On the surface, Kaos Studios’ Homefront is a first person shooter set within the borders of the United States, but underneath it’s so much more than that. In a new developer diary, some members of Kaos’ team discuss the story, the characters, and some of the emotions they hope to instill in gamers. Homefront really is a one of a kind experience that could potentially change how gamers approach first person shooters in the future.
Though the idea might not be totally original, the “fully fleshed out resistance on the homeland” story has never been told quite like this. Using the idea of a resistance formed by the citizens of the U.S. drove the development team forward — serving as the inspiration for everything from the game's missions to its weapons.
One area that Homefront really shines is in its art direction. As is indicated by the diary, the development team worked hard to create moments that establish this game world as a familiar America, but one that has been struck by something horrible. Highways, churches, even supermarkets are fairly derivative mission locales, but in the context of this story and with war torn facades, they help inform the entire experience.
Another element that helps inform the experience is Homefront’s use of branding. While some games throw in clever nods to real life brands, Homefront uses recognizable locations like White Castle to establish these areas as places any one of us could be currently residing. It’s almost as if Kaos Studios wanted players to visualize their local landmarks as arenas for war.
See how many popular brands you can spot in the trailer below:
Most games use their missions and their gameplay in order to, in a sense, bring attention to the “fun” of war. By being able to dispatch enemies in creative ways, the player’s actions lose their contextual meaning and become more about completing a mission than really considering what is taking place. In Homefront, the developers want to take gamers through an experience they have never seen before, one where emotions enter the equation.
Through the story of Robert Jacobs and his fellow freedom fighters, players must consider the real world implications of the violence they are committing. Though, for the most part, the violence inflicted is in service to the resistance, it’s still violence against fellow man. By exploring this idea of what is senseless violence, Homefront challenges the notion of the first person shooter altogether.
Come March, gamers will be introduced to a first person shooter the likes of which they have never seen before. Fighting as a civilian against other civilians takes the experience to a whole new level, certainly one that is very intriguing. Homefront should be on everyone’s radar for 2011, and it’s certainly on our list.
Do you think that Homefront’s story and scenarios will coerce any emotion out of gamers? What types of real life establishments would you like to see Homefront utilize?
Homefront releases March 8, 2011, for the PS3, PC, and Xbox 360.