Fallen Earth is one of a kind, a MMORPG that tries to place us in an original post-apocalyptic setting. Released just a couple of months ago, now is the perfect time to learn more about its status and what the future holds.

MMORPG Gate spoke with the Associate Project Manager, Dave Haydysch, about Mad Max, the apocalypse... and horses.

Can you introduce yourself and your role on the development of Fallen Earth?

Sure, hey everyone, my name is Dave Haydysch and I am the Associate Project Manager for Fallen Earth.

Roughly how many people worked on Fallen Earth, and how long was the development cycle?

FALLEN EARTH, LLC was established in 2003, however the game’s development really took off in 2006, moving into a strong production cycle. The early development team was small and set the foundation for Fallen Earth. Today, we have about 55 to 60 people that are dedicated to Fallen Earth. We also utilize some of Icarus Studio’s resources to supplement.

Why did you choose the uncommon post-apocalyptic setting? Are you Fallout fans or were you just tired of all the fantasy MMORPGs?

The idea for the game and the setting began about six years ago and we felt that the American Southwest / Grand Canyon area inspires a very unique set of emotions. We really wanted to dive into the whole “Mad Max / Road Warrior” setting. We actually used a real map of the Grand Canyon for our game setting, so in theory, you could go to an in game location in RL, sans the mutants and such! There are a lot of us here who are Fallout fans!

Besides the original setting, what do you think makes Fallen Earth different from other MMORPGs, gameplay-wise?

Fallen Earth is unique in many respects including the FPS elements we tied into the RPG style game—we chose reticle based combat instead of an “auto-attack” style, where your hit depends on your damage, not just a dice roll. We also have a very in-depth crafting system that allows players to create 95% of the items in the game…

Lee Hammock, Lead Game Designer on Fallen Earth, said in an interview that at "50,000 subscribers, the game is profitable, and at 100,000 subscribers, Fallen Earth is extremely profitable." So, where are you right now?

I would say we are comfortable where we are right now. Of course we always want more subscribers, especially since that would allow us more freedom to bring you more of the apocalypse…who doesn’t want that?!

Does the narrative play a big part on Fallen Earth or it’s just accessory to the gameplay?

Narrative definitely plays a major role in Fallen Earth. Players will notice every mission, character and creature found in Fallen Earth relates back to a storyline. And as new content is added, we build upon these running storylines.

Which one would you choose: the horse or the ATV? And why?

Heh, tough question, but I have to be honest and say the horse. If I had to choose a reason, I think it just feels like the right mount for the setting and has great storage for those long scavenging trips. Although, I love some of the higher level vehicles that players can craft, that’s where it gets really good!

We’ve read about players stating that they found themselves lost during the first hours in Fallen Earth. Do you feel like you could have made things easier, more linear, to make adaptation somewhat more confortable?

We wanted to stay away from too much hand-holding initially in the game, with the goal of the steeper learning curve to drive the players to learn more for themselves. We have since added in the New Player Experience areas in all nine of the starter towns to bridge the gap between what the players learn in the tutorial and finally heading out into the wastes, creating a little less of a curve and explaining some key concepts for the game which has been met with great feedback from our players!

You’re developing an iPhone application that allows players to connect into the live game server and interact with Fallen Earth. Do you think the future for MMORPGs is in part in this kind of frequent interactivity?

I love the new iPhone app and the unique experience it will bring to our players, being able to interact with the live game by accessing their crafting queue, chat, IM’s, mail, among other features. I think that we will start to see more of this in the future with the great success of mobile applications and the constant development of mobile devices. MMORPG players play in large part for that immersion and interactivity in the game world, so this just adds more of that experience for them.

Besides the iPhone app, what are your future plans for Fallen Earth? Free updates, expansion packs...?

We are always expanding and improving upon the game. We have an upcoming social patch, set to be released in mid-December, which will introduce new social content that our players have been asking for, such as camps, a new tradeskill and many more additions that we are very excited about and happy to offer our players.

Thank you for your time, and the best of luck for the future of Fallen Earth!