(Prairie) Chicken Little Be Damned – An Exclusive Fallen Earth Interview

Updated Fri, May 07, 2010 by Sardu

As an active member of this nutty world we call gaming media, I can understand the desire to be the first to break a story. Even if the same information is bound to be spread paper thin across the ‘net and beyond mere minutes after being published, that desire can still be a powerful motivator all the same. After all, bringing news about the industry to the fans that make its existence possible in the first place is one of the things we journalists are most passionate about (or at least should be in my opinion), so being first on the scene with breaking news is just icing on the virtual cake.

Only sometimes, in the epic rush to disseminate information as quickly as possible, wild inaccuracies and rampant speculation get thrown into the mix. While most self respecting journalists tend to shy away from such purposeful behavior, it inevitably happens with certain hot news items all the same. While this is to be expected to happen on occasion, it can also have an unfortunately negative impact on those same people we’re here to serve in the first place – the gamers and fans who simply wish to know the bottom line truth when breaking news happens.

Members of the gaming media who are fans and gamers themselves no doubt understand how crushing it can be to read doom-filled headlines about a favorite title. The restructuring at Fallen Earth officially announced late last week was one such case, and boy were there some pretty extreme headlines floating around out there, some even going so far as to claim, “Fallen Earth Developer Icarus Studios Closes Up Shop”. Even if you eventually track down the truth of the situation and edit in an update to correct such a bold statement, the damage has already been done.

As a result, Fallen Earth fans have spent much of the past week in a state of confusion, and to a degree I don’t necessarily blame them. Nearly every online gaming outlet has covered the story, but few have dug deep enough to provide meaningful insight into the heart of the matter. Knowing this and having been a long time fan of the game myself, I set out for Icarus Studios to find out exactly where things stand for the Fallen Earth team today, and their plans for the future.

So this one is dedicated to all the Fallen Earth fans out there, past, present and future. The sky is certainly not falling on Fallen Earth – far from it in fact.

"I don’t think anybody here is in survival mode. Everybody here is in “make the game awesome” mode."

Pulling up to the Cary, NC offices of Icarus Studios and the Fallen Earth team, it was hard to ignore the fact that the parking lot was packed to the point that had there not been a visitor’s spot open, I’d have been hard pressed to find someplace to park. This was hardly the exterior one might expect to see for a company about to shut its doors as some of the rumors floating around out there might want you to believe.

While the team inside may indeed have been notably smaller than when I’d made my inaugural visit to the development home of Fallen Earth last spring, it was no less buzzing with activity and excitement for the release of the game’s newest beast of an update, patch v1.4 which is due to hit live servers this Friday and contains not only Deadfall and the awesome new Blood Sports maps, but a robust achievement system and much, much more.

Details on what makes patch v1.4 an awesome jumping-in point for new players and plenty of reason for current players to be excited will be coming to a Ten Ton Hammer near you in the very near future, and we also have an excellent dev journal outlining each of the Blood Sports maps in the meantime so be sure to check it out. Blood Sports and patch 1.4 certainly offers players plenty to be excited about, but I was also keenly interested in speaking with the team on where the company stands today in light of the recent restructuring announcements, and where they aim to take the game in the future.

Sitting down with Senior Game Designer Marie Croall, Lead Scripter Michael Broadwater, and Marketing Manager Jessica Orr, I found myself facing members of a development team who were as passionate as ever about Fallen Earth, and more than happy to share their thoughts with me on recent events. The resulting discussions filled in many of the blanks and addressed many of the concerns players might currently have about the future of the game.

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