Homefront’s lukewarm reception and sales back in 2011 hardly made a sequel the most exciting of prospects, and yet as THQ struggled financially, Crytek was brought into the fold to work on the successor, eventually acquiring the rights to the series as THQ shut down. Since then, the sequel has gone into hiding.
However, the freshly titled Homefront: The Revolution is back with a bang, with Crytek UK – formerly Free Radical – developing the game and Deep Silver – who also took on other THQ properties and developers last year – set to publish the game as it aims for release in 2015 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, Mac and Linux.
Set in Philadelphia, this game has some interesting symbolic ties back to America’s history, as the city in which the Declaration of Independence was signed. Set four years after the initial occupation and two years after the first game, this is the seat of the occupying government, following the same alternate future in which the unified Greater Korean Republic were able to pull off their ambitious invasion plan and take control of the country.
It’s an oppressive dystopian future, with the native American populace forced to live in ghettos and shanty towns. Philadelphia essentially lies in ruins, as it is endlessly patrolled by Korean People’s Army troops, aided by nimble and flexible drones – reminiscent of the Helghast drones in Killzone – and huge battleships seeming to hover high above the sky.
Utterly outmatched in terms of technology, the resistance has to resort to guerrilla warfare in the streets of the city and out in the bombed out suburbs, now known as the Red Zone. However, the hook is that this is an open world for you to explore and affect changes in, wresting power back from the KPA, and potentially playing it in four player co-op. With an objective or target in sight, it will be up to you to use particular guerrilla tactics, from ambushes to distractions, hit and run attacks and so on, always trying to take the enemy by surprise.
The key to your fight is getting the tools together to actually succeed in battle. Though getting from place to place can be risky, the resistance’s network of safe houses and stashes will help you stock up your “Guerrilla Tool Kit”, as it was labelled, alongside a versatile smartphone. You can craft an IED, for example, and strap it to an RC car for a versatile bomb and distraction.
The demo that was shown featured a four player co-op assault on a KPA police station. The resistance fighters got forward to a point at which the RC car could be used to sneak into the compound underneath a KPA truck, and then onward to the building itself. Setting it off started a big firefight, with the KPA trying to react to the assault, while innocent bystanders screamed and tried to run away, as the fighting continued.
All of this comes rendered by CryEngine, and was quite stunning in the amount of detail it was showing off – they’re not using a buzzword for this, but if they were it would surely be “Phillidelity”. Though the overall style seems to fall into a familiar and almost monotone world, the fidelity of the shanty town and the ruined buildings was quite fantastic. A brief glimpse of the suburbs does hold a little more promise for colour and variety, though.
We’ll be hearing more about this game at E3 next week, but with so many elements sure to fulfil the wishes of first person shooter fans, there’s a lot of encouraging signs from this quick first look at the game.