In a superb autopsy of Kaos Studios, closed three months after it finished Homefront for THQ, Gamasutra's Leigh Alexander paints a vivid picture of a studio doomed by meddling, duplicitous executives, and filled with underqualified managers, overworked developers and even an overflowing urinal.
Kim Jong-il, who has ruled the Communist state of North Korea since 1994, has passed away. Which means 2011 shooter Homefront was only two weeks off making one of the most timely (if accidental) fictional statements in video game history.
The New York City-based developer of Homefront, Kaos Studios, has been shut down, according to a source close to the studio. It's not clear if the shutdown was due to the performance of the game, the high cost of operating a studio or some combination of factors. We've reached out to THQ for official confirmation.
The co-creator of Twisted Metal, David Jaffe, wanted to make a game about the Chinese military invading the United States once upon a time. Heartland for the PSP would have been "a very liberal response to the Bush administration and the Iraq War," Jaffe has said, a first-person shooter that evoked intense emotion.
I nearly wept during the opening of Homefront.
The people who want to sell you the video game Homefront aren't selling pillows or hot cocoa on a cold day. Their pitch isn't cozy. It appears to be... fear?
Route 66 is full of potholes and Wal-Mart is out of asthma medication. A high school football field is being used for mass graves. These are facts from a video game world, facts designed to make a gamer angry.
Homefront's version of the "second American Revolution" will pit U.S. citizen against North Korean invader, restoring freedom to our nation's White Castles, Hooters and gas stations with a feel-good bloodbath.
The North Korean invasion of the U.S. has been delayed by seven days. THQ and Kaos Studios' Homefront will come to PS3, Xbox 360 and PC on March 15 in North America after a brief delay.
All downloadable content for the America-under-siege title Homefront will come to the Xbox 360 first, similar to extensions for other major titles in the past. Homefront's developer said the PS3 missed out because, well, Sony's not interested.
The North Korean bad guys in the upcoming video game Homefront were originally going to be Chinese, but the people making the game changed their mind for two reasons.
If war flares again on the Korean peninsula as it threatened to today, there will be far more dire things to worry about than a video game, but the upcoming Homefront will nevertheless feel different.
I have little animosity for the virtual people I shoot in video games. They are cardboard targets. The worst they can do is kill the virtual me. My "death" lasts a few seconds. I can't hate them for that.
At E3, Homefront was offhandedly mentioned to me as inspired by Resistance, just without the aliens, naturally. As if to drive that point home, the man in charge of THQ's core games portfolio already has designs on London.
I mean, a United States under North Korean occupation? China, you can maybe swing China, but North Korea? Bit silly. Then again, being written by John Milius, it's not the occupying power that's the point of the story.