Red Faction (series)

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Red Faction
Red Faction Series Logo.png
Genres First-person shooter
Third-person shooter
Developers Volition, Inc.
Publishers THQ (2001-13)
Nordic Games (2013-)
Platforms PlayStation 2, Microsoft Windows, Mac OS, GameCube, Xbox, N-Gage, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
First release Red Faction
May 22, 2001
Latest release Red Faction: Armageddon
June 7, 2011

Red Faction is a series of science fiction shooter video games developed by Volition, Inc. and published by Nordic Games. Originating in 2001, the Red Faction games have spanned Microsoft Windows, Mac OS and many consoles, including the PlayStation 2, GameCube, Xbox, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. The Red Faction series has been heavy on its thematic undertones throughout the games. One of the more outstanding themes of the series is a revolutionary socialist undertone. From the miners rebellion featured (in separate ways) in Red Faction and Red Faction: Guerrilla, to the overthrown monarchy of Red Faction II, this has been a central theme since the games' inception in 2001.


Dave Samuel of Volition presenting at GDC 2012 on "Communication & Iteration of Visual Effects in Red Faction"

The series has had two unique styles of gameplay, the first is a traditional first person shooter element which was used by the first two games in the series, while the second is a third person style of open world gameplay which was first used in Red Faction: Guerrilla and the Red Faction: Armageddon. Both styles though share a common element which is the series' unique environmental destruction features, this was enhanced in Red Faction: Guerrilla when it was applied to every building in the game making the game's entire environment destructible.

The first two games were traditional first person shooters with unique environmental destruction features that were praised in both games. The games include vehicles, pistols, rifles, explosives, and other traditional shooter weapons and features. While the first two games did not re-invent the first person shooter, their Geo-mod Engine and rebellious story made both games a new step for the genre.

Rather than the traditional first person shooter style of the first two games, both Guerrilla and Armageddon utilize a third person style of gameplay. Guerrilla takes place in an Open world environment on the planet of Mars allowing players to free roam across the environment. Armageddon is a more linear experience, largely moving through corridors and caverns from objective to objective. In the games, all environments are fully destructible which means that every single building in the game can be destroyed. Players are usually equipped with four weapons, the primary weapon is a Sledgehammer with three more weapons of the player's choice. These weapons are mainly purchased using salvage, the main currency of the game, with the exception of the remote charges and assault rifle, both of which are given to the player by default at the start of the game. Purchasable weapons include an Arc Rifle, Grinder, Rocket Launcher, Proximity Mines and a Nano Rifle. Players go around completing missions for the Red Faction and perform Guerilla actions to liberate various sectors of Mars from the control of the Earth Defense Force.

All games in the series feature the Geo-Mod engine used in all four games, short for "Geometry Modification" technology.[1] The Geo-Mod engine enables the player to destroy parts of the walls, floors, and other features of the levels in an non-predefined manner using various explosive weapons. The Geo-Mod engine has been updated in later games of the series. The update for Red Faction: Guerrilla was originally planned to be called RED, short for Realtime Environment Destruction but later renamed as Geo-Mod 2.0, which allowed for the freeform destruction of buildings and other structures.[2] Geo-Mod was updated to version 2.5 within Red Faction: Armageddon. Though Volition had planned to include Geo-Mod in Saints Row: The Third, it did not make it into the final game.


Red Faction (2001)[edit]

Main article: Red Faction

Red Faction is the first game in the Red Faction franchise that was originally released in mid-2001 and later re-released for other platforms. Red Faction was also the first game to run on the Geo-Mod engine that allowed for unparalleled environmental destruction.

Red Faction takes place on Mars in the year 2070. The protagonist, Parker, is a miner who came to Mars seeking a better life away from Earth. Instead, he finds that the Ultor Corporation abuses the workers and forces them to endure hazardous living conditions. A plague of an unknown origin sweeps through the colony, but Ultor does nothing to halt its propagation or to provide for the sick.

The story begins with Parker witnessing another miner being brutally killed by an Ultor guard. Parker decides to fight back by aiding the mysterious rebellion called “Red Faction”. As the story progresses, Parker, aided by a rebellious Ultor technician named Hendrix, and the leader of the rebellion, Eos, wreaks havoc on Ultor’s installations and learns more about the mysterious Plague.

Parker is eventually led to the lair of Dr. Capek, a deranged scientist who has developed mutants, nano-technology (developed more fully in Red Faction II), and the Plague itself. Parker chases Capek through his underground complex and Parker eventually traps Capek in "Capeks laboratory." Parker destroys Capek's "nanoshield" and in Capek's final moments, Eos bursts in telling Parker not to kill Capek. Capek reveals to Eos that there is a cure to the plague, and subsequently dies. Ultor calls in a band of mercenaries led by Col. Masako to stop Parker, Eos and the rest of Red Faction. After numerous events, including Parker's abduction of a high-level Ultor worker, Hendrix is killed by the mercenaries for being a traitor and helping the Red Faction.

For the finale, Parker fights his way through the mercenaries to confront Masako. After a long battle, Parker kills her and finds Eos tied down next to a bomb about to detonate. Parker quickly defuses the bomb and frees Eos. A cutscene shows the Earth Defense Force come to the rescue to stop Ultor’s oppression and help cure the Plague. Eos declares Parker a hero as the game ends.[3][4]

Red Faction II (2002)[edit]

Main article: Red Faction II

Red Faction II is the sequel to Red Faction. The game was released in October 2002 for the PlayStation 2, and early 2003 for other platforms. Red Faction II is an earth based FPS that mostly deviated from the story set in Red Faction, only keeping minor plot details. Many new features had been added to the original game's sequel. Among these are new and evolved weapons and improved visuals.

Red Faction II takes place on Earth in the year 2075. The protagonist, Alias, is a genetically enhanced super soldier formerly employed by the Ultor Corporation. Nanotechnology developed by Dr. Capek (see Red Faction) has fallen into the hands of the EDF (who is now associated with Ultor) and many other terrorist groups. A dictatorship, “The Commonwealth,” has employed Alias to retrieve nanotechnology and other data.

Eventually the research is claimed for Victor Sopot, leader of the Commonwealth as well as the first antagonist of the game. As Sopot’s soldiers become more enhanced due to the recovered technology, the more he fears them. Sopot sends lessened troops to stop all remaining nanotech soldiers (including Alias). Alias allies with other soldiers who call themselves “The Squad”.

The Squad quickly fights off the Commonwealth and kills Sopot. As they return to the new Red Faction base, it is revealed that the Squad’s leader, Molov (as well as other squad members Quill and Repta), who is now the game's second antagonist, has turned on them and now assumes control of the Commonwealth. Molov is attacked by another Squad member, Tangier, which allows all remaining Squad members (Alias, and a Red Faction member, Echo) a chance to escape.

As the game continues, Alias fights alongside Red Faction members (including Echo, who is killed by Quill), and eventually hunts and kills Quill after she kills Echo. Alias then has his last Battle with the Primary enemy of the Red Faction on the docks before heading into a Sub with Tangier to head underneath of the Statue of Sopot. Alias proceeds to a Commonwealth nanotech laboratory where he fights off hordes of processed civilians as well as their new friends, the processed military soldiers. After multiple battles with the processed, he encounters Repta in a dangerous nanotech electro-chamber. After that, he eventually triggers an explosion to cause Repta to fall into the bottomless pit. Alias continues on and is told by Tangier to blow 3 containers. After that is finished, he meets a processed version of an old enemy, the nanotech enhanced Elite Guards. After fighting the processed version of Sopot Elite Guards/Leaders, he encounters a processed version of Repta (dubbed Repta+). He kills Repta+ and heads completely into the statue, which is unstable from the destruction of the nanolabs. Molov, the last remaining enemy, retreats to the top of Victor Sopot's statue, which is guarded by an army of both nano-military soldiers and Elite Guards. He attempts to flee from the statue with the nano-cell. Tangier is in pursuit of him while he is trying to defend himself with his army of processed soldiers and with his railgun against the two.

Shrike is seen with a new gunship and then betrays Molov, saying "Remember Molov, if we fight, then we finish them". Tangier manages to reclaim the nanotech cell from Molov's possession and escapes to the observation deck.

For the finale, Alias battles Molov on foot while Molov is in his battle armor with the help of Shrike and his new self-controlled gunship. He destroys his battle armor and they both fight each other in a gun-to-gun battle. After a long fight, Molov is defeated as the observation deck begins to collapse. Shrike, now loyal to The Squad again, saves Alias from the crumbling statue. Depending on the player’s “Heroic” rating, the plot has four separate endings. See Red Faction II for details.

Red Faction: Guerrilla (2009)[edit]

Red Faction: Guerrilla is the third installment of the Red Faction franchise. The game assumes a third person point of view and an open world to play in. The game was released on some platforms on June 2, 2009, seven years after its predecessor and featured a vastly different gameplay system.

Red Faction: Guerrilla takes place in 2120. The Earth Defense Force (EDF), the allies in the original "Red Faction", has become the main antagonist of Guerrilla. Earth's natural resources have run scarce, and as a result, its global economy has collapsed from rampant speculation of commodities and lack of production. Under pressure by Earth's corporations and leaders to acquire the resources of Mars at any cost and at a pace to meet Earth's high demand, the EDF has forced Martian society into a permanent state of unfree labour. The newly reformed "Red Faction" arises to rebel against the EDF, drive them off the planet, and begin fairer negotiations with Earth.

Alec Mason, the player character and a mining engineer,[5] arrives on Mars to reunite with brother Daniel and begin a new life, only to learn to his surprise that Daniel is now a member of Red Faction. While on work detail, Daniel testifies about the EDF's cruelty to the Martian people and asks Alec to join their cause; he is soon after gunned down by an EDF gunship looking for him. Upon returning to find his housing and possessions seized by the EDF, Alec is convicted of being Red Faction. The commander of the EDF squad orders Alec shot, but Alec is then rescued by Red Faction guerrillas. He becomes a reluctant freedom fighter for the group alongside inventor "Sam" Samanya, rambling eccentric Randy Jenkins (who believes that Mars should be "purified"), and commander Hugo Davies. Between Davies' command and Alec's skill and bravery, the EDF are quickly driven out of an entire sector, "Parker", for the first time.

While the campaign against the EDF continues in the "Dust" sector, Alec is eventually assigned by Davies to routine surveillance of the "Marauders", a mysterious and violent warrior tribe living in the inhospitable "Badlands", in hopes of recovering stolen weapons. Instead, Alec winds up tracking them to an abandoned Ultor Corporation base that promptly comes under massive assault from the EDF. During the fracas, Alec steals a strange device called the "Nano Forge" and escapes. The EDF commander, Bertram Roth, responds by pulling out of the Dust Sector and ordering the artillery base in the "Free Fire Zone" to bomb the town of Dust into oblivion. Alec is then tasked with saving key members of Red Faction and vital information on the EDF from the bombardment, which he succeeds in doing.

Sam analyzes the Nano Forge and discovers it can create catastrophic nanites that can disintegrate any object. A prototype "Nano Rifle" is built from the device, which Alec uses to liberate other sectors, while Davies declares it a vital bargaining chip against the EDF. A successful suicide run against an EDF artillery base is commenced, allowing the group to begin hostilities against the EDF in their own central territories. Roth launches an all-out assault on the Red Faction's command center, resulting in the death of Davies. Only Sam, Alec and a handful of other rebels survive the assault; they learn afterward that the star ship Hydra, under the command of Admiral Lucius Kobel, is arriving to Mars to put an end to the Red Faction once and for all. They also plan to eliminate all life on the planet, as said by Kobel himself, calling the civilians "Expendable".

Sam declares that they will need support from the Marauders if the campaign against the EDF is to continue; when Alec remains dubious, she reveals that she is a former Marauder herself, joining the Red Faction because marauders were consumed with anger and hate, and did not want to be a part of the lifestyle they endure. The pair head to a Marauder stronghold to meet with their ruler, Vasha, Sam's sister. Sam requests the usage of the Marauders' particle accelerator technology, with plans on combining it with the Nano Forge to create a superweapon capable of destroying the Hydra. Vasha agrees in exchange for possession of the Nano Forge once the war is finished. While inside the Marauder stronghold, the player can also discover a "radio tag" found on an old corpse that implies the Marauders are the descendants of former Ultor Corporation scientists.

After capturing a broadcasting station and using it to regroup the Red Faction, Sam and Alec lead a successful final assault on the EDF's central command alongside teams of Red Faction and the Marauders, driving the EDF out of their own territory. The two groups converge on Mt. Vogel to begin utilizing the Marauder's accelerator; however, a surprise EDF blitzkrieg led by Roth wipes out the Marauder crew guarding the summit end of the accelerator and Vasha along with them. Alec singlehandedly storms the mountain, defeating Roth's entire army and personally killing Roth. Sam's plan succeeds and the accelerated Nano Forge is successful in vaporizing the Hydra in space. As the surviving people of Mars celebrate, Sam says the war is over, but Alec knows that the EDF will come back. While Sam says that will be awhile, Alec responds with "We'll be ready for 'em". Alec and Sam approach the crowds of civilians who cheer for them, and Alec raises his sledgehammer in the air, showing the sign of the Red Faction and their long-waited victory.

Red Faction: Armageddon (2011)[edit]

On June 4, 2010, first footage of Red Faction: Armageddon debuted in the form of a short teaser trailer on GameTrailers.[6] THQ announced that the game would be shown at the Electronic Entertainment Expo 2010.[7][8] On June 27, 2011, THQ announced it was dropping the long running Red Faction franchise; no more installments are in development due to poor sales of the last game in the franchise, Red Faction Armageddon.[9]


On December 19, 2012, THQ filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy leading to an auction of THQ's properties that was held on January 22, 2013. While developer Volition, Inc. was picked up by Deep Silver along with Saints Row, Red Faction was not a part of the transaction. On April 22, 2013, Red Faction was purchased by Nordic Games in the final transaction of THQ's assets.[10] A fan community has organized to petition for the development of a new title in the series.[11]

After its purchase, Nordic Games CEO Lars Wingefors stated they either wanted to work with the original creators or best possible developer to work on sequels or additional content. After hearing of the Red Faction IP purchased by Nordic Games, Volition's general manager Dan Cermak expressed much relief that Red Faction is in comfortable hands but has stated Volition will no longer continue the Red Faction series.[12]

Other tie-ins[edit]

To tie in with the release of Red Faction: Armageddon, Volition released a downloadable mini-game. Red Faction: Battlegrounds is a top-down twin-stick vehicle-based shooter which is available via Xbox Live and PlayStation Network. The mini-game was produced by Juice Games for Volition.[13] The release date was 5 April 2011, beta invites were sent to a select group of PlayStation Plus subscribers on September 21, 2010.

Red Faction: Origins is a feature-length television movie produced by Syfy that coincided with Red Faction: Armageddon. The channel announced the film on April 16, 2010.[14] Volition confirmed the title of the film and its May 2011 release date on July 19, 2010.[15] The film is set in-between the events of Red Faction: Guerrilla and Armageddon.

Saints Row[edit]

Main article: Saints Row (series)

In 2006 Volition began a series called Saints Row. Many themes and plots cross-over between the two franchises, most notably the story of the Ultor Corporation's rise to power. This plot has been heavily featured throughout the series, most notably in Saints Row 2's storyline which continues into its DLCs in which Ultor experiments with Nanotech in order to improve the lung capacity of miners (see "The Plague" in Red Faction), when asked where Ultor plans on mining, an Ultor employee answers, "You wouldn't believe me if I told you". In the second DLC package, the player character comments that as long as Ultor stops harassing the Saints, "they can go to Mars for all I care." In the same DLC there is a vehicle with the Red Faction: Guerilla logo as part of its identification when entering. Despite potential licensing conflicts once Nordic Games purchased the rights to the Red Faction series, Red Faction references continue to make appearances throughout Saints Row.


Aggregate review scores
As of June 2, 2011.
Game GameRankings Metacritic
Red Faction (PS2) 88.29%[16]
(PC) 78.34%[17]
(PS2) 88[18]
(PC) 78[19]
Red Faction II (PS2) 83.78%[20]
(GC) 78.02%[21]
(Xbox) 75.61%[22]
(PC) 64.58%[23]
(PS2) 84[24]
(GC) 79[25]
(Xbox) 74[26]
(PC) 64[27]
Red Faction: Guerrilla (PS3) 86.73%[28]
(X360) 85.33%[29]
(PC) 82.45%[30]
(PS3) 85[31]
(X360) 85[32]
(PC) 82[33]
Red Faction: Armageddon (PC) 75.93%[34]
(X360) 73.93%[35]
(PS3) 73.76%[36]
(PC) 75[37]
(X360) 71[38]
(PS3) 71[39]

The series as a whole has received positive reviews/previews from one game to the next. Some common flaws are that graphics are considered behind its time or unremarkable. Also, the scattered story and limited interactivity in the levels have also been criticized overall. On the positive side, the series has been deeply commended for its unique geometrical modification capabilities, intelligent AI, and prevalent storytelling themes.

Praised for its long play time, great gameplay, and smart AI, Red Faction was generally given average to great reviews by critics. The game was also criticized for its scattered story and mediocre graphics. GameSpot gave the game a great review saying, “It's a great big game with much to explore and enemies tough enough to make it worth playing through more than once.” GameSpot awarded the game with an 8.9, giving it a rating of “great”.[40] Gamespy awarded the game an overall score of 89/100 and called the PC version, “the best and most well-rounded first-person shooter released in a long time.”[41]

Red Faction II '​s short campaign and lack of online multiplayer has diminished reviews by many critics. However, redeeming features include dual wielding, great multiplayer(split screen), and improved graphics. For these and other reasons, GameSpot awarded the game an 8.3/10.0, earning it the rank of "Great".[42] IGN's positive side of their review called the game "a very solid, well-produced first-person shooter", but their complaints stated that: "Volition still shows some room for improvement when it comes to level design, spots of AI, and implementing the vast potential of the Geo-Mod concept". Despite their complaints, IGN gave Red Faction II a 9.2/10, an "Outstanding" ranking.[43] The PC version of Red Faction II was far less well received, with IGN criticizing the port's average looking graphics and incredibly short, though enjoyable while it lasted single player mode.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Geo-Mod Engine Description". Volition, Inc. Archived from the original on 2012-08-30. Retrieved 2008-09-04. 
  2. ^ "RED Engine Mentioning". Volition, Inc. Archived from the original on 2009-01-01. Retrieved 2008-12-16. 
  3. ^ "Red Faction Detailed Storyline". Wikipedia. 2008-09-03. Retrieved 2008-09-03. 
  4. ^ "Red Faction Gamespot Review (Plot Overview)". Gamespot. 2001-09-22. Retrieved 2008-09-12. 
  5. ^ "Red Faction Guerilla Review". Retrieved 2009-06-22. 
  6. ^ Nick Chester (June 3, 2010). "Red Faction: Armageddon reveal tomorrow on GameTrailers". Destructoid. Retrieved June 4, 2010. 
  7. ^ JC Fletcher (February 17, 2010). "THQ CEO: Saints Row and Red Faction at E3, De Blob going multiplatform". Joystiq. Retrieved February 22, 2010. 
  8. ^ "Red Faction 4 Locked For E3". 
  9. ^ Dutton, Fred. "THQ abandons Red Faction franchise". Eurogamer. 
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^ Goldberg, J "V-Singular" (16 August 2010). "Red Faction: Battlegrounds First Trailer". Volition, Inc. Retrieved 17 August 2010. 
  14. ^ Alex Weprin (2010-04-26). "Syfy Expanding Video-Game Business ‘Red Faction’ going to TV; ‘Ghost Hunters Academy’ series gets its own game". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved 2010-04-26. 
  15. ^ Goldberg, J "V-Singular" (July 19, 2010). "Red Faction: Origins - Coming To Your TV In March". Volition, Inc. Retrieved 2010-07-20. 
  16. ^ "Red Faction Reviews". GameRankings. Retrieved June 2, 2011. 
  17. ^ "Red Faction Reviews". GameRankings. Retrieved June 2, 2011. 
  18. ^ "Red Faction Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved June 2, 2011. 
  19. ^ "Red Faction Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved June 2, 2011. 
  20. ^ "Red Faction II Reviews". GameRankings. Retrieved June 2, 2011. 
  21. ^ "Red Faction II Reviews". GameRankings. Retrieved June 2, 2011. 
  22. ^ "Red Faction II Reviews". GameRankings. Retrieved June 2, 2011. 
  23. ^ "Red Faction II Reviews". GameRankings. Retrieved June 2, 2011. 
  24. ^ "Red Faction II Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved June 2, 2011. 
  25. ^ "Red Faction II Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved June 2, 2011. 
  26. ^ "Red Faction II Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved June 2, 2011. 
  27. ^ "Red Faction II Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved June 2, 2011. 
  28. ^ "Red Faction: Guerrilla Reviews". GameRankings. Retrieved June 2, 2011. 
  29. ^ "Red Faction: Guerrilla Reviews". GameRankings. Retrieved June 2, 2011. 
  30. ^ "Red Faction: Guerrilla Reviews". GameRankings. Retrieved June 2, 2011. 
  31. ^ "Red Faction: Guerrilla Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved June 2, 2011. 
  32. ^ "Red Faction: Guerrilla Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved June 2, 2011. 
  33. ^ "Red Faction: Guerrilla Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved June 2, 2011. 
  34. ^ "Red Faction: Armageddon Reviews". GameRankings. Retrieved June 2, 2011. 
  35. ^ "Red Faction: Armageddon Reviews". GameRankings. Retrieved June 2, 2011. 
  36. ^ "Red Faction: Armageddon Reviews". GameRankings. Retrieved June 2, 2011. 
  37. ^ "Red Faction: Armageddon Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved June 2, 2011. 
  38. ^ "Red Faction: Armageddon Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved June 2, 2011. 
  39. ^ "Red Faction: Armageddon Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved June 2, 2011. 
  40. ^ "Red Faction GameSpot Review". GameSpot. 2008-08-28. Retrieved 2008-08-28. 
  41. ^ "Red Faction GameSpy Review". GameSpy. 2008-08-28. Retrieved 2008-08-28. 
  42. ^ "Red Faction II GameSpot Review". Gamespot. 2008-08-30. Retrieved 2008-08-30. 
  43. ^ "Red Faction II IGN Review". IGN. 2008-08-30. Retrieved 2008-08-30.