We live in an age of reboots and re-imaginings. From total reboots like 2013’s Tomb Raider to soft reboots like Assassin’s Creed: Unity, we’re seeing a lot of new trends in old ideas. While some games seem fine as they were, a few could benefit from a tune up. Today, let’s reboot a franchise well in need of redemption now that it’s under new ownership: Red Faction.
Red Faction (Full Reboot/Soft Reboot)
Red Faction is a series born out of constant soft-rebooting and hurriedly executed concepts. The original held a lot of promise, as did the open-world entry Red Faction: Guerrilla, but still the series never really hit its stride. As I see it, there are two ways to fix Red Faction.
1. Start from scratch
You see, back in the PS2 era, they were able to make entire environments destructible. Imagine that kind of technology, but on the scale of a game for the PS4 and Xbox One. Really think about that. Even with the same cramp initial level design, you could do a helluvalot with that. Taking into account random generation tech like in Everquest Next and Minecraft, you could do so much with modern physics engines, piled on top of massive destruction.
It could still be the same “fight for freedom” storyline, but the campaign could be done more like Dishonored, Hitman, and Halo. You might not venture in an open world, but levels could be made into mini-sandboxes of destruction. Various weapons and hallmark moments could be doled out more easily due to it being a linear game, but choices could cause branching alternatives for each scenario. This would also be fitting, given how Red Faction II had a moral choice decide its ending as well.
By encouraging creative destruction and giving players a lot of agency over how they handle their missions, we’d finally see the Red Faction franchise as it was originally envisioned, but up to a modern standard. Multiplayer could also be quite chaotic and fun with terrain/building destruction. You could even incorporate Red Faction: Armageddon‘s repair mechanic into multiplayer, so maps don’t just turn into craters.
Just imagine it, a sprawling city built like this…
2. Soft-reboot the series forward in time.
You see, Red Faction: Armageddon, stupid as it may have been plot-wise, opens up a lot of potential. With the addition of repairing what you can break and offering all sorts of cool weaponry, there’s hints at what could be. With mech suits, underground cities, and growing civilizations, you could have a new sandbox Red Faction, but it would be quite different.
If anything, it could be one of the few truly 3D open worlds. Imagine being able to glide along inner planetary highways in a car or on an electric surfboard, navigating a society that’s grown underground most of their lives. While restoring the Terraformer at the end of Armageddon would make the topside habitable again, it wouldn’t mean the caves are instantly abandoned.
Destruction would still need to be limited to buildings in this case, but the structures could be much more unique. Imagine the kind of utilitarian design of Ridley Scott’s Alien, blended with Total Recall‘s setting. How does a skyscraper look when it’s miles underground? How would a city mold itself into place to keep the upper layers of the planet’s crust up, while still supporting life for its citizens?
The result would be a very different Red Faction, with perhaps a tonal atmosphere of Blade Runner and the brutal close combat of The Raid. With tensions already high between the Mauraders (bad naming choice on their part) and the Red Faction, the plot could be a much better variant off of Killzone: Shadow Fall‘s tale of societies clashing over past greivances. The iconic hammer of the most recent Red Faction games takes on a more personal tone for the game’s protagonist, perhaps a relic from a deceased ancestor who fought in the original Mars revolts.
This version however would be better off as either a Watch_Dogs integrated sandbox multiplayer, or single-player only. That said, the idea of randomized situations to keep the sandbox alive and interesting would be a great inclusion, as would 360 degree races through the cities. It’d be a thriving ecosystem all its own, and pack a wallop of content for players to enjoy.
Also, we have to bring back the Ostrich Hammer.
Which idea do you think would be best for the franchise? Or do you have your own? Please be sure to share your thoughts in the comments, and let me know what games you’d like to see get a reboot in the future.