Homefront: The Revolution: Crytek’s Not Interested in Politics
Don’t expect much in the way of a political comment out of Crytek’s upcoming foray into the Homefront franchise.
“We’re not really that interested in the politics of it.”
Crytek is looking into the world created by Kaos Studios in 2011 with it’s upcoming first-person shooter Homefront: The Revolution, and showed the title off during the E3 2014 Judges Week in May. The title returns players to a United States occupied by North Korean forces, tasking them with using guerrilla tactics to beat back a technologically superior force.
Using the Homefront premise that brought the fight to the U.S., The Revolution looks to put players at the forefront of inciting civilians into an uprising against the occupying force. Crytek sees the premise as something unique to explore in a first-person shooter, but Crytek Associate Producer Fasaht Salim said the game won’t delve into its real-world ramifications.
“We’re not really that interested in the politics of it,” Salim said. “For us, it is quite literally a very interesting and different premise. This is like a worst-case scenario. It might be very farfetched, but it’s also very different to the narrative that’s very prevalent in most first-person shooters.”
The original Homefront skewed somewhat close to reality by extrapolating a situation in the 2010s in which Kim Jong Un, the son of former North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, came to power and invaded the U.S., using technology that helped to thwart the U.S. army. With the country in disarray, civilians found themselves in cities now run by Korean troops, and had to strike back in order to survive.
“The first Homefront, the narrative resonated with a lot of people.”
Crytek is taking that idea a few steps further. Four years into the occupation of Philadelphia, players take on the role of something of an average Joe, a citizen who has no formal military training. The plan is to strike back against the totalitarian Korean People’s Army using hit-and-run tactics in an open-world game that encourages players to use what they can scavenge to build weapons and equipment.
The original game drew a lot of inspiration from the movie Red Dawn, in which American teenagers take up arms against an attacking Soviet army, and that’s basically the same experience Crytek is going for in The Revolution.
“The first Homefront, the narrative resonated with a lot of people,” Salim said. “It wasn’t only us that were excited about it, it seemed to resonate with a lot of players as well. Sure, it didn’t quite live up to some of the expectations that people had of it. We’re trying to build on some of the key things they (Kaos) did really well, and we’re trying to focus a lot more on the guerrilla warfare aspect of things.
“We want to take that principle, and by going open-world with it, we’re giving the player the opportunity to take guerrilla warfare to a level which they want to take it to. They’re not trained specialist military soldiers at the end of the day. They’re scavenging the world around them to find things that they can use in their own homebrew equipment, build their own weapons. They don’t have the same kind of tech that the KPA have. So you’ve kinda gotta look around and try to do the best that you can with the stuff that’s available to you. So yeah, guerrilla warfare for us is a key pillar for what we’re trying to achieve, and it’s been the pillar that we’ve kind of built this whole game around.”
Crytek showed a short vertical slice demo to journalists at the event, demonstrating some of what players can expect when they pick up the game. The demo showed a player joining up with three online comrades — The Revolution will include both a single-player campaign and four-player co-op, and Salim said players will be working in the same game world — and working to free resistance prisoners from a KPA police station. In the demo, players sneaked up on a guard to choke him out, used bricks to knock out KPA surveillance cameras, and located a resistance weapons cache on the way to the mission objective by following graffiti tags.
At the cache, the player was outfitted with an assault rifle that could be customized with scopes, attachments and other alterations on the fly, and the gear to build some bombs. He also had to dodge a KPA scanner drone — Salim said the Korean forces use drone tech and robots to make up for a shortage of manpower to police the whole city. Geared up, the players approached the police station head-on. The first order of business was to send a remote-controlled car, complete with an attached bomb, to blow open the police station door, driving it under an approaching vehicle to hide it. The demo also had players taking advantage of another resistance attack elsewhere that drew off guards.
After the door was blown open and the prisoners freed, the demo became a running firefight as resistance fighters worked to escape the area and fade back into the population. Salim said situations like the police station can be approached from multiple different angles, and how players will attack them may often depend on the resources at hand.