Next Red Faction planned for March 2011, focus on franchise's roots

In an interview with Joystiq during the 2010 Game Developer's Conference, THQ's executive VP of Core Games Danny Bilson let a few new details slip about the upcoming sequel to the critical-smash hit Red Faction: Guerrilla. "The new game takes [Red Faction] to a whole new place, it kind of goes back to the old Red Faction because about 80% of it is underground," Bilson said. According to Bilson, the as-yet-properly-named sequel -- which he describes as a "hybrid" between the first two titles in the Red Faction franchise and Guerrilla -- is planned for release in March 2011. (In February, THQ's annual investors conference call vaguely stated a Guerrilla sequel was planned for the company's "fiscal 2011" window.)

Bilson was tight-lipped on other details but did confirm the upcoming open-world third-person shooter would be far more "structured," akin to a "narrative" shooter. The sequel will still feature the destructibility Bilson says cost THQ "a fortune" to develop for Guerrilla, but will have a much greater impact on cities built closer together in the tight confines of the new underground world.

Although Guerrilla captivated most critics (netting a Metacritic average of 85 across three platforms) the third-person shooter failed to meet THQ's sales expectations. While Bilson said it would have been easy to scrap the characters and setting in the upcoming sequel and shift it into a new intellectual property -- effectively severing its connection to Guerrilla's poor retail showing -- he felt the quality in the previous entry was too great to abandon the Red Faction universe.

The strategy now, says Bilson, is to expose gamers to the series in order to prepare them for the future, citing the recent Red Faction: Guerrilla giveaway promotion as an example of giving the title the exposure it "deserved" at launch. "Giving away the stock now, on Red Faction, is getting more people exposed to the IP because we're going bigger on Red Faction next time," Bilson told us. "If the game wasn't so good, we wouldn't be giving it away at all."

This article was originally published on Joystiq.