I think most of us were rather surprised when the announcement trailer for Homefront: The Revolution hit the internet. All in all, it was a nice trailer and certainly drove home the tone that the game was going for, though that hasn’t kept me from worrying about the title itself. Published by Deep Silver and developed by Crytek UK (formerly Free Radical of TimeSplitters fame), the game follows the story and narrative of the original from the both now debunked Kaos Studios (developer) and THQ (publisher). In fact, the ultimate demise of Kaos was a result of this game, as is true with this title being seen as one of the last major nails in the coffin for THQ.
And this right there touches on the entire point of this article. Is the idea of a sequel to a title that undersold, under-delivered and one that can be directly linked to the demise of not only the developer, but the publisher itself, already doomed before release?
First things first, let’s get the specifics out of the way. As was just mentioned, it is an entirely new development team and publisher taking on the sequel this time around. Deep Silver, the games label of Koch Media long seen as a B-List publisher, recently made itself into somewhat of a major player; doing so, funnily enough, through the buyout of a number of THQ’s assets and IPs after they went under. As of the last few years the overall quality of their titles has definitely gone up, but they still aren’t a name synonymous with consistent quality releases.
As for the developer, that most definitely paints a different picture. With many of the heads behind the highly acclaimed (if only mildly successful) TimeSplitters series and Second Sight, the title could definitely be in worse hands. The team knows what’s it’s doing when it comes to the shooter space, and it’s probably the branch of Crytek who I am most comfortable with when it comes to delivering a quality product.
Does this all matter though? We are all well aware that the general gamer doesn’t bother much with the goings on of the industry. The best you can hope for is that they see your ads, hear the name spoken in the random YouTube video, and are aware of, at least, the top players in the gaming scene. They aren’t going to bother with the fact that Deep Silver has been known to publish a rather large number of stinkers.
They also aren’t the ones, however, to differentiate Crytek UK from Crytek as a whole, despite the fact, in my opinion, Crytek UK has been involved in the more worthwhile endeavors of the company of the last few years. Whether it be the multiplayer for Crysis 2, which I found to easily be the best part of that title, or that they had their hands on Crysis 3 as a whole, an arguably much better title than the one before it. Let alone the long lineage they had under the name of Free Radical. Crytek, by and large, are seen as the developer/publisher of games that are more a tech demo than an actual, quality title. And that’s where the worry sets in.
As much as the average gamer distances themselves from the specifics of the industry, many are aware of the downfall of one of the biggest and longest running publishers around. As are they aware of any game that openly pits itself against the largest AAA title around currently – Call of Duty – and fails. Miserably at that.
At the end of the day, Homefront: The Revolution does show a lot of promise. The announcement trailer looks good, and all the hands of the original title have shifted, giving all involved a little breathing room for the redo. The question I leave you with, though, is whether or not the title is hurting itself by being the sequel to a game that, ultimately, caused a lot of damage to everyone involved? While I understand the desire to do something with a purchased IP, would the developer, publisher and the game itself be better off disconnecting itself from the previous title?