THQ's Homefront for the Sony PlayStation 3, Microsoft Xbox 360, and PC showed a lot of promise when it debuted at E3 2009, but things didn't turn out so well for the game or the developer behind it, Kaos Studios. Set as a few-of-us against all-of-them first-person shooter in which an American resistance cell fought back against North Korean occupiers with guerrilla warfare, Homefront's aspirations ballooned as THQ pushed the team behind it harder and harder with more demands and more ideas on how to turn the game into the next Call of Duty. Middling reviews and a meh final product dampened enthusiasm for the game, and while Homefront 2 is in the works for future release, Kaos isn't behind it. Polygon has a fascinatingly detailed article that explains what went wrong with Homefront and how Kaos collapsed. As is becoming a trend with failed studios, management shoulders much of the blame.
After THQ greenlit Homefront, recalled another writer , "it was blue-sky times." Kaos was trying out anything and everything: boats, aircraft, even aircraft carriers. They were working on new multiplayer modes and systems, and trying to decide what Homefront would ultimately be. The only trouble was that almost immediately after THQ executives fell in love with the pitch demo, the publisher told Kaos to start working on a bigger, better version for E3 2009.
"It was all throwaway assets, throwaway code, it was all hacked together," he said. "We spent about a total of eight months of our production time making a five minute demo that was … not an actual game. It was a very nice demo. But it was all smoke and mirrors."
I remember sitting in THQ's little enclosed Homefront theater at E3 that year. Those of us in the audience watched several of the developers run through that flashy demo and essentially let it speak for itself. It was, as the article states, an impressive demo, but it looked very much like an on-rails experience. In hindsight, it probably was considering that the demo was cobbled together and must not have allowed for much deviation from the script. Buzz for Homefront was high coming out of that theater and I think it was the themes and scenario that the demo presented that had us all so excited. It's a shame that what we'd seen wasn't representative of the final product. Then again, not many E3 demos are. It's just the nature of the industry beast, I suppose.