One of the more exciting announcements to come out of this year’s San Diego Comic-Con is that the entire cast of the prematurely cancelled, still dead with no savior in sight cult classic TV series Firefly will be re-uniting for Firefly Online, an upcoming video game based on Joss Whedon‘s wonderful, wonderful world.
In addition to the news that the cast will be voicing their characters in the game, the first gameplay trailer for Firefly Online was also released into the wild. The trailer shows a mix of gameplay footage, people talking about the game, and, if you’re good, perhaps a surprise you can’t help but smile at toward the end.
Click on over to the other side to watch the trailer.
Before the trailer, here’s a bunch of information about the game, for those who haven’t been following its progress:
Thus begins one of the most influential TV shows of the 21st Century – it’s impact would be felt in TV production, visual storytelling, even pop culture. The fact that this same TV show only lasted half a season and encompassed 14 episodes, makes it’s impact all the more remarkable.
Since its premature departure from the airwaves, Firefly’s fanbase has become legion. It’s trademark combination of cowboys and space ships, gritty realism with thrilling heroics, humor and drama, have brought millions into the fold. The hardcore fans of the show, who call themselves Browncoats in honor of the show’s protagonist and the civil war he fought and lost, have kept the candle burning. The Browncoats have inspired companies and individuals to create extended fiction, fan films, comic books, desktop roleplaying games and lots of shiny collectibles.
But after 10 years, no one has created a video game based on Firefly’s rich universe. That’s where we come in.
In Firefly Online, you begin the game as a male or female captain designed and named by you. You are accompanied by your first crewmember, also of your design. Once your captain and first officer are ready, you’ll head out into the Black and find a crew to share your adventures as you explore the ‘Verse (a star cluster of over 200 terraformed worlds where Firefly takes place.)
PLEASE DON’T TELL ME THIS IS ONE OF THEM “SOCIAL” GAMES?
Firefly Online is a single player game, supported by social features that give you the opportunity to connect with friends and fellow Firefly Online users in new and unique ways. Got a shiny new Callahan rifle that you don’t need? Send it to your friend as a gift. Ship broken down and drifting? Send out a distress call and one of your fellow Browncoats might just tow you to safety. Have an idea for a Firefly story you’re just itching to share? Create a job using your story as a basis and publish it on the Cortex for others in the Verse to enjoy!
For those of you who get a chill whenever you see the word “social”, we’re right there with you. We’re only interested in features that truly enhance the player experience. We’ll be revealing more on exactly what we mean in the months to come.
CAN I GET THIS FOR MY GORRAM PC?
Firefly Online is bringing the entire ‘Verse to you in real-time 3D. The characters, the environments, and the ships are all 3D models, rendered as you play. In fact, all the trailers and gameplay demos you’ve seen to date use in-game graphics. What’s the point of having fancy cinematics if you can’t enjoy ‘em in the ruttin’ game?
Firefly Online is being developed using Unity®Pro. Unity makes it possible to port the game to almost any major platform. At launch, Firefly Online will be available for Windows, Mac OS, iOS and Android OS.
I DO THE JOB AND THEN I GET PAID
The “find a job” part of Firefly Online amounts to the stories of the game. For those of you familiar with traditional RPGs, jobs = quests.
There are many jobs available. There are jobs that advance the main storyline, as well as side jobs that let you explore the ‘Verse and have adventures that are more self-contained. Some jobs are risky, some less so, but as with the Firefly TV series, what you plan and what takes place ain’t ever exactly similar.
Perhaps the best jobs are the ones you create and share with the rest of the Firefly Online community, adding your own stories to the ‘Verse. Of course, you’ll need to offer the appropriate bounty if you want other captains to take your job. Because despite what that guy Homer said, for captains trying to eek out a living on the raggedty edge, the journey is almost certainly not the thing.
Completing jobs is a good way to earn experience (did we mention this is a role playing game?), get loot to outfit your crew and earn enough platinum to pay the crew’s wages and make sure they got food to eat and oxygen to breath. Some jobs are legal, some jobs less so. It’s the latter that pays the best and most often tends to lead to violence.
The Verse is a rough place, and some jobs can and will involve combat. That said, there are almost always ways to talk or scheme your way out of a fight. If you’re the type who’d rather negotiate, you’ll want to focus on crew that have savvy in that direction. A registered companion, for example, will offer options other than gunplay.
As the captain, your actions on the job directly impact the loyalty of the crew, and, as Malcolm Reynolds would be the first to tell you, keeping everyone happy is pretty much bu ke neng. As a result, loyalties tends to change. And what actions might make one crew member love you, might make another feel less than kindly toward your leadership. If a crewmember becomes particularly disloyal… well, that’ll be an interesting day.
Then again, you might just decide to ignore the jobs entirely and enjoy other aspects of Firefly Online, such as freelancing goods from planet to planet, crafting your own shinies to trade on your travels, or just sail the Verse a while. There are lots of planets and moons to visit out there!
SOMEONE EVER TRIES TO KILL YOU, YOU KILL ‘EM RIGHT BACK
When things get ornery, the game shifts to a turn-based combat system. You control your entire crew during combat, maneuvering them to safer cover, working strategically to make the most of the terrain and your crew’s abilities. The presentation is entirely 3D, with 3D characters, objects and environments.
At the end of combat, you’re rewarded with experience, as well as some assorted loot from your fallen enemies. This loot can be used, sold or parted out for materials to make your own custom-built weapons and trade goods.
EVER SAILED IN A FIREFLY?
You’ll experience what it’s like to take the helm of your very own spaceship and pilot it around the terraformed worlds of the Verse. Flying occurs in three dimensions, and you have the freedom to travel in any direction.
As you sail the Black, expect to encounter NPC ships, derelicts, black rocks, distress calls and… the unexpected.
SHIP LIKE THIS, BE WITH YOU ‘TIL THE DAY YOU DIE
Customization allows you to tweak the appearance of the interior and exterior of your ship. You can show off your personality with new paint jobs and a variety of interior décor options. It’s even possible to buy real world goods and get digital versions for your cabin or galley.
In addition to the bling factor, ship customization can also have an impact on gameplay. The first ship you own will have limited crew and cargo capacity. New bunks can be built, and interior space can be expanded to accommodate more crew, more freight and more passengers. Even the engines can be upgraded to be more reliable and faster.
As you level up and acquire more crewmembers, you’ll eventually grow out of your starter ship and will likely want to acquire something with a bit more elbow room. You best get to work if that’s your goal – it’s take a lot of platinum to purchase a swank ride.
LIVE LIKE REAL PEOPLE
To your crew, your ship isn’t just a ship, it’s “home”; it’s where they live. Your crew each have activities and chores to do, whether it be performing surgery on a wounded crewmember in the infirmary, sitting down to dinner in the galley, or playing a heated game of Tall Card when the chores are done. Help them to achieve their needs, and you’ll have a happy crew and a ship that purrs like a big ol’ space kitten.
You do this by peering inside your ship, to a 3D version of the interior. From there you can assign crew, give them chores, or just set up their routine. And if the unthinkable happens and reavers board, you arm them and repel boarders!
SOMETIMES A THING GETS BROKE CAN’T BE FIXED
While there’s no fuel consumption to worry over in FFO, traveling does cause wear and tear to your ship, especially the engines and reactor. The longer the trip, the harder it is on your boat. Best to keep up with engine maintenance, or risk any number of unwelcome predicaments. The last thing you want to do is end up dead in space, drifting and at the mercy of whoever – or whatever – passes by.
AND YOU WILL KNOW THEM BY THEIR CRAFTS
In addition to flying, trading, fighting and living, Firefly Online will feature a robust crafting system – one that offers lots of room for customization, without becoming unfriendly and complex.
If you’re a crafter, you can decide whether to create useful items to outfit you crew, or you might rather mass produce a surplus of items that are more lucrative for trade. There will be many crafting disciplines – from gunsmith to cooking – for you and your crew to try your hand at.