Red Faction (series)

Red Faction
Genres First-person shooter
Third-person shooter
Developers Volition, Inc. (2001—2011)
Publishers THQ (2001—2011)
THQ Nordic (2013—Present)
Platforms PlayStation 2, Microsoft Windows, macOS, 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, macOS 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.

In each game for the series, an engine called Geo-Mod, short for "Geometry Modification" technology, is present in some form.[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. An update to the engine 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)

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 2075. 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.

Red Faction II (2002)

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 2080. 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.

Red Faction: Guerrilla (2009)

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 2125. 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.

Red Faction: Armageddon (2011)

On June 4, 2010, first footage of Red Faction: Armageddon debuted in the form of a short teaser trailer on GameTrailers.[3] THQ announced that the game would be shown at the Electronic Entertainment Expo 2010.[4][5] 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.[6]


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.[7] A fan community has organized to petition for the development of a new title in the series.[8]

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.[9]

Other tie-ins

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.[10] The release date was April 5, 2011, beta invites were sent to a select group of PlayStation Plus subscribers on September 21, 2010. The Xbox Live version became backwards compatible on Xbox One on June 23, 2016.[11]

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.[12] Volition confirmed the title of the film and its May 2011 release date on July 19, 2010.[13] The film is set in-between the events of Red Faction: Guerrilla and Armageddon.

Saints Row

Main article: Saints Row (series)

In 2006 Volition began a series called Saints Row. Some 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 after Nordic Games purchased the rights to the Red Faction series, Red Faction references continue to make appearances in Saints Row IV onward.


Aggregate review scores
As of June 2, 2011.
Game Metacritic
Red Faction (PS2) 88[14]
(PC) 78[15]
Red Faction II (PS2) 84[16]
(GC) 79[17]
(Xbox) 74[18]
(PC) 64[19]
Red Faction: Guerrilla (PS3) 85[20]
(X360) 85[21]
(PC) 82[22]
Red Faction: Armageddon (PC) 75[23]
(X360) 71[24]
(PS3) 71[25]

The series has generally received positive reviews, with the original Red Faction and third installment Red Faction: Guerrilla getting the most acclaim, while Red Faction II and series low pointat least criticallyRed Faction: Armageddon having weaker scores. 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”.[26] 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.”[27]

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".[28] 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.[29] 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.


  1. "Geo-Mod Engine Description". Volition, Inc. Archived from the original on August 30, 2012. Retrieved September 4, 2008.
  2. "RED Engine Mentioning". Volition, Inc. Archived from the original on January 1, 2009. Retrieved December 16, 2008.
  3. Nick Chester (June 3, 2010). "Red Faction: Armageddon reveal tomorrow on GameTrailers". Destructoid. Retrieved June 4, 2010.
  4. JC Fletcher (February 17, 2010). "THQ CEO: Saints Row and Red Faction at E3, De Blob going multiplatform". Joystiq. Retrieved February 22, 2010.
  5. "Red Faction 4 Locked For E3".
  6. Dutton, Fred. "THQ abandons Red Faction franchise". Eurogamer.
  10. Goldberg, J "V-Singular" (August 16, 2010). "Red Faction: Battlegrounds First Trailer". Volition, Inc. Retrieved August 17, 2010.
  11. "Fallout: New Vegas and 7 More Xbox One Backwards-Compatible Games Arriving Today". Retrieved June 23, 2016.
  12. Alex Weprin (April 26, 2010). "Syfy Expanding Video-Game Business 'Red Faction' going to TV; 'Ghost Hunters Academy' series gets its own game". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved April 26, 2010.
  13. Goldberg, J "V-Singular" (July 19, 2010). "Red Faction: Origins - Coming To Your TV In March". Volition, Inc. Retrieved July 20, 2010.
  14. "Red Faction Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved June 2, 2011.
  15. "Red Faction Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved June 2, 2011.
  16. "Red Faction II Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved June 2, 2011.
  17. "Red Faction II Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved June 2, 2011.
  18. "Red Faction II Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved June 2, 2011.
  19. "Red Faction II Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved June 2, 2011.
  20. "Red Faction: Guerrilla Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved June 2, 2011.
  21. "Red Faction: Guerrilla Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved June 2, 2011.
  22. "Red Faction: Guerrilla Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved June 2, 2011.
  23. "Red Faction: Armageddon Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved June 2, 2011.
  24. "Red Faction: Armageddon Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved June 2, 2011.
  25. "Red Faction: Armageddon Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved June 2, 2011.
  26. "Red Faction GameSpot Review". GameSpot. August 28, 2008. Retrieved August 28, 2008.
  27. "Red Faction GameSpy Review". GameSpy. August 28, 2008. Retrieved August 28, 2008.
  28. "Red Faction II GameSpot Review". GameSpot. August 30, 2008. Retrieved August 30, 2008.
  29. "Red Faction II IGN Review". IGN. August 30, 2008. Retrieved August 30, 2008.
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