The game takes place on the planet Mars. It is set in the year 2170, fifty years after the events of Red Faction: Guerrilla. Since the liberation of Mars, the surface of the planet has become uninhabitable. This occurred when the massive Terraformer machine on Mars which supplied it with its Earth-like atmosphere was destroyed by Adam Hale, the games key antagonist, causing super-tornados and violent lightning storms to engulf the planet. In order to survive, the Colonists were forced to flee to the underground mines of Mars built by their ancestors, creating a network of habitable caves under the surface of the planet and setting up colonies there.