Red Faction is a 2001 video game developed by Volition and published by THQ. The first game in the series, Red Faction and its associated promotional material established much of the characters, locations, and story elements that would later become evergreen to the series.
Red Faction is set in a dystopian future on Mars and revolves around a rebellion against the Ultor Corporation. The game unfolds in the year 2075, in a time when Earth's natural resources are depleted, and humans turn to the mining operations on Mars to meet their needs. The vast Ultor Corporation controls noachite mining operations on Mars, where miners are subjected to deplorable living conditions, few human rights, and a mysterious disease known as "The Plague" with no known cure.
The protagonist of the game is Parker, a miner who came to Mars seeking a new start, lured by the promises and advantages Ultor claimed to offer in the mines of Mars. However, the reality he encounters is far from the promised ideal. Miners endure aggressive treatment, cramped living conditions, and poor nutrition. The game begins with Parker witnessing a security guard abusing a miner at the end of his shift. The miner fights back, killing the security guard, which ignites the rebellion.
Parker becomes involved with the Red Faction, a group of miners led by Eos, rebelling against Ultor's tyranny. He is guided by Hendrix, a rebellious Ultor security technician, who helps him navigate through the complex series of mines and facilities. The game's narrative takes Parker through various stages of the uprising, from encountering resistance from Ultor forces to the kidnapping of Ultor deputy administrator Gryphon for the Red Faction.
The rebellion escalates with Parker and the Red Faction's encounters with Dr. Axel Capek, creator of The Plague. Capek had been experimenting with nanotechnology, and The Plague was a side-effect of injections given to miners during their annual medical checkups. In a climactic confrontation, Capek is defeated, but he dies without revealing the cure for The Plague.
The game culminates with Parker sending a distress call to the Earth Defense Force and destroying Ultor's missile defense system. This allows him to stow away on a shuttle to an Ultor space station in Martian orbit to deactivate a laser defense system. Upon his return to Mars, Parker confronts Masako, the leader of the mercenaries working for Ultor, and ultimately defeats her.
The arrival of the EDF signifies a turning point in the game, and by extension, the series. The EDF broadcasts that they have taken control of Mars and instructs all armed personnel to drop their weapons, threatening to shoot those who resist.