After 6 years and over USD 100 million spent on development, publisher The9 finally announced Firefall will be entering the non-wipe phase on 18 Nov in China. Firefall China will actually be published by Shanghai Aozhi Technology, formed by original publisher The9 and top software company Qihoo 360. Former The9 CEO and multi-millionaire, Zhu Jun, has returned to watch over Firefall.
Developed by US-based Red 5 Studios, the development team boasted at ChinaJoy 2015 that the China version will be the “best open world game” when completed, along with working on a PlayStation 4 port as well. Zhu Jun talked to the Chinese press about his future plans for The9 and Firefall, and seen below are words extracted (and loosely translated) from the interviews.
1. When Mark (former Red 5 Studios CEO) and Zhu Jun discussed about the open world PVP concept, they thought it was the game’s future, but found it actually hard to be realized when developing. With USD 50 million already invested, it would make no sense to lose this amount , hence investment in Firefall continued. He said over USD 100 million has been invested so far in Firefall.
2. Blizzard Entertainment found it hard to develop a open world PVP game based on the MMOFPS concept, hence they gave up on Project Titan, but Red 5 Studios and The9 are continuing this path as they are confident that it can be done. Note: Mark was from Blizzard Entertainment, hence he should have known about Project Titan.
3. Zhu Jun believes the most profitable game type is still from PC client games, as compared to web games or mobile games. While mobile games are gaining traction, those without a popular or famous IP will not succeed in China.
4. Zhu Jun announced that China’s top video platform Youku Tudou (now a target for Alibaba) and Qihoo 360 will work together to “nurture” the Firefall IP.
5. The former publisher of World of Warcraft China, The9 actually had a chance to sign League of Legends China until Tencent Games got hold of the popular MOBA at a much higher price.
6. Zhu Jun aims to transform The9 from a traditional games publisher into an entertainment platform.