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New Earthrise: First Impact screenshots unveiled

Sci-Fi, Galleries, Screenshots, News Items, Free-to-Play, Earthrise, Post-Apocalyptic, Sandbox

Screenshot -- Earthrise: First Impact
We're sure many sci-fi sandbox fans have been looking forward to the (re)launch of Earthrise: First Impact since German studio SilentFuture took the helm in May of last year. Unfortunately, those fans are going to have to wait a bit longer before they can get their hands on the game in earnest, but in the meantime, SilentFuture has released a new bevy of screenshots to help satiate their hunger.

And we've gotta say, they look pretty darn spiffy. The screens include an arid desert outpost, mysterious ruins admist a lush, verdant jungle, and what appears to be an absurdly oversized artillery gun, amongst other things. It would certainly appear that the folks at SilentFuture have been hard at work, and although screenshots are no substitute for actual gameplay, they're still a feast for the eyes nonetheless. So how about checking them out in the gallery below?

[Source: SilentFuture press release]

Earthrise: First Impact shows off new alpha footage

Betas, Sci-Fi, Video, Earthrise, Sandbox

Earthrise First Impact shows off new alpha footage
When Earthrise closed down in early 2012, many MMO fans chalked it up to another failure in a growing heap of MMO ideas. German publisher SilentFuture snatched the IP and assets up a few months later and are happily chugging along with the game's alpha as we speak. But this still left many of us skeptical about the potential success of something that's already failed once.

Earlier today, the devs released two alpha-footage videos showing off the Earthrise: First Impact's improved character creator and a bit of running around in the game world. You can see both videos after the jump below and be sure to head on over to the game's Facebook page to let the devs know what you think of the footage.

[Thanks to David for the tip!]

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Earthrise founder packages offer instant beta access

Betas, Sci-Fi, Business Models, MMO Industry, PvP, News Items, Earthrise, Sandbox

Earthrise founder packages offer instant beta access
SilentFuture wants you to know that you can spend a little money on its Earthrise MMO shooter if you like. The company has updated its website with a founder page, and buying one of the package deals apparently grants you instant beta access.

The original incarnation of Earthrise was developed by Masthead and closed its doors in February of 2012. SilentFuture picked up the pieces and announced that it was retooling the game a few months later. The game's founder FAQ says that it should release "late this year." In the meantime, the "alpha/beta is running mostly 24/7."

SilentFuture retools Earthrise's network layer, GUI, and gameplay

Betas, Sci-Fi, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Free-to-Play, Earthrise, Sandbox

Earthrise: First Impact screenshot
So Earthrise is officially a thing. Again. The sci-fi sandbox initially launched early in 2011, and at the time, we thought it needed quite a bit of work.

Two years later, quite a bit of work has apparently happened, as the game's new publisher is gearing up for a reboot and stage one of its alpha test. SilentFuture says that it focused on fundamentals while retooling the game. Specifically, "a new network layer was implemented," and the original Flash-based GUI was replaced with a customizable HTML5 version.

The firm is also "focusing [on] the RPG factor with third-person fast-paced action combat" that is "more cooperative and shooter-like." Finally, the business model is now fully free-to-play and funded by microtransactions that allow for personalization without "affecting the gameplay."

There's no launch date yet, but you can sign up for an alpha/beta tester position at the game's official website.

[Source: SilentFuture press release]

Earthrise accepting test applications, prepares alpha phase

Betas, Sci-Fi, Earthrise, Sandbox

Earthrise accepting test applications again
Earthrise might have gone down hard in February of this year, but a last-minute play by German studio SilentFuture kept it from becoming a permanent addition to the MMO graveyard. Ever since learning that this post-apocalyptic sandbox would be resurrected in a new form, we've kept an eye out for a sign that Earthrise would be, er, rising once more.

That day is today. Just in case you were wondering.

SilentFuture is taking test applications for what it's now calling Earthrise: First Impact. The site notes that just applying does not guarantee entry into the alpha or beta tests. The studio announced that the alpha will begin soon, although there is a technical issue preventing players from downloading the client.

[Thanks to Marc for the tip!]

Massively Speaking Episode 201: No more secrets

World of Warcraft, Podcasts, Dungeons and Dragons Online, Lord of the Rings Online, MMO Industry, News Items, Guild Wars 2, Massively Meta, The Secret World, Earthrise, Massively Speaking, Miscellaneous

The Secret World
Massively Speaking Episode 201 gets into all of your dirty little secrets -- not to mention Funcom's, as well! We're joined by Jef, who gives us the full scoop on The Secret World now that the NDA's come tumbling down. Will this be another Failcom or possibly a Fabulouscom? Only Jef knows, and he's highly resistant to torture and bribery.

Have a comment for the podcasters? Shoot an email to podcast@massively.com. We may just read your email on the air!

Get the podcast:
[iTunes] Subscribe to Massively Speaking directly in iTunes.
[RSS] Add Massively Speaking to your RSS aggregator.
[MP3] Download the MP3 directly.
Listen here on the page:

Read below the cut for the full show notes.

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German studio SilentFuture resurrecting Earthrise

Sci-Fi, News Items, Free-to-Play, Earthrise, Post-Apocalyptic, Sandbox

Screenshot -- Earthrise
Fans of Masthead Studios' late sandbox MMO, Earthrise, have cause to rejoice today. The Wuppertal, Germany-based studio SilentFuture announced in a press release today that it will be taking over development and operation of the title, which was shut down in February earlier this year.

According to the press release, the studio is currently working on a complete overhaul of the game, from backstory to gameplay to technology. SilentFuture plans to have the game up and running again sometime in the fourth quarter of this year. Earthrise will return as a free-to-play title in which players "no longer find themselves in a post-apocalyptic world" but rather are "part of the apocalypse itself." Sounds promising! Hopefully we can look forward to more details in the coming weeks, but at least we know one thing for sure: Earthrise is back!

[Source: SilentFuture press release]

Earthrise website jumps to life with new countdown timer

Sci-Fi, Business Models, MMO Industry, News Items, Earthrise, Sandbox

Earthrise - website timer
Remember Earthrise, the post-apocalyptic sci-fi sandbox from Masthead Studios? The fledgling title shut down last February after a tumultuous year that included a rough launch and lukewarm (or worse) reviews.

Masthead originally intended to convert the subscription-based game to a free-to-play business model but opted to pull the plug entirely due to a lack of investor interest. As of today, though, there's a countdown timer on the official Earthrise website (as well as a new background graphic that shows off the game's sci-fi battle action).

Has Masthead found an investor after all, and is Earthrise making a comeback? We'll see in a little over five days, but feel free to speculate in the comments!

[Thanks to IMN for the tip!]

Massively Speaking Episode 186: Polysyllabic daydreams

Podcasts, MMO Industry, News Items, Opinion, Star Trek Online, Earthrise, Massively Speaking, RIFT, Final Fantasy XIV, Miscellaneous

Massively Speaking Episode 186 is the episode that fans will forever decry as the one that jumped the shark. In our defense, the shark was just sitting there in the Massively office parking lot and we were looking for an excuse to try out our new dirt bike anyway.

This week we're joined by Jeremy Stratton, who provides expert analysis on the perks and pitfalls of free-to-play. He was also the first to clear the shark without major blood loss, so bully for him!

Have a comment for the podcasters? Shoot an email to podcast@massively.com. We may just read your email on the air!

Get the podcast:
[iTunes] Subscribe to Massively Speaking directly in iTunes.
[RSS] Add Massively Speaking to your RSS aggregator.
[MP3] Download the MP3 directly.
Listen here on the page:

Read below the cut for the full show notes.

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Earthrise shutting down today

Sci-Fi, MMO Industry, Free-to-Play, Earthrise, Post-Apocalyptic, Sandbox

Bye bye Earthrise
Bulgarian developer Masthead Studios has announced that it's shutting down the servers for its post-apocalyptic sandbox MMO, Earthrise. Said Atanas Atanasov, Director of Masthead Studios:
"One year after the launch of the game, we have decided to stop the Earthrise servers. Earthrise was released too early and did not meet the expectations of its fans. We did our best to revive the game in 2011, but the time was not enough to keep up with the user requirements. There is a huge interest in high quality open world sandbox MMORPGs, unfortunately the big publishers do not show any interest in the genre. It is unfortunate that low budget companies like ours are trying to bring innovativeness in the already saturated MMO market. I hope that one day an independent studio will be able to release the long anticipated open world sandbox MMO, which everyone is talking about, but no one is making. We tried, but did not succeed. We would like to apologize to those who were disappointed from Earthrise and to thank everyone who supported us during the years."
The studio does mention that the planned free-to-play version for this year may still launch if any investor interest is shown, but there has been no word on this yet.

[Source: Masthead Studios press release]

Earthrise killing subscriptions, going free-to-play in 2012

Sci-Fi, Business Models, Free-to-Play, Earthrise, Sandbox

The struggling sci-fi sandbox Earthrise is no longer interested in competing in the subscription market, and is instead veering toward a free-to-play model in 2012. As of December 1st, all players will be able to experience the game without a monthly charge as Masthead Studios prepares for a F2P version.

Masthead CEO Atanas Atanasov says that the move is an effort to retain customer trust while the developers shore up the game's weaknesses: "We decided to let all our players unlimited gaming experience until we all are satisfied with the experience in our game. At the moment Earthrise features one of the best visuals, content, and gameplay of all sci-fi MMOs on the market. However, it is missing polish and has annoyances that spoil the fun in the game. We are learning from our experience and that is why we will remove monthly charges until we bring the game to a quality state that is satisfactory to us and our players."

Once the title is brought up to par, Masthead will transition it to a true F2P model, although Atanasov assures players that it will not incorporate pay-to-win purchases. Until Earthrise goes F2P, new accounts will be invitation-only as Masthead restricts the number of incoming players. All current subscribers will be able to invite a few of their friends during the transition, however.

[Source: Masthead Studios press release]

Earthrise releases vehicle patch, reactivates old accounts

Sci-Fi, Galleries, Screenshots, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Patches, News Items, Earthrise, Sandbox

Masthead Studios has just informed us of the latest patch for Earthrise. There's good news for former players too, as the company is re-upping all inactive accounts for a free 14-day trial period.

The patch itself includes new vehicles that can be obtained via quest lines, player crafters, or in-game vendors. The mounts are called hoovers, and when coupled with Earthrise's physics model, they allow players to perform drifts, jumps, and various stunts. Speed is a major factor as well, and Masthead says that explorers will appreciate the new vehicles when checking out the various nooks and crannies across the world of Enterra.

Finally, the patch includes "large numbers of strong monsters" designed to provide more of a challenge for PvE players as well as provide greater loot rewards. You can learn more about Earthrise at the game's official website. Also, don't forget to check out the new vehicle concept art in our gallery.

Gallery: Earthrise

[Source: Masthead press release]

One Shots: No job too big, no job too small

Galleries, Screenshots, One Shots, Earthrise, Post-Apocalyptic

Earthrise is center stage for today's One Shots with a screenshot of a pretty impressive group effort. Earthrise players aren't limited to large structures, though. Knar, the reader character in the foreground, is also sporting some player-created items:
This is the first base built in Earthrise since the Territory War feature was implemented. All structures and walls in the base are player made, as well as the armor and weapon my character has equipped. It has a such a nice view of the mutated wasteland!
Now it's your turn to show off your items. This week's theme is Some Assembly Required -- a little nod to the newest addition to our column lineup. Some Assembly Required covers player-created content, so we want to see the best of what you've created.

Whether you've built a farm or village in Wurm Online, a particularly impressive ride in Fallen Earth, or something even bigger and better in any MMO, we want to see! Grab a screenshot, tell us a bit about what it is, and send it to oneshots@massively.com. We'll be featuring the best of these all week.

Earthrise's subscription price (earth)lowered

Sci-Fi, Economy, MMO Industry, News Items, Earthrise

Have you been wanting to take sandbox MMO Earthrise out for a spin, but just don't have the creds to shell out for it? Well, today may be your lucky day. Masthead Studios announced today that they had lowered the prices of Earthrise's game client and subscription fees in order to "greatly improve the in-game economy and... also make Earthrise a lot more fun for both new and old members."

So what are the new prices? Well, if you're in the US, the game client itself will cost you $14 (a rather sizeable 60% discount), while your subscription options will be: $14 for one month, $30 for three months, or $50 for five months. European players, on the other hand, will have to shell out 12 Euro for the client, and the subscription options will be: 12 Euro for one month, 25 Euro for three months, and 46 euro for five months. Whether or not this move will reinvigorate the game as planned, we'll just have to wait and see.

Masthead releases first Earthrise expansion, reactivates old accounts

Sci-Fi, Expansions, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Patches, News Items, Earthrise

Today marks a significant milestone for Earthrise, the indie sci-fi sandbox from Masthead Studios. A rather large patch has made its way to the live servers, and the changes are so numerous that Masthead's press release labels the update as Earthrise's first expansion.

The big kahuna in terms of new content is the Territorial Wars functionality, and the patch notes mention new zones with bases ripe for the capturing as well as the ability for guilds to construct various economic and military structures. Speaking of guilds, leaders can now make use of a new ranking and permission system, and Earthrise now sports both friend and ignore lists in addition to improved client performance.

The patch also brings a laundry list of weapon effect changes, combat re-balancing, and bug fixes, all of which are viewable via the patch notes on the official Earthrise forums. If all that's not enough to whet your appetite, consider that Masthead has reduced the initial client cost by 40% as well as gifted all previous account holders with 10 days of free play.

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