‘That’s what we set out to do.’
Homefront: The Revolution finally launches tomorrow, and for fans of modern day military shooters, it presents an intriguing proposition- here is a first person shooter set in modern day that doesn’t try to impose a short, cinematic, linear single player story campaign that is almost an afterthought for the player, and instead tries to present the player with a genuinely compelling single player mode, offering an open world campaign, spread across dozens of hours, with possibilities for non linear storytelling and emergent, dynamic gameplay.
How did this happen? How did we come from the super linear, cinematic Call of Duty-like campaign of the first game to this open world, emergent style of campaign? In an interview with Trusted Reviews, game director Hasit Zala explained how the game’s troubled development led to the team ignoring the original game to try and realize their own ambitions for the sequel.
“The vision was to do an open world Half-Life. That’s what we set out to do.”
He continued: “When we first pitched it to the studio, they were very excited, and then about two weeks afterwards they went ‘oh my god this means an awful lot of work and a lot of challenge and ambition’.”
Apparently, the linear campaign of the original game didn’t go down all that well with the developers of The Revolution either.
“I would say my biggest criticism for [the first game] was that it was a very formulaic model, it was very much a linear, scripted shooter. That’s completely different from what we wanted to do, we wanted something that had lots of player agency, lots of immersion, lots of emergence in the gameplay and a sandbox narrative. But something that was very narrative [driven] and compelling. We never really particularly focused on Homefront 1 [for The Revolution], we very much focused on our vision of an open world Half-Life game.”
Honestly, this sounds rather exciting to me- modern day shooters are rather boring, and variations on the formula are always welcome (one reason why the new DOOM is so exciting for me). Let’s hope Homefront: The Revolution manages to pull off its ambitions with aplomb.