Gearbox CEO on Homefront: Taking on Call of Duty was a mistake
“Everything has to be bigger and better”
Homefront was one of the more major flops in recent years; Kaos Studios’ attempt to break into the war-FPS genre ultimately led to their downfall.
However Gearbox president Randy Pitchford says the developer really should have seen it coming. Pitchford thinks Homefront serves as the perfect example of poor decision-making by studios and publishers.
“I tend to be careful about talking about other people’s business,” said Pitchford, who nevertheless clearly had a point he wanted to make.
Referring to trying to take on Call of Duty, Pitchford said, “Right off the bat, I’m suspicious of that approach, right out of the gate. That might not be the best strategy.
“The [game's] what-if scenario is kind of interesting, but it doesn’t take a lot of risks from a gameplay point of view.”
What really confuses Pitchford however is THQ’s decision to make a sequel, giving the development to Crytek.
“Somehow that decision was made that ‘We are going to build this game and hope it becomes an IP’,” he said.
“That suggests that the people at THQ that were making the decision, at the time, that Homefront was worth betting on again, but not with the same developer, which is interesting.”
“Is the problem with the developer? Is the problem with the IP? Is the problem with the market? Is the problem with the promise that they were making?” Pitchford wondered. “I don’t know what they think the problems were, but they haven’t given up.”
Pitchford wasn’t done yet – he also finds the choice of Crytek a little suspect, saying, “I wouldn’t have put them on that.”
In order to try and go toe-to-toe with Call of Duty, Pitchford said “you really have to go for it. You really have to spend a lot. You have to not only out brute-force the market leader, but out-clever them. The game has to be better, the marketing and production better have to be… Everything has to be bigger and better.”
There’s no doubt Activision is the undisputed king of the military shooter, can THQ hope to dethrone them?