Firefall’s Kern wants MMOs to evolve and avoid the “Circle of Suck”

Thursday, 6 October 2011 15:56 GMT By Stephany Nunneley

Mark Kern, CEO of Red 5 Studios, feels MMOs need to evolve if the genre is to remain successful and avoid what he calls “The Circle of Suck.”

Speaking with PC Gamer, Kern, whose studio is developing the FPS MMO Firefall, said gamers don’t need another “$200 million WoW clone,” because it “doesn’t do anybody any favours and you’re going to lose your shirt.”

“We’ve got to break out of the mould,” he said. “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.

“Gamers are ready to try different things. It’s time to take risks and I’m really looking towards the independents to try that. I want to see the Notch of MMOs. Please don’t spend $200 million on another WoW clone because it just doesn’t do anybody any favours and you’re going to lose your shirt.

“I used to draw [a venn diagram of] what I’d call The Circle of Suck. Tabula Rasa came out and Hellgate: London came out, and I drew one circle that said ‘MMO gameplay.’ I drew another circle that said, ‘shooter gameplay.’ Where they intersect – that little sliver – is full of suck.”

Kern said instead of trying to blend the FPS and MMO genres together, with Firefall, Red 5 chose the shooter side and after getting it “right,” selectively added MMO elements to the game.

“Let’s take the idea of open world sandbox play and feature hundreds of players instead of four or eight player co-op,” he said. “Let’s take towns, crafting and resources and combine it all together. And that group would be a much more fun game when we started playing it than anything we’d tried before.”

Firefall is due for release in December.