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Homefront – multiplayer preview and developer interview with Kaos Studios

Wednesday, 6 October 2010 14:00 GMT By Adam Hartley

homefront

Kaos Studios’ Homefront was one of the more pleasant surprises from US publisher THQ at E3 earlier this year. A genuinely intriguing new wargaming IP to take on the might of Activision’s Call of Duty franchise. Whether or not there is room in this crowded market for a game of this ambition and magnitude remains to be seen. Homefront releases next March on PS3, Xbox 360 and PC.

VG247 was treated to a first-look at two of the game’s multiplayer levels at a preview event in London recently, with a bunch of genuinely innovative new features revealed.

We also managed to grab a one-to-one chat with Kaos Studio’s community manager to find out a little more about the background to some of these new multiplayer elements, such as Battle Points and Ground Control. And to quiz him a bit more about the background behind the game’s barking mad storyline, in which a pan-Asian mega-army lead by North Korea takes over America in the near future…

Firstly, you will most likely already be familiar with some of Kaos’ past games such as Frontlines: Fuel of War or the Desert Combat mod for Battlefield: 1942. Both of which stands them in good stead for producing a solid multiplayer war-gaming experience.

The two multiplayer levels we were introduced to last month successfully showed off the many elements to the game, with a close-knit infantry and drone-heavy battle in an eerily-quiet typically all-American suburb followed by a more vehicular-heavy clash in and around a farm-based level. Homefront seems to tick all the right boxes, for anybody who wants fast-paced future-war multiplayer action (and who, for whatever reasons, doesn’t want to play Call of Duty!). There are two new features that Kaos has introduced on top of all the usual stuff that the devs hope will really make Homefront stand out from the many other similar-looking experiences already on offer.

The first one is called Battle Points, with players receiving extra BP for killing the enemy and for helping their own team by capturing locations or by strategically assisting team-mates to take down opponents. Battle Points also promote closer team-work in the game. The more BP you accrue, the bigger and better weapons you can buy – so the key is not to blow it all as soon as you get it, but to try to save as much as you can. And then buy yourself a massive tank or an apache helicopter and blow the whole level to kingdom come!

Kaos also unveiled a new Ground Control mode, which generates three capture points on the map and – once either team has captured these – spawns three new capture points in different areas. It’s an ingenious way of keeping things fresh.

Overall, the sensation you take away from the initial encounter with Homefront multiplayer is that it is incredibly fast, with fluid, frenetic gameplay that the developer’s claim will always be changing and new enough to never get boring or samey. There are a few balancing issues that need to be sorted out with the driving controls (which were way too difficult) and the graphics obviously need a lot of work, but this is a game at pre-alpha level in development, so all of that is pretty much par for the course.

So after a brief stint of getting my arse kicked into touch on the two multiplayer levels on show – the all-American suburb and the farm-based levels – I managed to speak to Jeremy Greiner, Community Manager for Kaos Studios and Homefront to find out a little bit more about why Kaos and THQ think they have something particularly new and special for multiplayer war-gaming fans with Homefront.

VG247: Homefront was something of a surprise hit at E3 2010. The game came from out of the blue for a lot of people. Why do you think that was?

Jeremy Greiner: Well I think that THQ is fully committed to putting out a triple-A blockbuster experience with Homefront, both with the single-player game and the multi-player experience. We showed the first slice of Homefront single-player on console at E3, and, subsequently, on PC at Gamescom in Germany. And it was, I think, wholeheartedly successful because we sold our universe well.

We have this resistance fighting mentality in occupied America, right? The E3 demo – which was called Oasis – was a level which showed you the universe and showed you the human cost of war. It showed you what people were going through to survive. Most importantly, not a single bullet was fired in that level. And the response that we got from showing that first level was phenomenal. People just got it. They got the immersion, they got the universe, they got the story. I mean, if they didn’t get it, that would have been a pretty boring level right, with no bullets fired!?

And then the next level we showed was called Malice, which gives you the killer fps action that everybody is looking for, with great cinematics, great fire-power, lots of cool gunfights and so on. So I think it was because we delivered on both elements of the single-player story and the gameplay with that E3 demo that was why it lived up to the billing and, in fact, probably exceeded it.

The game was soon being likened – somewhat obviously – to the Call of Duty series. But there have also been mentions and comparisons with a number of other massive triple-A classics such as Half Life.

Greiner: Honesty, you know, we’re more than happy to be mentioned in the same sentence as those killer IPs out there! Homefront right now is a first run. But we are fully dedicated to delivering that triple-A quality experience. So it’s good that we’re mentioned in that light.

So to talk a little bit more about the multiplayer experience, which we’ve had our first taster of today, the introduction of Battle Points seems to be a key element or feature.

Greiner: Yeah. In any production, or pre-production process, you go through the design phase and you look at various options and ideas for what you think might work as cool features. A lot of them get dropped and don’t live up to the billing. Some of them do live up to the billing. And very rarely does a feature actually exceed expectations. Battle Points did. And this is because it delivers on three major principles that show through in gameplay.

Firstly, escalating intensity. We don’t start out with vehicles spawning on the map, so players have to save their Battle Points in order to buy something – so they might choose to buy a small drone earlier on in the round, or save up their points in order to buy an Apache or a larger vehicle later on in the round and reign havoc from above – so that falls into the ‘save or spend’ type strategy. You cannot buy anything straight off the bat, which gives the action in the multiplayer game a natural tendency to build and build and build and build, as players purchase bigger and better vehicles. And then what happens is that as both teams develop and obtain more and you have multiple air-to-air battles, air-to-ground battles – all with infantry mixed in. So Battle Points lends itself well to many aspects of the multiplayer gameplay.

It is a big win for gamers, because it also promotes team-play. A lot of the time – and specifically in our genre – you are rewarded for individual accomplishments. Whereas with Battle Points you are rewarded for team accomplishments. So a guy doesn’t necessarily have to be the best player and roll-up a ten-kill streak in order to have access to all the great weapons and vehicles that we have. He can instead concentrate on helping his team achieve their objectives, and earn Battle Points in that way.

In addition to Battle Points, what would you say are the other key features of Homefront multiplayer?

Greiner: We also showed off our Ground Control game mode today, which helps to generate a dynamic map and promote a dynamic multiplayer experience. It’s not static in any way. A lot of the time you get combat fatigue in a game, right? You are always in the same area and you kind of do the same things out of the gate each time around. In Homefront, because of the spawning vehicle system, along with Battle Points and Ground Control, you are always doing something new and different.

The concept of Ground Control is that there are multiple points on a map in a line, which you start oppositely on, on either team. So it is not that usual ‘A, C tug of war for B’ scenario, because if you spawn on either side it is more cyclical. It is more like a merry-go-round. And it is quite subtle and not something that you might have noticed immediately when you were playing, but you never feel like you are holding one point. And what happens is, as the team accrues points and hits the limit they win the round and then that line of capture points moves to another place on the map.

So that goes back to the combat fatigue. You don’t get it with Ground Control, because you move to a new place on the map which has different sightlines, different cover points and so on and makes you play completely differently. So on the farm level, for instance, which starts out in the wide open – as that line moves it goes into an industrial area which is much better for infantry combat and smaller drones and so on.

So we have seen that typically all-American suburb level and the farm-based level today – what other types of environments are we likely to see in Homefront multiplayer?

Greiner: So multiplayer will go hand-in-hand with our single-player storyline and our Homefront universe. You will see a lot of ‘the familiar becoming alien’ in our maps. You will see a lot of urban and suburban city environments. Today we picked this particular slice to pretty much introduce you to it, as it is a good way of introducing you to the infantry controls, the Battle Point system and the drones in the game. And then we showed you the farm level, which is that epic vehicular warfare that everybody expects out of Kaos.

The storyline is obviously a major aspect to Homefront – to the single-player game especially – can you tell us more about the background to the concept and how the idea was developed into the final story?

Greiner: Our creative director Dave Votypka originally had the high-level concept for Homefront. Dave asked a colleague at THQ if he could help him develop the creative process and he was referred to – and asked if he would like to work with – John Milius. And he was like, “err, yeah!” [John Milius, for those that don’t know, is a leading Hollywood screenwriter, who wrote Conan The Barbarian, Apocalypse Now, Red Dawn and too many other modern classics to list here].

So those two worked together. And then in order to build our future history to work as best as it could with the overall scenario, asking “what if X, Y or Z happened?”, we enlisted a CIA operative to help sculpt and develop that future history/what if scenario. So what we have done is to put together a sequence of events that, while not probable, are still plausible – and that is why everybody is so immersed in it and it actually lends itself really well to other mediums in addition to gaming, so we have a lot of ideas on that front. Watch out for some big announcements on that soon.

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3 Comments

  1. Crysis

    Great interview & impressions, keep it up VG247!

    #1 5 years ago
  2. LordCancer

    I’m sorry but if the writer of this article can not think of any reason why one might not want to play the trash that is a call of duty game then hes a mindless baboon.

    look final fantasy sucks too so when you write about a game try and leave the lame ass comments comparing the lamest over hyped garbage on the market out.

    you stupid fucking games journalist who suck off the supposed best games ever and nothing else compares articles are why every game now has to play like call of duty. its why the jrpg died because you stupid reviewers hyped up the lamest most contrite shit and sell it as the greatest package on earth.

    you know what go fuck yourself.

    #2 5 years ago
  3. LOLshock94

    @2 u have a very good point

    #3 5 years ago

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    Evolve’s fourth monster, the Behemoth, as well as the four new hunters are shown off in new gameplay video. Evolve’s latest gameplay trailer gives everyone a good look at each of the four new hunters and the massive Behemoth monster. The hunters can be bought either separately or though the hunting pass, while the monster […]

  • PS4 firmware update 2.50 causing issues with Killzone: Shadow Fall

    The suspend/resume feature in PlayStation 4′s 2.50 firmware update is causing some issues with Killzone: Shadow Fall. Killzone: Shadow Fall developer Guerrilla has said that the game is experiencing some issues in some instance where the suspend/resume feature is used. The timing of when players put the game in suspend mode does have an effect, […]

  • Bungie on Destiny matchmaking: “We believe there’s no substitute for a pre-made team”

    Crazy though this may seem, it’s possible that Destiny shipped according to plan. History points to community as a crucial component, far from the contingency that many now suspect. Paul Davies spoke to Bungie for clarity. “The community always engineers the best solutions for bringing players together. While Matchmaking is a great resource for introducing […]

  • Bloodborne works with suspend/resume, but only offline

    PlayStation 4′s newly-added suspend/resume feature works with Bloodborne as you’d expect, but only while offline. PlayStation 4 received the long-awaited suspend/resume feature today as part of firmware 2.50, and people are starting to test it out with various games. Bloodborne does work with the feature, but only if you play offline. Playing online is arguably […]

  • This is what Crossy Road looks like in first-person

    Crossy Road is fun and addictive. But in first-person, it’s mostly frightening. YouTube user Andy Front Films likes Crossy Road so much he decided to show off what it would look like in first-person. If crossing roads quickly and watching around for cars and trains, all of this as the camera chases you felt intense […]

  • Take a small behind-the-scenes peek at Mass Effect 4

    BioWare cinematic director Ken Thain has given us a very slim look behind the scenes at some motion capture work from the upcoming Mass Effect game. The upcoming Mass Effect game, whether it ends up being called Mass Effect 4 or not, will most definitely incorporate some form of motion capture work. How do we […]

  • Borderlands: The Handsome Collection – 8GB day one patch on PS4, 16GB on Xbox One

    Day one patches for Borderlands: The Handsome Collection are pretty hefty. Both the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions of Borderlands: The Handsome Collection require players to download lots of gigabytes to make the experience as smooth as possible. The PlayStation 4 version has an 8.31GB day one patch. The Xbox One version however has […]

  • Get a PlayStation 4 with Bloodborne and The Last of Us for $435

    If you’ve been waiting for the perfect game to get to buy a PlayStation 4, there’s no better time than the present. Amazon is offering a good PlayStation 4 bundle at the moment. For $434.99, you get a PlayStation 4 console, The Last of Us, and Bloodborne. The Last of Us is of course the […]

  • Upcoming Battlefield Hardline patch to nerf the K10, buff battle rifles

    Battlefield Hardline’s first patch will focus on weapon balance and a few changes have been proposed. Battlefield Hardline lead multiplayer designer Thaddeus Sasser posted a few of the balance changes that the team is considering for the next patch. K10: reduce bullet damage to 33 Saiga and PTR: reduce recoil to bring more in line […]

  • Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 and a new Resident Evil game coming this year, according to research firm

    According to digital games analyst SuperData, a new Resident Evil game is due this fall and that this year’s Call of Duty is Black Ops 3. In its latest report on digital console games, research and analytics firm SuperData revealed that a new Resident Evil is coming this fall. “We anticipate this month’s downturn to […]

  • Bloodborne: you can add gestures to your messages

    As players get deeper into Bloodborne, they keep uncovering so many of its little new additions, including this one. Bloodborne, like all of the Souls games before it, allows players to leave messages for other players. These messages could be used to point players towards impending doom, treasure, or just be sarcastic and witty. What […]

  • PlayStation 4 firmware update 2.50 is now live

    PlayStation 4 firmware update version 2.50 has started rolling out. Reports are coming in saying that Yukimura, PlayStation 4′s firmware 2.50 has been made available to download. The update is clocking in at just 245mb, so get downloading. 2.50 brings with it many new additions, including the suspend/resume feature, backup and restore, accessibility options and […]

  • Harley Quinn DLC for Batman: Arkham Knight is a prequel

    Batman: Arkham Knight’s Harley Quinn pre-order DLC is set before the events of the main game, according to Amazon’s description. Today we learned a few details about the pre-order DLC for Batman: Arkham Knight, namely the Harley Quinn one. According to the description on Amazon, the DLC takes place in the lead-up to the events […]

  • Bloodborne Vicar Amelia summon mystery solved

    Bloodborne players unable to summon near Vicar Amelia: here’s your solution. Bloodborne’s secrets are unfolding by the hour as clever players piece together From Software’s cunning design. Yesterday we reported problems summoning in the Cathedral Ward, before the Vicar Amelia boss fight. It turns out this isn’t a bug – or if it is, it’s […]

  • Steven Spielberg will direct film adaption of Ready Player One

    Steven Spielberg will direct the film adaption of the sci-fi, virtual world, video game themed novel Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. Warner Bros. bought the rights to the film in June 2010 and hired screenwriter Zak Penn to rewrite the previous draft written by Eric Eason, according to Deadline. The book takes place in […]

  • Bloodborne players with PS4 headsets shouldn’t forget about the custom audio

    Here’s a friendly reminder for Bloodborne players with PS4 headsets: be sure to download the Headset Companion App from the PlayStation store if you haven’t already. As previously reported, the game supports a custom Bloodborne audio mode which can be uploaded. It contains custom audio created by developers specifically tuned to enhance the audio. This […]

  • EA explains why FIFA Ultimate Team transfer prices are now platform specific

    EA has posted a blog entry explaining its FIFA Ultimate Team transfer market price ranges which now include platform-specific pricing in order to best the coin sellers. EA said it has implemented the changes to FUT over the last several weeks because it should be “fair and fun for every player,” ultimately coming to the […]

  • Game of Thrones: Episode 3 – The Sword in the Darkness now available

    In case you forgot, Game of Thrones: Episode 3 – The Sword in the Darkness was released today. It is available on Mac, PC, PlayStation 3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One. The third episode releases on iOS devices and Android tomorrow, March 26. The Sword in the Darkness finds Asher Forrester heading to Mereen […]

  • Bloodborne players are already documenting their crazy antics

    Bloodborne has been available for almost two days now in North America, and already players are posting interesting clips and character customization choices for the game. Below are interesting takes on creating a character and videos of a frustrating death and another full of blood coming from a very painful place – monster or not. […]

  • FIFA Ultimate Team celebrates sixth year in existence with giveaways

    FIFA Ultimate Team is celebrating its sixth year in existence with special events running from today until March 29. According to EA, every FUT fan will be handed one free pack every day, and those who play at least one match in the FUT Birthday Cup will have a chance to win rare “tradable In-Forms” […]

  • Halo Online is a F2P PC game in development exclusively for Russia – video

    Halo Online is a free-to-play game which will launch this spring in Russia, and is in development with Saber Interactive. According the reveal event attended by IGN Russia, the game was designed to run well on lower-end PCs and runs on a modified Halo 3 engine. The game is set on a secret UNSC space […]

  • SteamWorld Dig Xbox One release expected in late May

    SteamWorld Dig is coming to Xbox One, developer Image & Form has announced. A firm release date hasn’t been announced, but the studio expects the title to arrive on the system in late May. “We’re preparing quite an elaborate Easter egg for the Xbox One version – a gaming thing that we really wanted to […]

  • SMITE celebrating first anniversary with a sale on skins, Ultimate God Pack

    Hi-Rez Studios is celebrating the first anniversary of SMITE with a sale. From today through Friday, March 27, the Ultimate God Pack, which includes all current and future Gods, will run you $19.99. Alll individual pre-launch skins are 50% off, and all Gem Packs will award bonus gems. In addition, from March 27-29, all SMITE […]

  • Borderlands 2 has sold around 12 million copies, says Gearbox

    Speaking with Microsoft’s Major Nelson in his podcast, Gearbox Software boss Randy Pitchford stated Borderlands 2 has sold somewhere around the 12 million mark. As of August 2014, it was announced by Take-Two in its financial report the 2012 game had sold-in 10 million units. Pitchford noted in the podcast he learned of the figures […]

  • Broken Age releasing on PS4 and Vita same day as Act 2 on PC

    Double Fine Productions has announced it will release Broken Age on the PlayStation Store next month. Act 2 will also be released on PC. The full Broken Age adventure will release on PlayStation 4 and Vita on April 28 in North America and April 29 in Europe. It features cross-buy and cross-save. Broken Age Act […]

  • Star Citizen earned another $1 million within two weeks – total hits $76 million

    Star Citizen continues its funding streak with backers pumping another $1 million into the game’s development in the last two weeks. The total earned for the space sim has now reached $76 million ($76,015,532 to be exact) with 851,395 backers contributing to the staggering figure. Star Citizen’s latest update was version 1.1 which included two […]

  • Final Fantasy Type-0 HD, Resident Evil Revelations 2 and Battlefield: Hardline top Media Create charts

    Final Fantasy Type-0 HD, Resident Evil Revelations 2 and Battlefield: Hardline were the big ticket debuts during the March 16-2 period in Japan, with each game claiming the top three slots on the Media Create charts, respectively. Final Fantasy Type-0 HD moved 92,094 on PlayStation 4, while Resident Evil Revelations 2 moved 73,373 units on […]

  • You can now learn English or Spanish on Xbox One with the Rosetta App

    Want to learn English or Spanish? Rosetta Stone has an App for that on Xbox One. According to the language teaching firm, Rosetta Stone’s Discover Languages, the new application teaches English and Spanish by way of immersive simulation. Users will virtually travel to learn vocabulary and grammar “necessary for real-world interactions.” Here’s how it works: […]

  • PayDay 2 and PayDay: The Heist have sold over 9 million units combined

    The PayDay franchise is a lucrative IP for Starbreeze and Overkill, as both games combined have sold over 9 million copies as of November 2014. The company has also sold over 8 million paid DLC packages since PayDay 2 was released in 2013 (via NeoGAF). In its Q2 half year report issued in February, net […]

  • Nintendo wants to “surprise” customers with NX, not expand upon existing hardware

    Nintendo president Satoru Iwata has firm wants to “surprise” players with its new NX system. Speaking in an interview with Nikkei, translated by Kotaku, Iwata wouldn’t go into details on the new system, but stated expanding on a current gaming system would be “dull.” “In the past few years, the idea of what [encompasses] a […]

  • Kojima Station show suspended

    In another episode in the the ongoing kerfuffle between Hideo Kojima and Konami, the publisher has suspended the Kojima Station web show. Recent tweets from the newly created Japanese Metal Gear Solid account confirm that Kojima Station will not be broadcast tomorrow, but would not provide a date for the next episode. The Tweets were […]

  • Watch Battle Royale for free this weekend on Xbox Live

    Square Enix is celebrating the launch of Final Fantasy Type-0 HD by offering Xbox Live members in the UK a free rental of Battle Royale. Starting Saturday, March 28 and through Sunday, March 29, Xbox Live members in the UK will be able to rent Battle Royale through the Xbox Video Store, for free. The […]

  • Bloodborne journal, part 1: managing anxiety on the path to the Cleric Beast

    Bloodborne is both like and unlike the Souls games. Brenna descends into Yharnam with reluctance and trepidation. Need help succeeding in Bloodborne? You need our Bloodborne walkthrough and boss guide. Bloodborne isn’t Demon’s Souls or Dark Souls. Let’s get that out of the way right off. I enjoyed both Dark Souls games, but it was […]