It would be an understatement to say that the best thing that Homefront has going for it is its story. That's not to say that the other aspects of the game will fall short, but a shooter that sets the player into the role of an average American citizen tasked with taking arms against a Korean occupation is definitely something that will get a lot of people interested.
Previous developer diaries have shown just how important the story is to the game, and Kaos Studios have now revealed a few more details about the game's campaign, and how the open-world approach to Half-Life and Half-Life 2 are the biggest sources of inspiration for their campaign.
The multiplayer footage that the studio has shown so far shows that the online play will be including a fair amount of carnage, but the main campaign will be focusing on a much more visceral experience.
Homefront's last developer diary emphasized that the game's main priority will be to realistically portray the conflict between everyday resistance fighters and a modern military with superior weapons and equipment.
That all sounds like a good recipe for a satisfying shooter, and the gameplay videos definitely impressed, but if the experience turns out to be as scripted as other FPS's like Black Ops then many interested gamers could end up somewhat disappointed. As it turns out, Kaos is well aware that the key to delivering their story in the best way possible is by giving players a chance to find their own way through the narrative.
With a story from John Milius, writer of Red Dawn, Homefront will be building a world that has been crafted by people who know how to tell a compelling and familiar story. When speaking with CVG, Kaos' senior single player designer Zach Wilson explained that the team will be taking cues from Milius' previous work in crafting the game's narrative, and delivering an open-world experience along the lines of another somewhat successful game you might have heard of - Half-Life:
"Half-Life and Half-Life 2 are definitely the two big influences on the work that we've done...lot of first-person shooters don't just let you walk through the world and appreciate the world. That's something that Half-Life 2 does really well.
"In addition, we looked a lot at the work that John Milius did as an inspiration and we looked a lot at Children Of Men - which was a big inspiration thematically. I'm sure you can see that in parts of the game. We wanted to create a consistent world that is evocative and makes sense."
It's becoming more and more rare for a FPS to be anticipated more for its single player campaign than its online component, and thatcould certainly be true for Homefront. Since players will be getting their money's worth from the main story, Kaos has made sure that the experience is worth it, delivering a campaign that will take players at least 8 hours to complete.
As was the case with Valve's epics, the amount of time players will take to complete the game will fluctuate depending on how much time players want to spend in the game's world. Wilson revealed that even at this point in play-testing, differences in playing styles are starting to emerge:
"We've been play-testing the game and we'll give the guys doing that the entire day...Some of them will get through it in eight hours, some of them will take longer than eight hours. There's a varying level of challenge depending on the skill of the player.
"We've honestly seen players take more than an entire day play through the single-player campaign, sitting down and not doing anything else."
Promising glimpses of gameplay, a compelling story from the scribe of Apocalypse Now, and influences from two of the greatest PC games of all time is a great way to build a video game, and even more of a reason to think that Homefront could be a brand new chapter in first-person shooters.
THQ is taking a smart move with Homefront. While other publishers or developers are trying to get in on Activision's party by competing with Call of Duty, THQ and Kaos are simply going their own direction. Hopefully their efforts will be rewarded when the game is released later this year, and for those who pick up the Xbox 360 version of the game, there will even be a few perks.
We'll get our chance to walk through Homefront at our own pace when it's released on March 8, for the Xbox 360, PS3, and PC.