So why is he heading up the development of Firefall, a free-to-play MMO/shooter hybrid that aims to stand genre convention on its head? Well, precisely because it aims to stand genre convention on its head. "If I see another action MMO combat game with exclamation points over quest givers, I'm going to commit seppuku! We're pouring so much money [into] a very stale formula," he recently told PC Gamer.
Previous attempts at blending MMO and shooter gameplay have resulted in what Kern colorfully terms the "circle of suck," but Firefall will break that mold due to its unique mind meld of both genres. "Let's get the shooting right, and selectively add in the MMO elements. Let's take the idea of open world sandbox play and feature hundreds of players instead of four- or eight-player co-op. Let's take towns, crafting, and resources and combine it all together. And that group would be a much more fun game when we started playing it than anything we'd tried before," Kern says.