THQ and developer Kaos Studios’ Homefront – with its quasi-visionary premise and future-North Korean invasion stroyline that had shades of Red Dawn – was one of the darker military first-person shooters released in 2011.
But even though it almost succeeded in crafting real moments of poignancy within a quality FPS, our Homefront review noted how the second half of the the game became increasingly lackluster; its narrative essentially epitomized the developers themselves: an inspired, but ill-equipped-for-the-long-haul studio going up against then-gaming superpowers Call of Duty: Black Ops and EA’s Battlefield series.
Which is why, for Homefront 2, THQ decided they needed help. Financial struggles closed Kaos Studios in June of 2011, and so the publisher shipped development duties of Homefront 2 off to the UK branch of Crytek – the developer whose CryEngine technology has powered the Crysis series to markedly better critical success.
The game isn’t slated for a release until 2014, but in an interview with Games Industry, Danny Bilson, outgoing executive VP of THQ core games, sees the development switch as a revelation for Homefront 2′s future. He thinks it gives the IP more clout in the cutthroat FPS market:
“Not that [Homefront] wasn’t good, but you’re being compared to Call Of Duty and Battlefield, two of the best made games in the business.”
“So what do you do if you’re us and you’ve got this IP you believe in, you know you’ve got the fanbase, you’ve got a million ideas? How do you solve the problem? You go to a beloved developer that we believe can bring our execution up to the level of Call Of Duty and Battlefield with our incredible IP.”
To back his conviction, Bilson’s not just basing his statements on blind hope or sales pitches, either – he’s seen the work on Homefront 2 Crytek has already begun and thinks it’s “phenomenal”:
“the pre-production has been spectacular – I think it’s 5X the game we delivered before when it’s fully realized. And our idea was the consumers who may have been disappointed with some of the aspect of Homefront, with Crytek applied to it, it gives them confidence in the execution with a brand that seems to have a lot of appeal.”
With Kaos Studios having made bold promises before the release of Homefront and Crytek themselves hyping Homefront 2 in an equal fashion, it’s no surprise that Bilson, as well, would share sentiments of grandeur. Mediocre reviews scores or not, sales have shown that appeal was definitely a card the first installment had up its sleeve, and even if “5X the game” (a game that will be 3 years old in 2014) results reflected little more than some commingling of video games and Moore’s law, Homefront 2 should captivate its ardent fanbase on CryEngine 3′s visual vitality alone. That being said, a fleshed out multiplayer component will be crucial in keeping fans hooked after the 10-hour campaign.
Ranters, this isn’t the first time executives at THQ have compared the Homefront series to successful shooters like Call of Duty – do you find Bilson’s belief in the IP to be genuine? Should more developers be outspoken about the goals of their games and their place among competition?
Homefront 2 is in development for a 2014 release on the PS3, Xbox 360, Wii U, and PC. Next-generation consoles have also been hinted at.
Follow me on Twitter @Brian_Sipple.