PAX Prime: Fallen Earth

The Reckon Crew speaks with Dave Haydysch, producer for Fallen Earth

In one of the noisiest corners of PAX Prime, we met with one of Icarus Studios’ representatives and were ushered over to meet Fallen Earth Producer Dave Haydysch who was kind enough, and patient enough in his talking throughout the blare of the music game across the way, to give us a tour of the MMO Fallen Earth. It was easy to see the enthusiasm Dave had for this game and it was hard not to get caught up in it as he told us about this post-apocalyptic RPG. Below is a small excerpt from the almost 30 minutes Dave was generous enough to spend with us talking about the game.

“The game is set in the year 2154 and there’s been a virus called Shiva released on the planet. Amid the confusion that set in after the virus was released, all the countries of the world blamed one another for the outbreak and ended up launching their nuclear weapons. The character you play is a clone, and along with the remaining 1% of the world’s population, you’re trying to rebuild the world.”

“There are seven different factions in the world now and each faction is attempting to rebuild the world based on their ideals creating conflict among the factions. For example, there is a faction called the ‘Enforcers’ who are very militant, very martial law, and very police state and that is the means by which they intend to rebuild society. Their opposing faction is the ‘CHOTA’ which stands for ‘Children of the Apocalypse’ who are all about chaos. They say, ‘Screw your rules, they didn’t work the first time around and chaos is the way we’re going to rebuild this,’ so they’re obviously at odds.”

“Now you don’t have to align with a faction in the game but you miss out on so much of the depth of the game that we really encourage players to get involved. Our game is very free flowing so it adds a lot of different aspects to the game when a player along some cells with one of the various factions. If you do choose to align with a faction, it changes the story that you’re playing through, it adds depth and a different twist on the game than someone who chooses a different faction might experience.”

“There are three sectors to the game right now, sectors one, two, and three, very basic names. Sector One is what you might expect from a setting that we’ve placed the game in. The game is set in the United States and what we’ve done is take a real map of the Grand Canyon, set it down, and put our game on top of it. In theory, you can pick a spot on the map, look around, and then go there in real life. Of course the spot you visit in real life isn’t going to look anything like our post apocalyptic version but the fact is you’d be looking at the exact location that we’ve put in the game.”

Dave then showed us how immense the game world actually is from the point of view of the character we were “test driving”. At this time, they’ve only used 2/3 of the map and the game still covers over 1000 square kilometers. Even from the viewpoint of a hardcore MMO player, it’s easy to see how big this world already is.

As you’d expect, the post apocalyptic world is a drab place, covered with the bits and pieces of the civilization they gave birth to it. As we wandered, we saw the wrecks of old automobiles, burned out buildings, and a variety of mutated wildlife. While grays and browns were the predominant colors, even in this bleak landscape there were patches of color to be found as the earth tried to heal and cover itself with flora. Some of the plants are recognizable while others had mutated beyond what we now know them to be. Some of them even tried to kill us.

Welcome to the Apocalypse...

Character development and advancement is achieved through a point based skill and stat system which allows a player to allocate points in whatever way they choose. This means the character is classless when they begin and allows players to custom tailor their character as the game progresses. Worried that you’ll apply points incorrectly for the role you’ve chosen? No problem, there’s a means for players to “respec” and reallocate points already spent to abilities and stats better suited to the path their character is on. There’s also a drop down menu on the skill menu that gives suggested point allocations for the various roles your character can play.

One of the most striking features of this game is the crafting system. While the entire game reflects the passion and care the programmers and developers have put it, the crafting system is a remarkable addition to an unusual take on the MMO game. It’s obvious that a considerable amount of thought has been put into everything from the gathering of materials to their application in the crafting process. Items to be created can be queued and while they are being manufactured a player can continue their adventures throughout the world or even log off and the queue will continue the manufacturing process. They’ve even provided a means to check on your queue while offline. There really is an app for that.

Dave was kind enough to demonstrate the “offline” app on his personal iPhone. He showed us how a player would be able to access the auction house, their crafting queue, and even chat or e-mail players who were in game. Crafted goods can be managed to a degree and if one were so inclined, it would be possible to use only the app to maintain one’s inventory and continue to produce goods which could then be placed on the auction house without ever logging into the game from a PC. Available on the iPhone, Blackberry, and Android OS phones for a minimal one time charge (in addition to the monthly charge), those who choose to specialize in crafting are sure to rejoice. I suspect the app has already been the source of much amusement and headaches within the workplace.

...enjoy your slay.

While it’s apparent that the game is still young, there’s a considerable amount of content, action, and new adventures to be enjoyed throughout the world this company has created. Already boasting a helpful and loyal player base, it’s hard to imagine that this game as anywhere to go but up. In the year since its launch, the developers of avoided most of the common pitfalls associated with a new role playing game. Not only is this a new world that takes us away from the common fantasy theme so prevalent in MMOs to date, Fallen Earth has managed to create a unique experience that combines an FPS with the more traditional role playing games of old.

The overall experience reminded the Reckon Crew of our days playing around the table with pen and paper RPGs like Cyberpunk or Shadowrun which many games have so far been able to emulate but not truly captured the spirit in their execution. This is perhaps the highest praise we can give this game based on the short time that we had with it. Unfortunately, as is the case with almost all MMOs, Fallen Earth may not be the friendliest Busy Gamer game on the market. With the depth of the story behind the game, the multiple roles one can assume with the classless character system, and the robust crafting system, one could easily lose a considerable amount of time without realizing it.

We’ll be taking a more in depth look at the game here in the coming weeks so be watching for the review.

Gritskrieg – End of Line

Posted By Gritskrieg

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