Red Faction is a first-person shooter video game that was released in 2001 for the PlayStation 2, Microsoft Windows, and Macintosh by THQ and Volition. A version for the Nokia N-Gage was developed by Monkeystone Games. The game was also re-developed as a top-down shooter for the mobile phone.
Red Faction takes place on Mars in the 22nd century. The player controls a miner named Parker who helps lead a rebellion against the Ultor Corporation. The premiere feature of the game is its "Geo-Mod" technology, short for "geography modification", which provided destructible environments, allowing the player to destroy certain sections of the scenery in the game. For example, instead of opening a door, a player could blast through the rock surrounding the door.
Red Faction takes place on Mars in the 22nd century, more specifically around the year 2158. Earth’s minerals are being depleted and humans need more of them to survive. The vast Ultor Corporation runs the mining operation on Mars. The living conditions are deplorable, Human rights for the miners are few and a disease called "The Plague" is running rampant throughout the colony with no known antidote available - predominantly within the confines of the mine complex. Parker, a downtrodden miner, came to Mars to make a new start in his life - taken in by the promises and advantages Ultor has to offer in the mines of Mars. After a routine day in the mine with the typical aggression toward miners and cramped living conditions and poor nutrition, he witnesses the spark that starts a rebellion when a security guard abuses a miner at the end of his shift and heartlessly kills him. Parker takes up arms, with the help of Hendrix, a rebellious Ultor security technician who guides Parker through the complex. Hendrix tries to get Parker to join up with a group of miners who are about to steal a supply shuttle and escape the complex. Parker arrives too late. The shuttle takes off but is destroyed by missiles.
Parker traverses through the Ultor complex, eliminating any resistance Ultor throws at him, and even kidnapping a high-ranking Ultor administrator, Gryphon, for Eos, leader of the Red Faction. Parker learns from Gryphon about Dr. Capek, who created "The Plague". Capek has been experimenting with nanotechnology, and the Plague is a side-effect of injections at the miners' annual medical checkup. Hendrix directs Parker to Capek's secret underground laboratory, where he and Eos meet up and take down Capek. Before Capek dies, he tells Eos how to cure the Plague. After sending a distress call to the Earth Defense Force, Parker stows away on a shuttle to an Ultor space station in Martian orbit to deactivate a laser defense system.
After destroying the space station, Parker lands back on Mars via an escape pod, Ultor brings out its reserve of mercenaries to help them in their fight against the miners. Hendrix tells Parker that the mercenaries have orders to destroy the mining complex, covering up any proof of Ultor's wrongdoing. After fighting his way through the mercenary base, Parker confronts Masako, the mercenary leader. After he kills Masako, Parker sees that Eos is tied up and sitting on the floor next to the bomb, which has been set to explode. After deactivating it, the Earth Defense Force arrives just in time to save Parker and Eos from a fighter aircraft. Eos tells Parker that an antidote for the Plague has been made and it is being given to any sick miners. She also tells him she is leaving Mars, and that Parker should enjoy his new status as a hero.
One of the main "selling points" of Red Faction was the game engine's GeoMod technology, which allowed players to significantly alter and otherwise affect the surrounding terrain and buildings, either with explosives or otherwise. Past games had allowed limited alteration of the environment through scripted means, or special triggered areas which would add or remove certain predefined level elements. Red Faction was one of the first games to allow players relatively limitless level-altering possibilities. In fact, many of the areas in the first few levels, such as a hidden underground lake, serve little purpose other than showcasing the capabilities of the GeoMod technology.
GeoMod allows the player to alter (and destroy) the environment so significantly because of the way it designates altered (or "GeoModded") areas. Whereas other game engines would have to modify the shape of the altered object to create a similar effect, GeoMod creates special objects which represent empty space. When, for example, an explosion blows a hole in a rock wall, the GeoMod technology creates an "empty space" object which is the approximate size and shape of the explosion. The training level uses a much larger "empty space" object than the rocket launcher is able to produce in other circumstances, simply because tunnelling is required to complete part of the level.
The use of these "empty space" objects is not limited to in-game environment alteration. Some of the objects in the game, such as the wastebaskets found in certain office areas, are stored as one solid shape with another "empty space" shape defined within it.
Geomod has become popular in multiplayer as players tend to build "tunnels" with explosive weapons. For example, in the warlords level, players could create caves using rocket launchers by repeatedly shooting a wall with the rocket launcher or using the remote detonators (or occasionally the fusion rocket launcher and grenades). Some players build tunnels for an advantage because they could hide in them and use sniper rifles or precision rifles to pick off enemies. In CTF games, players build tunnels as a shortcut into an enemy base to gain an advantage in capturing their flags.
One of the main criticisms of the game was inconsistency in the use of GeoMod, mostly owing to the design limitations of linear first-person shooters. Where the game needed to halt the player's progress, locked doors and appropriate nearby walls were invulnerable to attack; players were not allowed to circumvent the obstruction using their own initiative, except in a few cases presumed to be glitches. Another debilitating issue was lack of ammunition for the explosive weapons needed. It was sparse throughout the single-player experience, meaning opportunity for GeoMod experimentation was severely limited. Other, less justifiable inconsistencies in the use of GeoMod could be found in the game; some players noted how it was possible to blow holes in the rocky caverns of the mines, yet at the same time the partitions in office cubicles were completely indestructible. Despite these and other GeoMod issues in the single-player game, critics were essentially unanimous in their praise of the system in multiplayer matches.
On February 2, 2007, THQ CEO Brian Farrell confirmed that Red Faction 3 was in the works via a conference call with investors. Little is known about the project, other than that it is scheduled for the 2008 fiscal year. On August 1, 2007, the sequel was pushed back till the 2009 fiscal year.
On Feb. 5th, 2008 THQ CEO Brian Farrell said Red Faction III, officially titled Red Faction: Guerrilla, is being made by Volition Studios for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC.
Although not a sequel or prequel to Red Faction in terms of storyline, Volition's 2008 release Saints Row 2 features a street gang fighting against a contemporary version of the Ultor Corporation, as a nod to the series.