It’s been difficult to know what to expect from the currently in-development Homefront 2, the follow-up to THQ’s near-future shooter set in the Korean-occupied United States. Despite mixed responses to the original Homefront (which dropped the company’s stock 21%), the game sold well enough to guarantee a sequel. But in an interesting twist, the sequel wouldn’t be coming from the same studio, but Crytek UK instead.
When THQ declared bankruptcy and was forced to sell off its properties and studios to outside bidders, Crytek Studios snagged the rights to the Homefront name, claiming the fate of the sequel for themselves. A move that made sense, but as Crytek now explains, one that could result in more than a single release.
Previous comments from Crytek spoke to their optimism in the potential of Homefront‘s setting and story above all else. It’s hard to disagree that the plot behind the original Homefront was its strongest element, even if it wasn’t utilized as much as some had hoped. But following the purchase of the property, Crytek UK general manager Nick Button-Brown explained to VG24/7 that it was this optimism for the sequel that drove them to buy the rights themselves:
“The main reason we wanted to purchase the IP was because the game is coming along so well. The team in Crytek UK has put their heart and soul into the game, and the progress is great – [our] last milestone was excellent.
“The worst case scenario for us was that this situation meant that all that work just ended up being thrown into the bin, so we wanted to buy the IP to make sure the team can finish off the game they wish to make. But we always have and will believe in the potential of the IP. This is why we agreed to work on it in the first place, so it’s now beneficial for us to have control over the IP’s destiny.”
Bold promises aren’t exactly new for the sequel, as THQ had previously boasted that Crytek was taking the property to brand new heights, crafting an experience that was “5x the game” its predecessor was. For what it’s worth, Crytek is expecting Homefront 2 to turn some heads themselves, pairing a promising premise and core gameplay with the technical prowess and polish that gamers expect from the minds behind Crysis.
Unfortunately, Button-Brown confirmed that with Crytek fully in control of development from here on out, delays are to be expected. Homefront 2 had yet to receive a specific release date beyond the first half of 2014, so it’s anyone’s guess when the project will be completed. In this case, delays mean the developers want more time on the game prior to release, so take that as a promising sign for the finished experience.
On the bright side, that prolonged development doesn’t mean that details or updates will become less frequent. Despite THQ keeping the game relatively under wraps, Button-Brown sees a much more open and interactive relationship with fans in the studio’s future:
“Currently we are trying to get all the paperwork closed on this, but we would like to be a little more open than if we were working with a publisher… Also, right now we are talking about how we should and would like to work with the community, and we will try to let everyone know what we are doing as soon as we can.”
Certainly a mixed bag of good and bad news, but Crytek and THQ both consistently maintained that the publisher’s financial woes never impacted their work on Homefront 2. And given that most of our issues with that game stemmed from a technical standpoint and symptoms of cost-cutting (read our review), Crytek’s name definitely goes a long way in drawing us back; we’d imagine the same will be said for many other disappointed players.
What are your thoughts on Crytek taking over control of the game’s fate? Do you think delays and more publisher freedom is what this franchise needs, or is it a lost cause? Share your thoughts in the comments.
Homefront 2 is expected to release sometime in 2014.
Follow Andrew on Twitter @andrew_dyce.