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Homefront - Xbox 360

  • Publisher: THQ
  • Genre:Shooter
  • Developer: Kaos Studios
  • Release Date:Mar 15, 2011
  • # of Players:1 player, 32 online
  • ESRB:M - Mature (Blood, Strong Language, Violence)
  • Platforms:
Game Description: Homefront is a controversial game ten years following the economic collapse of the United States. North Korea has set in place an occupational force where you join the resistance and reclaim your homeland.
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E3 2010: Homefront Preview
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Article_71038

E3 2010: Homefront Preview

By Harold Goldberg - Posted Jun 11, 2010

What We Already Know:

At the Director’s Guild Theater in Manhattan more than 50 members of the mostly European gaming press listened to THQ’s vice president of core games Danny Bilson pose this weird scenario. What would happen if North Korea invaded the U.S. in 2027? Poor, isolated, embargoed-to-the-max North Korea? Such is the seemingly unbelievable trope within New York-based Kaos Studios’ Homefront, a first-person shooter which will be released early next year.

 

What We're Seeing Now:

In a brief interview, Kaos design director David Votypka said that Bilson brought to the project one of the finest storytellers from the film industry, Apocalyspe Now writer John Milius. Milius fleshed out the story, cut-scenes and scenarios that the studio has been working on for three years now. “He sees how games have progressed since he worked on Medal of Honor: European Assault. And he likes what he sees.” Right now, the result seems to be a human drama within a tightly-produced FPS that moves forward with the varied human emotion of Heavy Rain or Red Dead Redemption.

But there’s still that pesky suspension of disbelief. How could North Korea bring a country as influential and powerful as the U.S. to its knees? At first blush, that’s about as implausible as a game like this causing an international crisis between the U.S. and North Korea. To explain the story, THQ’s consultant and Southeast Asian expert Tae Kim was brought onstage and a slideshow commenced.

Homefront

Here’s how Kim explained the great rise of the small communist country. First, North Korea, through Kim Jong Il’s charismatic son, convinces the South to become one united Korea again in the name of peace. Strengthened by a more agile armed force, Korea annexes Japan. Soon, much of Southeast Asia becomes part of the Korean empire. As the fictional scenario progresses, a satellite-enabled electromagnetic pulse disables communication for much of the United States.

Using a classic Trojan Horse ploy, massive cargo ships supposedly bearing tens of thousands of U.S. nationals -- long imprisoned throughout Southeast Asia -- arrive on the West Coast. As the ships are embraced with open arms on these shores, out march the Koreans to take over San Francisco. To make matters worse, the U.S. is felled by a massive flu epidemic which kills millions, so much so that the population in 2027 is less than it is today.

Homefront

There's every reason to be skeptical of the logic behind these events. Thankfully, the proof was in the pudding. When chapter two of the single-player game was demoed, there were three important moments that led me to believe their scenario wasn’t as far-fetched as it first sounded.

In Homefront you meet a macho character somewhat like Sarge in Halo. Yes, you wonder if you’re in for another clichéd melodrama where story isn’t important -- especially when he spews the worn-out “Failure is not an option.” But there’s a hint that there’s more depth to him in the coming chapters. And when you see the stalwart Rianna, who starts out as a tough military gal, completely break down during the fog of war, you feel you’re meeting characters that you might not be able to easily stereotype. 

Another reason this world could work is that there’s a subplot off the grid, in a small, dingy home and yard. A dusty pinwheel weakly spins in the breeze. A cranky, paranoid cuss believes you plan to steal his goats. Two innocent kids sleep fitfully by the fireplace.

Homefront

Plus, the raging fire in a Lumber Liquidators and Hooters parking lot due to a massive phosphorous weapon is a scene of awesome terror. You believe in the danger of this blaze in the same way you believe the fire upon the black water outside of the downed plane at the beginning of BioShock. Here’s where shooting makes sense, not just to up your score and finish the level, but to protect yourself and your friends. In other words, there’s an emotional need here beyond the yearning to see who’s going to shoot at you next.

How do you know this will work? You don’t -- yet. What game companies do that film and music companies don’t often do is to tease you mercilessly with snippets along the way during the production cycle. If you saw the Homefront demo at E3 last year, you thought this game might be something. And if you saw the demo at the Director’s Guild Theater, you would be more confident in saying the game looks great and just might play very nicely. One nice detail was with the weapons, in that they might not always work perfectly when picked up. To give the weapons a real-world feel, a scope atop a long-used gun might have a crack in it, for instance.

Homefront

Even though Kaos’ demo was unplayable by the press, there is something about the plot setup that sticks with you. When you see those ragamuffins in sleeping bags snuggling by the fire, you just know there’s going to be an engaging mission where you have to protect their lives. Even more important than the single-player campaign is multiplayer, which was notably absent from the event. That’s another significant snippet to be divulged later. All Votypka would say is, “There is a very fractured U.S. government and military in the year 2027. That’s explored in the multiplayer games.”

So there are some big "ifs." If, once you get your hands on Homefront, the gameplay is tight and the characters and shooting feel real, and if they can make the multiplayer aspect equally engaging and human as the single-player game, THQ just might have themselves a winner. The Call of Duty space is one that’s saturated with games, but THQ certainly believes in Homefront as one of their biggest releases for next year -- and perhaps beyond. They’re already planning downloadable content and a sequel.

Harold Goldberg is writing All Your Base Are Belong To Us, How 50 Years of Videogames Conquered Pop Culture, for Random House, due out in February, 2011.

Comments are Closed

  • R34P3Rx3L1T3x

    dis looks like sumfin to look out for

    Posted: June 12, 2010 12:11 PM
  • fallout2077

    0.0 awesome

    Posted: June 12, 2010 10:32 AM
    fallout2077
  • Mjtny73

    lol i know its just fiction but seeing games like this makes me seriously rethink the size of my real life arsenal...hell i bought an ar-15 and an m9 after playing mw2...thank god i live in the great redneck state of georgia where the only thing required to buy a gun is an id and a 2 minute phone call!

    Posted: June 12, 2010 12:48 AM
    Mjtny73
  • StayPuftGiant

    Hopefully my dreams of a Red Dawn video game can come to realization, and I'm not just talking about the combat, I want the whole shebang. That includes the walking into town just to sabotage some communication mechanism only to walk back out and go to the General Store to see the crap hit the fan.

    Posted: June 11, 2010 9:32 PM
    StayPuftGiant
  • Lacking_Fractal

    This is a trailer for a videogame, right?

    Posted: June 11, 2010 6:53 PM
    Lacking_Fractal
  • minianthony93

    What you're all forgetting is that if North Korea joined with South Korea, the North would have access all of the South's advanced technology and AMERICAN made weaponry. Plus if they first invade in 2027, then they have 17 years to advance their economy and army.

    Posted: June 11, 2010 4:19 PM
    minianthony93
  • marcusdjackson

    if the game play, is there this will be sweet, but the trailer is alittle haunting. this could happen although not likly. northkorea would be crush before they made it that far

    Posted: June 11, 2010 2:33 PM
  • Zntrip

    When I first heard about this game I got the sense that the developer and publisher were trying to cash in on the Red Dawn remake which comes out later this year. In the remake China (not the USSR) invades the United States.

    Aside from that, a scenario in which North Korea invades the United States is simply comical. There is no way North Korea would be able to pull of the logistical and technological achievements necessary to take over East Asia and invade North America -- even if it reunited with the South and had twenty years to plan it.

    Posted: June 11, 2010 2:13 PM
    Zntrip
  • Luck702

    @Revshawn, dude, its a f#$%^ing videogame. chill.

    Posted: June 11, 2010 1:47 PM
    Luck702
  • uber_gibson_player

    How is this game not gonna tick off N Korea?

    Seriously???

    I understood how they can have China invade us in the Fallout Universe, but basing this off of current events and even mentioning Kim Jong Il's death could piss off alot of people.

    Posted: June 11, 2010 1:16 PM
    uber_gibson_player
  • BlitzKriegx760x

    looks ok story sound amazing hopefully it not a fps only because we have so many of those for the xbox 360 like call of duty operation flash point rainbow six and much

    hopefully its a third person

    Posted: June 11, 2010 1:00 PM
  • Sector1286

    HOLY CRAP THIS SCARY I FELT LIKE IT WAS ACTUALLY HAPPENING. I GOT CHILLS IM DEF. GUNNA FOLLOW NEWS ABOUT THIS GAME.

    Posted: June 11, 2010 12:23 PM
    Sector1286
  • colinsilver105

    Not Another FPS. Jeezus! We have enough already.

    Posted: June 11, 2010 12:05 PM
    colinsilver105
  • EKG

    If this turns out well I will be pretty excited. Now, if THQ decides to charge extra fees for the multiplayer to people who buy it used I will be forced to find other ways of getting my hands on the entire game without paying THQ a dime. If they don't charge those ridiculous fees to people who buy it used then I will but it New.

    I can't support any game company who practices disgusting business tactics like that, and to show my support for gamers who are getting ripped off I will be forced to not pay a dime for the entire game and donwload it by other methods. (something I have never done before). I hope THQ realizes this, because there is a resistance growing against them, EA, and any other company who want's to charge these disgusting fees.

    Posted: June 11, 2010 11:50 AM
    EKG
  • samaside

    Maybe I'm the only one but I dig the patriotic romanticism of this game. I mean, imagine the imagery of standing on top of the slide on your kid's swing set with a set of binoculars or sniping from the tree house in backyard. There is something undeniably romantic about actually defending your own home and homeland that I feel like American's lose in a lot of video games.

    Granted, it's totally unrealistic. I've studied the North Korean situation extensively and I've lived and studied in Seoul, Korea. A resurgent Russia would have been more realistic, yes, but the Russians are so overdone. And they're trying to make it a little bit different than Red Dawn.

    Posted: June 11, 2010 11:10 AM
    samaside
  • fireball7483

    iTs funny how they say gas is about to surpass its 20$ mark

    Posted: June 11, 2010 11:02 AM
    fireball7483
  • gtrhtr

    Does Hillary Clinton's face have to be in this game? :(

    Posted: June 11, 2010 10:18 AM
    gtrhtr
  • spicypooptastic

    yes yes North korea and their 1950's tech army, lack of planes, lack of any good weaponry invade the US.

    Couldn't they find a more believable enemy? I mean if we went to war id be over in a weak and Kim Jong would be captured.

    Posted: June 11, 2010 10:15 AM
    spicypooptastic
  • Peragulator

    RevShawn: It's called fiction. Very fascinating thing it is. Try it. Of course your idea of enjoyment is "Economics 101". A new game by Ubisoft where you get to be a hedge fund manager and fight the good fight for a great cup of coffee.

    Posted: June 11, 2010 9:45 AM
    Peragulator
  • Doug Otto

    Great trailer. I'm keeping my eye on this.

    Posted: June 11, 2010 9:28 AM
    Doug+Otto
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