Though I missed out on the first two games in the franchise, I got to see what the fuss was all about starting with Red Faction Guerrilla. An open world game with extreme levels of destructibility, I was solid almost instantly. Being able to rip down buildings with a vast array of weapons (including the satisfying crack of a sledgehammer!) was unlike anything I had experienced previously. Not only did it make each mission unique in that the player had numerous ways to complete an objective, it was just plain fun going around to cause a little chaos.
I had always hoped that the series would return, especially to redeem itself after Red Faction Armageddon largely failed to live up to its predecessor. It seems like it wasn’t meant to be, however. Voliton sadly lost the Red Faction IP when THQ went under and was sold off piecemeal during a bankruptcy auction.
But fate has intervened.
After THQ’s development studios were sold off, another auction took place after the fact to sell off the remaining and still stocked catalog of IPs. THQ Nordic, who was previously known as Nordic Games, essentially went all in and acquired the entire THQ IP portfolio. As fans know, the company has been creating new entries to some fan favorite former THQ franchises. The biggest one so far is Darksiders 3. Earlier this week, news broke that THQ Nordic purchased Koch Media, the parent company of Deep Silver, who also owns…you guessed it…Volition.
So why is this important? Well, THQ Nordic has been very open about wanting to partner with other studios to create new games based on these existing IPs. Even the original creators if possible. Again, Darksiders 3 is a great example of this collaboration, as Gunfire Games isn’t affiliated with them at all but the studio itself is actually made up of former Vigil Games employees. What better group to shepherd in the next game in the franchise then by most of the people who helped originally breathe life into the series?
While fans haven’t seen a Red Faction game in nearly seven years, Nordic has always expressed interest int he franchise, even going as far as updating Red Faction Guerrilla on Steam five years after it originally launched. This move now brings everyone back under the same roof and makes a new entry by the original developers easier than ever.
Also, let’s be honest here, I also believe Volition needs a win. Agents of Mayhem, a game I was pretty concerned about, didn’t gain any traction when it launched. Suffering from mediocre reviews, poor marketing, and a general lack of interest, Agents of Mayhem was a sales disappointment and resulted in Deep Silver laying off part of Volition’s workforce.
Following in the footsteps of the excellent Saints Row The Third, Saints Row IV was met with positivity from critics and fans, but it’s almost like you could see the cracks in the foundation starting to form. I know from my perspective, the formula was getting a little stale, and even caused me to pass on the follow-up, Gat Out of Hell entirely. It seems I wasn’t the only one to feel that way either.
That’s where this deal comes in. Not only does it give Volition an outlet to work on something else entirely, but it lets them give the Saints Row franchise a rest and let it breathe for a while. The different themes and gameplay designs of Red Faction will also hopefully foster and reenergize that creativity that the studio was known for during the height of its power.
Plus, how amazing would the destruction of a Red Faction game look on current gen technology. Here’s hoping that this deal pushes all these moving parts back together. Make it happen, Nordic!