the arrest of everyone’s favorite affluenza victim, but for the employees at Red5 Studios the holidays brought with it a check that many found they just couldn’t cash. Rumors surfaced over the past weekend that the Firefall developer was unable to pay its employees, which were later verified by numerous news sources, and now it’s been confirmed that none of the eighty employees who still call the company home were paid over the past weekend.

There are three important factors we should look at with this news: First, the idea that the company was reliant on investors enough that it can’t pay its 80 employees using the revenue from Firefall, even after significant layoffs going back to November. The management has confirmed that the main culprit points to potential investments that fell through, but from whom? Are these new investors? Why isn’t The9, Red5’s parent company, swooping in to protect its investments?

The second, that Red5 allegedly didn’t bother to inform the majority of employees that they weren’t getting paid, instead allowing them to watch as their direct deposit was sent and then subsequently cancelled. According to staff, only a handful of employees received a notice days in advance of payday that they wouldn’t be receiving a check, with the rest left to discover it once it leaked onto the net. In addition, it’s been noted that on the previous payday, employees were handed paper checks rather than direct deposit in what management claimed to be a bank error.

And finally, the meeting to discuss keeping Red5 afloat involves transitioning the pay period to once per month rather than every other week. A month is a long time to gather the funds to pay your employees, or rather it gives a lot of time to wind things down from a management perspective while still assuring that employees will be paid before the company declares itself insolvent. As someone who has worked for businesses as they go through the process of insolvency, Red5 is essentially following in all steps. In the last few months, you see paychecks start bouncing or not being distributed at all, payday is pushed further back and with larger gaps, and employees are mostly left out of the loop.

Red5 is, naturally, denying that they are in a bad financial situation, as well as claiming that several facts presented in the coverage of this are inaccurate, however they are presently not explaining what is wrong or how they can be in good finances while not having the money to pay their employees. By comparison, Real Time Worlds was assuring the press that they were still focused on All Points Bulletin 100% and despite layoffs and restructuring, the game was still going strong with 100,000 active players. That was August 16th, by September 10th the next month the game was shutting down, Realtime Worlds was bankrupt, and the people who assured us everything was fine were unemployed.

As far as Red5 goes, I think it’s a bit early to call certain doom, but unless they have an ace hidden up their sleeve the situation isn’t as bright and cheery as they’d like us to think.

Week In Review: Sony Offline Entertainment

MarvelGame 2014-05-19 15-08-48-84

I’ve discovered a newfound love for Ultima Forever. Once you carve out the ridiculous cash shop mechanics, get rid of gear degradation, and drop gold keys like they’re candy, the game is a lot of fun to play. It’s almost disappointing that Electronic Arts will be shutting down Ultima Forever on August 29th, but it’s hard to say that it wasn’t deserved. Mythic Entertainment will best be known for Dark Age of Camelot and Warhammer Online, the latter being much beloved by its fans despite its commercial failings, its other recent ventures (Wrath of Heroes, Ultima Forever, Dungeon Keeper Mobile) will likely fade into obscurity.

Naturally, when it rains it pours. This week also marked the sunsetting of two more Sony Online Entertainment titles. I can’t say I was entirely surprised when SOE revealed that Vanguard couldn’t be fixed due to issues deep within the game’s engine. Vanguard was a collection of great ideas implemented rather shoddily on a foundation made of crepe paper. The idea that the game wasn’t runing a profit is hardly surprising when you factor in that the game spent so long in a dormant state that, in 2011, it was a massive surprise just to see the game getting patched. Vanguard did go free to play, but the response was meek at best.

Wizardry Online, on the other hand, will continue to live on in its native Japan. Depending on how they view the market, Gamepot may either decide to open up a global server or bring on a different publisher to host Wizardry Online in North America and Europe. Given the game’s tepid response under Sony Online Entertainment, however, I wouldn’t hold my breath. Finally, this week also saw the announcement that DUST 514 would be shutting down its Oceanic servers due to players taking advantage of the low population to boost their accounts.

Firefall launched this week, a sentence I never honestly saw myself getting the chance to say. NCSoft continues to add more races and classes to Lineage II with the latest expansion, despite the game’s age and waning profit. And finally pigs have officially grown wings and made me breakfast using their own bacon, because Square Enix has opened up 14-day trials for Final Fantasy XIV.

I plan to wrap up every Week in Review with a piece from MMO Fallout history.

This Week in 2009: On The Brink: Planetside

Planetside, touted as the first true MMOFPS, takes yet another turn towards its ultimate demise, with the announcement that the game’s two servers will finally merge into one, to deal with lacking population. The original five servers have gradually closed and merged, and currently the game houses two servers; One North American and one European.

As far as MMO’s go, server closure is one of the first lines of defense in keeping a game alive. When empty servers spread players thinly, forcing them into a smaller space will give an illusion of player count, and may inspire ex-players to jump back into the renewed action, creating a snowball effect that brings more and more players to the game.

Sadly, if history has taught us anything, it is that this mantra will more than likely fail for Planetside, a game that has been on a downward slope for years now. Planetside’s status as pioneer in MMOFPS action, massive scale battles, and focus on skills above levels, will not help it in its fall from grace.

The merge will go ahead on August 25th. Once Planetside is consolidated on to one server, it is anyone’s guess as to how long it has to live afterwards.

Firefall Officially Launching July 29th


It’s been a long development road for Red 5 Studios and Firefall, one that is happily coming to its next milestone. Red 5 Studios has announced that Firefall will be officially launched as of July 29th, emerging from beta and ready to take its place in the world. To coincide with release, the team is putting together a boatload of new content. Firefall goes live with a patch that will add in new continent space, and exponentially increase the amount of content.

“The update we are releasing for launch will be the largest update we have ever had,” said James Macauley, CEO of Red 5 Studios. “It will quadruple the amount of world space in Firefall and add roughly 15-times the amount of content we have had previously in Beta.”

Firefall will be available on the web and on Steam at launch, with the beta still open for anyone who wishes to join in.

(Source: Red 5 Studios press release)

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