The Red Faction franchise is a series of sci fi action/shooters developed by Volition and published by THQ. The series has focused its realm and storyline on a distant future of civilization on Mars. The plots of the games usually revolve around some form of oppressive giants that enslave a specific group and an organization known as the 'Red Faction' rise up to fight.
The space rebellion started in 2001 with the release of the PS2 and PC original, Red Faction. Following spectacular sales, Red Faction went multi-platform and continued the new first person shooter franchise in 2002 with Red Faction II. However, the sequel didn't sell nearly as well as the original, despite being critically acclaimed.
The franchise took a rest, and three years later THQ announced in a conference call that Red Faction 3 was being developed as a PS3 exclusive and was due out in 2007 holiday window. Things changed as it was renamed Red Faction Guerrilla and the exclusivity was dropped, with an Xbox 360 version also coming along with PlayStation 3 and PC platforms. The biggest differences in the game were the change of perspective from first to third, and the new open world layout of the game. The game was released in the summer of 2009, and while it was again critically praised, it undersold THQ's expectations at retail.
The franchise quickly followed up with a fourth game, the 2011 release Red Faction Armageddon. While still a third person shooter, it removed the positively received free roam mechanics of Guerrilla, and instead became a more linear third person shooter. The game was not received well by the press or public.
Red Faction features the "Geomod Engine," which was supposed to be able to allow players to destroy certain types of terrain. For instance, if a blast door closed preventing you from proceeding, you could fire rockets into the surrounding rock walls to blast open a hole large enough to allow you through to the other side. The technology worked for the most part, though some said that its use was limited to levels designed around destroying terrain at certain points--the aforementioned door workaround included--as opposed to allowing truly free-form, dynamic play. For Red Faction Guerrilla, they updated the engine calling it GeoMod 2.0, which doesn't allow destruction of the terrain, rather the destruction of any and all buildings & structures.
Unfortunately, both Guerrilla & Armageddon were not as commercially successful as THQ had expected, and in July 2011 they announced that the Red Faction franchise would be shelved indefinitely, stating they "do not intend to carry forward with that franchise in any meaningful way."
THQ continued to have financial difficulties into 2012, and eventually went bankrupt, with all their developers and intellectual properties being sold to the highest bidder. The Red Faction brand went up for auction and on April 22, 2013 it was announced that Nordic Games Publishing had purchased the rights to Red Faction along with several other former THQ games and franchises.
Original Release Date: May 22, 2001
Platforms: PS2, PC
Main Article: Red Faction
The first Red Faction takes place on Mars and puts players in control of a man named Parker who is leading a rebellion against the antagonist, Ultor Corporation. The game is a first person shooter that was one of the first examples of advanced environment destruction and alteration.
Red Faction II
Original Release Date: October 15, 2002
Platforms: PS2, Xbox, GameCube, PC
Main Article: Red Faction II
Red Faction II takes place five years after the first game and is once again a first person shooter. However, it's story does not continue from the first game, instead focusing on a Earth-bound narrative about a breed of Super Soldiers created by The Commonwealth, which has deemed them too dangerous and orders them to be destroyed. The main character is Alias, a super soldier that survives and teams up with the Red Faction to help take down the Commonwealth.
Red Faction: Guerrilla
Original Release Date: June 2, 2009
Platforms: Xbox 360, PS3, PC
Main Article: Red Faction: Guerrilla
Giant Bomb Review:(Jeff Gerstmann)
The third game in the Red Faction series is set back on Mars, but this time the game is played from a third person perspective rather than a first person perspective used in previous games. The main character is Alec Mason. When he arrived on Mars, he found it under the control of the EDF, who is also responsible for the death of his brother. Mason must free Mars from the EDF. The game has a very high level of destruction; buildings can be completely torn down practically brick by brick.
Red Faction: Armageddon
Original Release Date: June 7th, 2011
Platforms: Xbox 360, PS3, PC
Main Article: Red Faction: Armageddon
Giant Bomb Review: (Brad Shoemaker)
The fourth game in the Red Faction series is set on Mars 50 years after Red Faction: Guerrilla, and once again features a genre shift for the franchise. This game features Darius Mason, who is Alec Mason's grandson, and also part of Red Faction. Darius unwittingly helps cultist/terrorist Adam Hale in what seems to be a campaign to mostly cause mass amounts of destruction. Darius then spends the majority of the game trying to undo the problems he has accidentally had a hand in. Whereas Guerrilla features a more sandbox/open world approach, Armageddon is instead a linear third person action game.
Red Faction Franchise Spin-Offs
On April 26th 2010, THQ and television station SyFy announced that they would be working together to create a television movie based on the Red Faction franchise. If successful, the movie could be used as a pilot for a future television series. The Red Faction movie is a part of a larger relationship between THQ and SyFy involving a Battlestar Galactica MMO and a television project based around De Blob.