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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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  • Mario Kart 8 DLC and Mewtwo for Super Smash Bros. headline eShop update in North America

    Nintendo has updated the North American end of the eShop with an update and new DLC for Mario Kart 8 and the Mewtwo DLC for Super Smash Bros. Other highlights include Mario Kart DS on Wii U Virtual Console, the continuation of International StreetPass Week and more. Full update is below. Nintendo eShop Mario Kart […]

  • Square Enix host E3 2015 conference this year on June 16

    With Final Fantasy 15, Rise of the Tomb Raider and Deus Ex: Mankind Divided on the horizon, it should come as no surprise to learn that Square Enix will be hosting a dedicated E3 2015 conference this year. The presentation will take place Tuesday, June 16 at 9am PDT/12pm EDT/5pm UK. It will be broadcast […]

  • Final Fantasy 4: The After Years 3D remake releasing on Steam next month

    Final Fantasy 4: The After Years has been given a makeover and will be released on Steam of PC next month. You can now pre-order it on Steam and take 10% off for the time being. The game will be released on the digital service May 12 and will include trading cards and achievements. Thanks, […]

  • This Project Cars video shows off the racer’s multiplayer

    Project Cars developer Slightly Mad has released a new video giving you a look at the game’s multiplayer. The game is out next month, and if you would like to refresh yourself on the tracks included,  give this a look. While you are clicking links, here’s the minimum and recommended PC specifications which dropped last […]

  • Looks like Logitech is getting out of OEM mouse production business [Clarification]

    Logitech will no longer produce “low-end” mice, citing a decline in PC accessories. This story has been updated to include a clarification. According to a Reuters report, per MCV, the firm will instead focus on video accessories and streaming music, as its wireless Bluetooth speakers are now its best-selling product rage. This will help offset […]

  • Win! We have 1,000 Heroes of the Storm beta keys to give away

    Must have more MOBA? Win one of our 1,000 Heroes of the Storm beta keys and see if you’re more Blizzard than LoL. Can’t wait for June 2? Of course you can’t. We have 1,000 closed beta keys for Heroes of the Storm to give away this week, allowing you access before Blizzard’s MOBA goes […]

  • Xenoblade Chronicles X Nintendo Direct airs tomorrow, April 24

    A Nintendo Direct devoted entirely to Xenoblade Chronicles X will air this Friday, April 24. The video showcase will start at 11am PDT/2pm EDT/7pm UK. After the showcase, a new Nintendo Treehouse: Live presentation featuring the game will air. This is the second Xenoblace Chronicles X Nintendo Direct, but the first in English. The first […]

  • Blizzard will have 500 game stations set up at gamescom 2015

    Blizzard is heading to gamescom 2015 in August and it will have 500 game stations set up for attendees to get their hands on five of its titles. The developer will be set up in Hall 7 and those who stop by will be able to get hands-on with the latest content for Heroes of […]

  • PS4 price cut to £299 in UK

    Sony has dropped the price of the PS4 in the UK. For a limited time only, you can grab the console for £299.99 from Argos, Game, Tesco and Very. Go to Amazon.co.uk and you’ll get it for £289. You’ve only got until April 28, then it goes back up to £349. Go, go, go. For […]

  • Mad Max: first ever gameplay footage revealed

    Today, we get to finally take our first look at gameplay from Mad Max. Avalanche and Warner Bros. have shown off the first gameplay trailer for Mad Max today. The trailer below offers a look at melee combat, car combat, customisation and much more. Give it a watch below: There are a few new screenshots […]

  • Overlord: Fellowship of Evil has four-player co-op like we figured

    Codemasters has pulled the veil back on the next Overlord game, and its a four-player co-op game called Overlord: Fellowship of Evil. Rhianna Pratchett is back to write the story. The game may be co-op at its core, but it can still be played single-player. Each of the four playable character have strengths and weaknesses, […]

  • Update now available for Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, Pokemon X and Y

    Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire along with Pokemon X and Y are being updated by Nintendo to fix a few bugs and in-game text. There’s also the possibility of a few hacks and exploits being fixed. Per Nintendo Life (via Serebii), both patches are 250-270 blocks in size, and it’s a mandatory update which […]

  • Side-scrolling cover shooter Not a Hero gets a demo

    Not a Hero, the upcoming game from OlliOlli developer Roll7, has received a demo. The demo for Not a Hero was made available today on Steam. In the game, you play as Steve, the campaign manager for BunnyLord. A time-travelling rabbit who’s running for mayor of London. Think this is an absurd premise? This trailer […]

  • You have until April 30 to export your Green Day: Rock Band tracks to Rock Band 3

    Harmonix has announced that those looking to export their song collection from Green Day: Rock Band into Rock Band 3 can only do so until the end of the month. April 30 will be the cutoff date for anyone who wants to export tracks from Green Day: Rock Band into their Rock Band 3 library, […]

  • Batman: Arkham Knight minimum, recommended, and ultra PC specs revealed

    Batman: Arkham Knight is looking like it’s going to be quite a taxing game. Nvidia has released a list of the minimum, recommended, and ultra PC requirements for Batman: Arkham Knight. Here’s the full thing: Minimum OS: Win 7 SP1, Win 8.1 (64-bit Operating System Required) Processor: Intel Core i5-750, 2.67 GHz | AMD Phenom […]

  • Bloodborne patch 1.03 is live, reduces loading times, fixes suspend/resume bugs, more

    Patch 1.03 is now live for Bloodborne. The patch reduces loading times, adds item descriptions to loading screens, and fixes other various bugs. From Software has pushed update 1.03 live to all Bloodborne owners. As promised, it reduces loading times by approximately 5 to 15 seconds. Another new addition is showing item descriptions instead of […]

  • Battlefield 4: first look at Community Map in action

    Get your first look at the map designed by the community of Battlefield 4. Battlefield 4′s community-designed map is a reality. DICE has recently updated CTE to include an early version of the map. It’s not fully textured as Westie is about to show you, but the layout is nearly finalised. Westie goes over the […]

  • Microsoft apologises for uploading misleading Witcher 3: Wild Hunt footage

    Xbox’s YouTube channel uploaded a video of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt yesterday that was captured from the PC build. The most recent gameplay video for the The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt appeared on the Xbox YouTube channel and showed a quest from the game’s opening section. A few minutes after it had gone live, […]

  • Assassin’s Creed creator’s new game is Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey

    Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey is the game Assassin’s Creed creator Patrice Desilets has been working on. Patrice Desilets has just announced that the next game his indie studio Panache Digital Games is making is called Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey. The announcement comes from Desilets’s keynote at the Reboot Develop event in Croatia. The trailer started […]

  • Bloodborne: Cathedral Ward closed door mystery solved

    The mystery of the locked door at the bottom of the Cathedral Ward in Bloodborne has been solved. Bloodborne, like earlier From Software games, is filled with doors that don’t open the first time you try them. Some will give you “locked” messages, others “does not open from this side”. Some of these will open […]

  • Assassin’s Creed creator Patrice Desilets is revealing his next game now [UPDATE: ended]

    Patrice Desilets, one of the original creators of Assassin’s Creed is hosting a presentation where he’s expected to talk about his next project. Patrice Desilets has emerged once again. This time he’s attending development conference in Croatia. Desilets is giving a live keynote and there’s a good chance we’re going to hear about his next […]

  • Destiny House of Wolves: everything you need to know about gear upgrades & The Reef

    Bungie revealed plenty of important details in last night’s Destiny stream. Let’s go over everything. Alex wants to make sure you don’t miss any of the information revealed yesterday. Most of it affects all Destiny players too, even those who don’t intend on buying House of Wolves. During the first stream, Bungie explained the armour […]

  • Mod-friendly Galactic Civilizations 3 will leave Steam Early Access in May

    Galactic Civilizations 3 will leave Steam Early Access next month for a full release, Stardok has announced. The developer called the game the “largest and most diverse strategy sandbox to date,” as players have a variety of tools such as diplomatic treaties to resource exchanges, and United Planets resolutions to hundreds of research directions for […]

  • Ys 6: The Ark of Napishtim is out next week on PC – here’s the pre-order trailer

    Ys 6: The Ark of Napishtim will be released next week on PC, and today, we have a pre-order trailer for you. The game will be made available on April 28 for $19.99/€17.99/£13.99 on GOG, the Humble Store and Steam. Along with improvements over the original PSP version, it will contain less backtracking, controller support […]

  • Destiny: House of Wolves – full gear set up to level 34 in PvP and PvE, upgrades, more

    The Destiny: House of Wolves livestream this afternoon was chock full of information. Read onward for our full report. According to Bungie, Petra Venj, who serves the Queen, is the main story agent who leads the player through the main series of quests. Players who complete bounties will be able to level up in her […]

  • Destiny: House of Wolves – watch the livestream right here

    Bungie will host a Destiny: House of Wolves livestream at 2pm EDT today, and you can watch it right here. Watch live video from Bungie on www.twitch.tv The stream will introduce the new social space, The Reef, as well as gear upgrade paths. House of Wolves contains new Strike missions, The Prison of Elders three-player […]

  • FIFA Ultimate Team: week of April 22 team includes Barcelona, Chelsea players

    This week’s FIFA 15 Team of the Week is now available for FIFA Ultimate Team players. Each team member, as with previous weeks, is selected base on the previous weekend’s matches. Here’s the list of players now available: Starting GK: Claudio Bravo – FC Barcelona (Spain) CB: Leonardo Bonucci – Juventus (Italy) CB: Ömer Toprak […]

  • Sony’s Spring Fever Sale winds down with Shovel Knight and Call of Duty discounts

    It’s the final week of Sony’s Spring Fever Sale which means more games have been added to the mix. Shovel Knight, which launches today is one offer, and the rest are all Cal of Duty titles. The Taken movie series is on sale as well. With Shovel Knight available today on PlayStation 3, PS4 and […]

  • Drivers for Xbox controllers, voice messages, more features available in Xbox One preview

    Microsoft has announced new features coming to Xbox One and the Xbox App on Windows 10 through the preview program this month. Some of the new features have been requested by the community for both Xbox One and Xbox One SmartGlass. Here’s what to expect, straight from the horse’s mouth: Xbox on Windows 10 Game […]

  • Total War: Warhammer has been announced for PC, Mac, SteamOS

    Total War: Warhammer has been announced after previous teases from The Creative Assembly touched upon it. The game will contain “gigantic monsters, flying creatures, legendary heroes and storms of magical power.” It is also the first in a trilogy which includes two additional standalone titles and extra content packs. It will feature thousands of warriors […]

  • This video for The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt features a quest from the prologue

    A new video for The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt has been released, showing off the Precious Cargo quest contained in the game’s prologue. The quest tasks Geralt with helping a merchant retrieve a mysterious box from the swamps. The scene looks familiar, but we’ve seen so many videos for the game it’s hard to tell […]

  • Limited public beta for The Elder Scrolls Online kicks off tomorrow on consoles

    The limited public beta for The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited will launch on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One tomorrow, and Sony has provided details on the tester for those who’ve been invited to participate. The beta test contains the full version of the game and will run from April 23-27, and will start and […]

  • Dying Light debuts in second place on Media Create charts

    Techland’s Dying Light made its debut in Japan lats week, coming in a respectable second place behind Nintendo’s Girls Mode 3: Kirakira Code. The zombie shooter sold 25,530 units on PlayStation 4, while the top earner for the week moved a little over 55,000 units on 3DS. Another western release when landed on the chart, […]

  • Lord of Magna: Maiden Heaven will release in the west this June

    Lord of Magna: Maiden Heaven has been given a release date by XSEED Games, which announced the localization back in February. The title will launch for 3DS in North America on June 2 digitally and through retail. It will be an eShop only title in Europe and Australia when it releases on June 4. A […]