firefall_bus is reporting that Firefall developer Red 5 Studios has laid off about 40 employees, just days after launching the game in China. This comes from an anonymous former employee who chalks up the issues with the game and company to “corporate mismanagement.”

The source estimates that 20-25% of the entire company was laid off, with cuts coming from all departments. This all came after the affected employees had been asked to do a major rework of the game as well as work on significant new contact:

“Honestly, they asked us to remake the game in a year, including doing full development on 22 instanced missions and an overhaul of every major system, using art assets from 2008. I don’t know what they expected to happen.”

It’s hardly the first time Red 5 and Firefall have experienced some drama. After a long beta period that saw the surprise removal of much-touted PvP features, total revamping of many of the game’s core systems, and highly questionable expenditures on a tour bus and a live-action series, company co-founder Mark Kern was asked to step down in December 2013. The move seemed to grant the game new life, and it received a full launch in July of 2014.

It seems that it wasn’t enough. The game has reportedly received few updates in 2015 and many players have lamented the changes for taking what was once a unique game and making it far less interesting. It’s still up and running as of this writing, but losing a quarter of your work force is a sure enough sign that things aren’t going as well as they should.

I only tried Firefall briefly, a couple of times, and I’ll admit each time I was annoyed at having to “re-learn” the game; I can’t imagine how frustrating it must have been to someone who was really into it. The early promises and bits of gameplay I tried out really did seem neat, but it failed to hold my interest as development continued. What’s your take?

Jason Winter is a veteran gaming journalist, he brings a wide range of experience to MMOBomb, including two years with Beckett Media where he served as the editor of the leading gaming magazine Massive Online Gamer. He has also written professionally for several gaming websites.


  1. The changes they made after Mark Kern left doomed this game to mediocrity. By launch day, everything that made Firefall fun and innovative was stripped out and replaced with a lame theme park MMO structure like your average WoW-clone.

  2. A couple years ago this game had the potential to be one of the best free to play games out there, but they simply made ALOT of bad decisions, spent a lot of time implementing those bad decisions then decide they don’t want them and they would lose months of progress. Simply put they had a good base game but no direction to take it in. Honestly i don’t know if its worth them working on this game any further, i played since very early closed beta and would only really play when they had new content which was every few months, then they had their open beta which as i remember was a complete flop, but i still played a bit, then they wiped everyone’s characters because of a exploit after they said there was not going to be any wipes and i have not played the game since, have not even heard a word of it before this article.


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