Interviews

Homefront: 'If the big developers won't take risks, it's up to us to break the mould'

Kaos level design boss Rex Dickson on being the FPS underdog...

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Perhaps more than any other culture, Americans are the least prepared and least equipped to deal with something like this because we're very much a culture of convenience.

We've led this life for so long that we're completely unprepared for something like this to happen. We as Kaos are trying to grab that feeling and use it in the game to make people feel unsettled and uncomfortable. That's one of the main vibes of the game.

Do you have any fear that forcing the player to be uncomfortable in a 'real world' sense might backfire?

For me personally, no. As a game designer and someone who plays games I really want some people to start pushing boundaries. Kaos could have made another modern combat game in the Middle East, or an armoured fighter in space versus aliens but does the market really need any more of that?

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If you want to break the mould of what everyone else is doing there is going to be a certain amount of risk involved. Maybe that's not OK for people like Bungie, Microsoft and Sony but for us, the little guy - and THQ as the 'third' publisher - we have to take these risks and break out.

If the big guys aren't going to take the risks they're going to just keep making the same game over and over with each iteration then It's up to the little guys to make these games and try and break the mould.

There's no fear really, I think I'd be more afraid if we making another Halo game or another desert combat game. The fact that we're offering something unique and different removes the fear - that's what we should be doing.

With that in mind, can you promise that if Homefront becomes as big as Call of Duty it won't slowly descend into becoming a generic FPS by Homefront 3 or 5?

Oh absolutely. When you launch a new IP we could have gone full one insurgency with this game and rally made it dark. But you have to take steps towards a goal, otherwise we run the risk of alienating the mass market if we jump to far into it.

We need to stay on the formula while introducing our own unique concepts into the game. If people start accepting that and buying it, we come into Homefront 2 or 3 with all this value. We can say to someone like [THQ core games VP] Danny Bilson in corporate: "We tried all these new ideas, this many million people bought it, let's push it even further."

I can tell you unequivocally that the people that work here have a vision of where we want the franchise to go. There was an internal conversation recently about the difference between an extremist, almost terrorist style insurgence and what we would call a classic 'freedom fighter'.

The difference between a hero and the terrorist is actually very grey and blurry. That is something that we're definitely interested in exploring in the next game.

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