FusionFall RE:SPAWN, or FFRS for short (formerly known as FFRebirth) was an in-development fangame based on the Cartoon Network MMORPG FusionFall. The project was being lead by Benbolt, a longtime member of the FusionFall community.
Its Discord server was once only open to testers, but on July 2nd, 2021, it became open to the public.
On December 13th, 2021, it was announced via the projects Discord server that the game had ceased production due to the development team not having the time or skill to continue development.
A link to a very early and unstable build of the game has been provided by one of the developers (Link).
One of the projects developers, Jordan Mistical, picked up the remnants of the project and is developing it with some help from others under the name of FusionFall Restart. Its development is shared on his Twitter account and the projects dedicated Twitter account.
|“||“FusionFall RE:SPAWN is an unofficially fan-produced, non-profit remake of the 2009 title Cartoon Network Universe: FusionFall, loosely inspired by the fangame FusionFall Legacy. In this title, we hope to bring the game’s original concept into fruition using every trick in the book, elevating the story and gameplay for a new, more advanced generation of animation fans. From ‘90s kids to ‘20s kids, even to the kids at heart, we aim to put out a product that appeals to this game’s resilient community first and foremost. We promise to use our game as a platform for inclusivity, diversity, quality, and tons of fun through new gameplay styles and franchises to explore."
“Additionally, we aim to publicly combat negativity through community engagement and positive vibes from our staff. Going through life can be difficult at times, and our own project has a history of its own with difficult subjects, but we hope the story we tell can make a difference through its message of reinvention and working towards a better future. The time is now. The hero is you.”
– Poppleworks, The first FusionFall RE:SPAWN devblog
Officially Revealed Story
The Fall of Tech Square
After the player arrives in the Future, they escape the ruins of the time machine and are met by a Tech Square that's about come apart at the seams. They then meet up with Ben, Numbuh Five, Numbuh Two, and Buttercup, and encounter new enemies along the way to the Suburbs. During their journey, some heroes are lost, and the buildings in the area begin to crumble to the ground. After navigating the ruins of Tech Square, the player arrives in Dexlabs and goes down an elevator, where they will face an as of now unknown enemy.
In a devblog, it was confirmed that Tobias AcornDrake, a character from the then FusionFall Rebirth ARG, will be an NPC in the game, and be at a location unique to the game, the Tower of the Three Blind Archers. He will offer a unique mission set that, once complete, will give the player great rewards. The Incoming Transmission videos serve as his origin story for the game.
Uncle Grandpa Storyline
On February 14th, 2021, the then FFRebirth's social media accounts revealed that Uncle Grandpa would be present in the game. His character art was revealed in a video on the Orchid Bay Historical Society YouTube channel and a tweet on the projects Twitter account. It was also revealed in an interview with three devs, conducted by former FFU member Kyra Xyrespace. His role has been stated to be as follows "While trying to keep the kids of the world on their feet during the invasion, Uncle G. found himself as one half of an unlikely duo spanning both time and space on a mysterious new mission..." with the partner not being disclosed.
Shortly after the shutdown of FusionFall Universe, a group of fans from the community began a new project in a Discord server known as "FF Tinkering." A few members of the current Rebirth team were involved, but lost interest after Cartoon Network's IPs became largely removed, with key characters being replaced by stand-ins while keeping the FusionFall style. Poppleworks, the first to leave, was invited by Ferbbat101 to become the first member of a new team of developers. As the team grew and programmers were added, the project morphed and evolved into FusionFall Rebirth.
Rebirth was torn between two visions: Ferb wanted to utilize assets and ideas from FusionFall Legacy, but Poppleworks wanted to do something more original. Ferb had reached out about getting those assets, but was met with non-answers since the project that did get them was still being kept a secret at the time. The middle ground was then decided: using certain plotlines from Legacy to fill in the gaps, the game would utilize custom assets and ideas. After this point, Ferb largely took a backseat to development while occasionally acting as a writer.
Social Media Debut
After Artemis joined the team as its Community Manager, the project decided to go public as FFRebirth, or FFRB for short. This abbreviation was used to stay out of Cartoon Network's circle, as the specific reason for FFU's takedown was largely ambiguous. As a non-profit project meant solely as fan art, the devs have mentioned multiple times in public spaces that they will cater to any DMCA requests they receive. This philosophy has also been applied to production: Because it's a hobby for the entire team, there will be no set release dates for any future releases.
Prior to going public, the dev team decided to begin the process with an ARG. On November 26th, 2020, a Twitter account by the name of "I’m Still Standing", (a reference to the FusionFall mission of the same name) began to tweet cryptic messages, using imagery of Buttercup with a red "R" drawn on her face.
On December 8th, the Twitter account rebranded itself as the "Orchid Bay Historical Society," and posted a video called Intercepted Transmission 1 to both its Twitter and its newly launched YouTube channel, introducing Numbuh 90.1 FM (Tobias AcornDrake), a radio personality stuck in a mysterious location. The concept behind this ARG was to create an insignificant entity inside the world of the game that would serve as a news platform for odd occurrences in preparation of Earth's invasion. Poppleworks would handle the project's official Twitter, dropping various pieces of lore and mysterious images/codes (including a custom-made Fusion language), while benbolt504 and Artemis would collaborate on the scripts for Tobias's radio show. While the Tweets largely stuck to the themes of the Orchid Bay account and lore based mainly around The Life and Times of Juniper Lee, the videos followed a completely different track and went for a more abstract take that was never clearly explained.
The dev team also hosted a one-day ARG event on OpenFusion, where an avatar named the "Orchid Bay Historian" would interact with players, leaking to them that they were an undercover agent for the Arctic KND. After being led to find Tobias AcornDrake in Sector V, the player would be sent to Area 51.5. A guard at the gate would stop them from going in and congratulate them for completing the game. The prize was an invite to the project's community server, where the first ones to complete it would become official game testers. The server, however, was still closed to the public.
The ARG continued to some degree with Poppleworks making further use of his Fusion language, which the community continued to decipher. Eventually, however, he pulled the plug on the game after multiple developers contradicted each other and leaked important game elements without permission, creating confusion for those who were trying to follow along. Wanting a more streamlined approach, the social media accounts' change to FFRebirth was announced on January 6th, 2021.
On April Fools' Day 2021, the projects Twitter account posted an encrypted message that, when translated, led to a video of fake game footage. Towards the end of that month, the first in-game screenshot was officially revealed.
On May 25th, Ferb was forcibly removed from the project by multiple members of the dev team, following the revelation that he had been involved in inappropriate behavior that made his presence on the project unsuitable for younger audiences. Popple, who had been promoted to Co-Leader by this point, officially became the leader of the project in a public statement detailing the team's concerns. Receiving unanimous support from the community, the project went into hiatus as they took time to regroup from the incident.
Part of this announcement came with a new issue for the dev team: the name "Rebirth" was revealed to have come from Ferb's own personal self journey, an alleged reformation from his past actions. Feeling largely uncomfortable with its meaning, as well as pressuring from Ferb to give him the name for his own usage, the team decided to host a community event that would determine the project's new name. Around twenty names were workshopped between the dev team and the game testers, eventually being narrowed to down to eight. These eight were posted in two separate Twitter polls, and further narrowed down to four based on a community vote: the three most popular options, plus an internal one suggested by Jade, an OpenFusion developer and one of the testers.
The internal name, RE:SPAWN, ended up winning out. Poppleworks posted a retro game-inspired image to the Twitter announcing the winner, and the former OBHS website was made private as the team proceeded towards the rebuilding of their development process.
On July 2nd, the projects Discord server was made available to the public. Before then, numerous cryptic tweets and gifs were posted on the projects Twitter account, ending with the reveal of character silhouettes, with some characters art being shown, similarly to how FusionFall Legacy teased included characters.
On July 5th, the first devblog for the rebranded RE:SPAWN was released. In the devblog, Poppleworks explains the early difficulties and exploits of the project, and apologizes for the confusing direction the project and its promotion was being taken in at that point in time. He released an official project mission statement, explained the role of the Orchid Bay Historical Society in the project, revealed that Sonia, aka Numbuh 83 will be present in the game, along with showing her character art, and revealed the inclusion of OK K.O.'s Pow Cards, which will serve as a way to easily introduce CN characters to those who may be unfamiliar with them, using Sonia's as an example. The devblog ends with the reveal of a new logo for the game.
On July 15th, the projects Twitter account tweeted a picture of Pickle Rick and a player model in FusionFall RE:SPAWN by what seems to be an ocean in the game.
Following tensions within the development team during a period of low activity, Poppleworks and another team member came to a head over the game's scope, despite Popple agreeing to compromise ideas for the sake of development. When that team member threatened to leave under Popple's leadership, Popple decided to leave the development team himself and focus on real-life endeavors. On September 26th, it was announced via the projects Twitter account that Poppleworks would be leaving the team due to creative differences. This resulted in Benbolt, the then co-lead, to become the lead of the project, and for the project to go into another hiatus in order to re-organize and determine its new direction. Poppleworks then started a twitter account dedicated to sharing info on his original plans for RE:SPAWN that the current team has decided to reject.
At sometime before this, there was a demo of the game being developed.
On October 10th, a new temporary Halloween banner was added to the projects Discord server. It has revised art of characters from the original game, and some new art, such as art of a Courage Nano, and Alan from The Amazing World of Gumball. It also includes a silhouette of King Ramses from Courage the Cowardly Dog.
On November 8th, Jordan Mistical, a member of the development team, had a Twitch stream where they answered questions about the game and did world building for it, which was the first time in-depth footage of the game was ever shown. One of the topics covered was the change in direction the project has undergone, which resulted in the projects scope being reduced to being more of a remaster of the original game with some new elements rather than a fully-fledged remake.
On December 13th, 2021, it was announced via the projects Discord server and Twitter that the game had ceased production due to the development team not having the time or skill to continue development.
|“||“Hello @everyone , Ben here (obviously) with unfortunate news for everyone here. For the past year and a half, I have been apart of this game dev group, working along side very talented individuals whom I have come to considered friends over the past few months. We've been through some really tough and stressful times with two changes in leadership and the resulting backlash and exhaustion that came from it. Over the past few months specifically, ReSpawn development slowed down exponentially and as a result, ReSpawn is officially ceasing production. This was not an easy decision, but after seeing how development has, well, developed, I decided it was better this way as the team in it's current state is unable to find the help we need and unable to give the attention it needs and I do not want to give you all false hope of a game project that, in all actuality, has a small chance to actually happen. I apologize to you all for being the bearer of bad news today, but I fully encourage you to support the other Fusionfall projects out there like OpenFusion, Retrobution, and the upcoming Worlds Collide (New name currently pending) Please do not send out hate to anyone on this team, or on any other FusionFall fan project as no one individual is at fault here. I wish you all the best and Happy Holidays.”||”|
– Benbolt, FusionFall RE:SPAWN Discord Server Announcments Channel
A link to a very early and unstable build of the game has been provided by Jordan (Link). On the same day, Jordan Mistical did a Twitch stream in the games Unity dev file.
The developers have since shared info and images pertaining to what was planned for the game at various stages of its development via the projects Discord server and their Twitter accounts.
Differences from FusionFall
The game was going to be made from the ground up using a newer version of the Unity engine. The games direction and content changed wildly during development, here are many diffrerences that were presant at one point in its development.
- The demo was going to take place in a brand-new area.
- Multiple teasers pointed towards cold weather.
- Some elements of FusionFall Legacy would've been incorporated into the game, but the majority of the project would've consisted of elements unique to FusionFall RE:SPAWN.
- Many new and old areas would've appeared in the game, such as the Tower of the Three Blind Archers.
- Areas were going to be more detailed, and would've focused on environmental storytelling.
- The code system would've received an overhaul, and add permanent costumes for Nanos to wear.
- Some Nanos would've had special details that could be enabled and disabled.
- Some characters from the original game who had smaller roles would've been more involved with the plot of FusionFall RE:SPAWN.
- Relationships between characters would've been more pronounced and important to the games plot.
- Mission-giving characters would've had missions that would be more themed around the character giving the mission.
- New fusion monsters and enemies would've been be introduced.
- New characters would've been introduced, such as Uncle Grandpa.
- The Future area of the game would've received quite a few alterations.
- The game's tone and story would've been more mature than the original in some places, but not more mature than the themes shown in Cartoon Network's programming.
- Combat would've been improved to be more advanced.
- Pow Cards from OK K.O.! Let's Be Heroes would've been in the game, and would function as collectable short bios for characters when they are first encountered at the proper point in the story.
Twitter & Discord Promotions
- The Tower of the Three Blind Archers is a reference to the Samurai Jack episode “Jack and the Three Blind Archers”, where Jack did battle with the archers and freed them from the curse that Aku had put upon them by using the Well of King Ozric.