Homefront – dev interview

You might not know about THQ’s big 2010 shooter Homefront… but after this year’s E3 games show, we confidently predict that’ll change. Think Killzone’s intensity meets Half-Life’s emotive storytelling, as Dave Votypka, Kaos Studios’ General Manager explains…
What’s Homefront?

Dave Votypka: Homefront is set in America 20 years in the future, and Americans are living under foreign occupation. In single-player, you fight as the resistance, and we’ve been working with John Milius (writer of Apocalypse Now) to flesh out that world. The multiplayer will be later on in the timeline and features huge armies on a larger-scale.

The demo (shown behind closed doors at E3 2009) was really intense. What’s the secret of its success?

DV: We’re using something called the Drama Engine, a collection of five or six smaller features that come together to create really dynamic, cinematic action. In the demo we show a player shooting a rocket at an incoming enemy jeep, which flips over and careens towards them. We track the position of the player, so the jeep will always come towards them no matter where they’re stood. We want to make the game intense and bring the action into the player’s face.

Then there’s little things like the gunplay, and the environmental narrative, which is a really big thing for us. With our previous game (Frontlines) we spent a long time getting the engine to where it needed to be, but now we’re all about fine tuning and getting AAA quality out of the technology.

How will the technologically advanced setting be reflected in the gameplay?

DV: In the demo, we show an autonomous, six-wheeled, unmanned combat vehicle. You direct it by giving it a GPS co-ordinate. It finds its own way there. It’s based on real prototypes that several real world manufacturers are developing for the US military. You can also fix a targeting device to the side of your rifle and give it commands, plus you’ll get recon drones, assault drones and other unmanned vehicles.

Will your weaponry be grounded in reality or more futuristic?

DV: It’ll be both. One of the things we’re doing is having a progressive unlock system for the weapons, so you’ll start with the weapons you know from today – the M4s and shotguns – and as you play through you’ll not only unlock new weapons, but you’ll also take the ones you’ve got up the futurisation tree. Richard Mackwoods from Future Weapons on the Discovery Channel has been doing a lot of work for us, so we’ve got some of the best tech that the military is using and currently thinking about.

Can we expect more emphasis on technology when playing online?

DV: In the single-player you’re fighting for the resistance, so you get your weapons from raids on military bases and things like that. In the multiplayer its army versus army, so you’ll have full access to all the best weapons as well as helicopters, jets and things of that nature. It’s similar to what we’ve done before in things like Frontlines. Our goal is to lead the large-scale warfare genre.

May 17, 2010

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  • Cwf2008 - May 18, 2010 3:29 a.m.

    Expected release date March 27, 2010? Huh? Isnt it May already? Anyway this looks prtty cool
  • CH3BURASHKA - May 18, 2010 12:01 a.m.

    I think you guys need to cut down on the hyperboles. Honestly, "Think Killzone’s intensity meets Half-Life’s emotive storytelling"? WHAT?!
  • Gameguy94 - May 17, 2010 10:34 p.m.

    @TheKennedyCurse These aren't really scripted events they're completely randomized to come very close to but not actually killing you so every time you try to blow up that afore mentioened jeep it will tumble in a different direction everytime.
  • iiStryker - May 17, 2010 8:11 p.m.

    Frontlines FoW was okay but right now BFBC2 is the large scale battle game to beat IMHO!
  • allthegoodnameswheretaken - May 17, 2010 5:03 p.m.

    Lol that should be smell
  • allthegoodnameswheretaken - May 17, 2010 5:01 p.m.

    I just want to hear someone say "I love the sell of Napalm in the morning"
  • TheKennedyCurse - May 17, 2010 4:42 p.m.

    It sounds pretty cool, but as for the first point, of the truck you blow up ALWAYS flying towards you, I'm not sure I like that. I get that they're trying to give it a "cinematic" feel, but scripted events always seem cheap to me, I'd rather have the chaos of a Halo, where battles have many variables you can change on each play-through. I'm sure the whole game won't be scripted, but just the possibility of them including these type of events makes me more wary of buying this game, (especially after MW:2). It's definitely on my radar now though.
  • WhiteCoco - May 17, 2010 4:42 p.m.

    So instead of Russians/PMCs/Chinese/Villains, we've got North Koreans occupying the States? This strains logic further than the leaps of imagination of MW2.
  • bluscorp - May 17, 2010 3:41 p.m.

    Can't wait. I'm looking forward to seeing this, spec ops & bloack ops at E3.