- Mark Kern: Firefall Was Very Different Early And I’d Re-purchase It If It Became Available
I haven’t paid much attention to Firefall in a couple of years, but I do remember the early teasers — especially as related to that event-based gameplay — as really piquing my interest. And it’s hard to argue that the game has objectively been better since Kern’s departure, especially in light of recent events and Kern’s own chart showing the game’s dropoff.
That said, Kern hardly paints a sympathetic figure. The series of articles that greatly detailed Kern’s disastrous managerial style are no longer available, but highlights include him reportedly being out of the office for extended periods of time and then returning with a “new vision” that would destroy months’ worth of work. Employees also reportedly needed a “safe word” to inform him to calm down, and you didn’t want to be “Marked” — i.e., viewed as someone who disagreed too much with Kern, which would likely result in your imminent unemployment.
Then there were the millions of dollars wasted on the Firefall bus. And this.
Firefall could have turned out better; even the current team admits that. Perhaps in response to Kern’s writings, they posted a brief message on the Firefall site explaining that the game is still in active development and there are plans in place to port the game to the PlayStation 4 and mobile platforms. Maybe things would have been better with Kern still in charge, and maybe they wouldn’t have been.
But he had his chance, and he blew it with what can only be described as borderline psychopathy. Years later, it’s easy to say that “It would have been better if I’d been there,” but that’s something that can never be proven. In any case, I doubt the current Red 5 Studios team would exactly welcome his return.