"Firefall" offers scenic panoramas and alien shoot-outs. Photo: AFP
Free, massively multiplayer first-person shooter "Firefall" is opening to all over the weekend of February 22-25, and accompanying the Beta Weekend test is a trailer to extol the game's jetpack-fueled attractions.
In the vein of formative online shooter series "Tribes" (by virtue of having its lead designer on board), related off-world mass combat jaunt "Planetside" and, from the sounds of things, the upcoming "Destiny" project from "Halo" creator Bungie, players find themselves on an alien planet.
Where "Firefall" differs from current iterations "Tribes: Ascend" and "Planetside 2" is not by being free-to-play -- that's very much de rigeur these days, with optional paid-for upgrades available -- but in its cel-shaded art style and primary emphasis on co-operative, 'player versus environment' missions, rather than more competitive gunfights against fellow explorers.
There are, of course, arena modes that allow for player versus player and team battles, but the game's storyline places it upon an alien planet, rich in both natural resources and hostile creatures.
Developed at Red 5 Studios in California, the game nonetheless has links to "StarCraft," "Diablo" and "World of Warcraft" by way of key staff members Mark Kern and Scott Youngblood, as well as significant backing from Chinese internet firm The9.