Browncoats rejoice! Joss Whedon's space Western Firefly may never return to television, but the 'verse goes on. And soon, you'll be able to have a ship and crew of your own, when Firefly Online launches for the PC and Mac. We've got an exclusive first look at the ships, the guns, the characters and more.
In case you missed the game's launch video at SDCC, you can view that here. Firefly Online is the creation of Quantum Mechanix, whose Firefly merchandise and other goodies we've featured many times before, along with Spark Plug Games.
According to QMX's Andy Gore, everyone agreed a Firefly game was a great idea, but QMX had to prove it was the right company to do it. There were two criteria: 1) The company had to love Firefly and its fans, which clearly wasn't an issue. 2) The company had to have strong development chops — because this had to be a great game in its own right, regardless of the Firefly connection.
Firefly Online's "Free Flight Engine" will give you a reactive 3D user interface, that includes whizzy "in-universe guides" around planets that the player can interact with, according to Gore. "If you could imagine the map of the verse (complete with the nebula gases), in 3D, with all the planet renders that you can zoom in, zoom out and fly through. It looks utterly amazing"
Here's a snapshot of the game's "Free Flight Engine" in action, as it's currently being developed:
Joss Whedon is aware of the development of Firefly Online, but he's been "a bit busy with a little thing called The Avengers," says Gore, and thus hasn't been personally involved. "I think that's part of why it was important to the studio that the developer be someone with a proven track record making successful products for Firefly. No one wants to disappoint Joss."
Check out some animated GIFs that show early renderings of some of the ships in the game, moving in three dimensions:
OK, so I've held off using the word "shiny" until this point. But I'm just going to come out and say it: Shiny.
According to the game's FAQ, Firefly Online is a "multi-user strategic roleplaying game" set in the Firefly universe. You become a ship captain and hire a crew and seek out adventures.
Gore tells io9 there will be a central story to the game, along with "many branching stories and standalone adventures players can enjoy. And we plan to have regular DLC updates to add more as time goes on."
Here's some concept art showing character portraits, including how much diversity there will be in the online version of Firefly:
In addition to going on side-jobs in the midst of Firefly Online's overarching story, players can also create "jobs" (or quests) for each other, says QMX's Gore:
For us, the most exciting thing is player-created "jobs" (the Firefly Online name for quests). There will be a job-creation system where players will be able to craft adventures for other players to partake in. We're looking forward to seeing what people do with that system.
And there will be *a lot* to do beyond quests. You can focus on pimping your ride, getting a new ride, hiring a crew, keeping them happy, trading, crafting, collecting swag, or just flying around the multitude of terraformed worlds of the Verse in the freeform flight simulator.
Check out some more concept art, showing the exterior and interior of some of the game's ships. Along with how easy it is to customize your cargo bay, your bunk, and the entire interior of your ship:
The Pillbug - Beauty Shot
Peregrine - Beauty Shot
Honest Austin's Used Boats and Salvage.
The Cargo Bay
Firefly Series One "Hardpoints and Ship Variants" Concept Art.
One of the environments you'll be able to visit in the game will be Saloons. (Along with floating trading posts known as "Space Emporiums.") Here's some great Saloon concept art:
Inside the Serpent's Den.
The Saloon Job.
And you'll be able to customize your engines, just to keep the Kaylee on your ship guessing. Click here to see a selection of different engine designs you can play with, and there's one sample below:
So will there be Reavers in the game? Absolutely, says Gore: "A Firefly game that doesn't have Reavers just doesn't seem right,dong ma?"
But will you be able to change sides and work for the Alliance? Not at first. "In the first release, players will take the part of a Browncoat captain. However, we are looking at adding factions in a later DLC release," says Gore.
And finally, click here to see some awesome concept art of guns and other weapons.
Gore cautions that this doesn't mean the game is "violence-heavy". You can resolve almost every conflict with guns — but you can also usually talk your way out of any situation if you have the right "savvy." So all the gun concept art is just about establishing the look of the world, with weapons being one important place to start. Here's a sample, and see more at the link:
And here's one last piece of Series One Firefly concept art, previously published on the game's blog:
Firefly Online is slated to be released in the summer of 2014.