THQ Respond To Homefront Reviews

Speaking to IGN, THQ'S EVP, and walking headline machine, Danny Bilson discussed the future of Homefront and, specifically, addressed the supposedly disappointing reviews the game received.

"If we were universally panned," began Bilson, "I would say "Yeah I guess it didn't work." I think the idea of 50 reviews that are so radically spread says that we made a game that has a point of view and that you might even argue is controversial. When we set out, and I was sitting with Kaos in New York, I was saying "Guys, if we're going to make a modern shooter of any kind, we have to compete with the best of the world." I remember in those meetings, the summary was: "We don't expect to beat those guys; our mission is to be in the conversation." And on being in the conversation: mission accomplished. Everybody's talking about Homefront.

"Do I prefer that it's controversial? No, I'd prefer if everybody in the world loved it. But there are 20+ reviews that are over 80, there are some haters, and there are some mid-range ones. Do I read them all to see what we can do better next time and have every review be 100? Of course, our goal is always that. What I will say pretty clearly is the game is not a "71." You can't apply math to art."

Interestingly, Homefront's success in the face of middling reviews has changed Bilson's viewpoint on the importance of reviews in certain circumstances.

"I used to think for a core game they matter more, claimed Bilson. "I think I realize now that when you make a mass-market game it's more like the film business. The idea and the concept will resonate with a large group or it won't."

When asked by IGN how important a game's marketing budget was, Bilson had an interesting answer.

"You could ask this question a different way. "Would you rather have a 100 Metacritic rated game that sells 100,000 units, or a 70 Metacritic rated game that sells 3 million units?" And I have an answer that would get me in so much trouble."

The Future of Homefront [IGN]

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Comments

    Right, but Homefront didn't sell 3 million units and still got a 70 score. So I guess THQ is 0 - 2

    Good on him for being honest and treating a business like a business.

    "What I will say pretty clearly is the game is not a “71.” You can’t apply math to art"

    However he is happy to quote the positive 20 or so reviews that gave it an 80+, which isn't that much of an achievement to me.

    I find calling it controversial a bit much too. These days the word controversial seems to mean 'warrants attention' because if it controversial everyone wants to argue about it and get involved. You don't get to call yourself controversial, and in this industry when you are it is rarely good, usually it's because you've been blamed for the downfall of our youth or being slandered due to minor romantic content.

    Homefront wasn't controversial, it was bland.

      "Controversial": Given or likely to give rise to public disagreement.

      It did, at that. The extent to which it did so, though, is debatable. Other definitions specify it as being prolonged disagreement, which it was not, so it could be taken either way.

    Well the obvious answer is that I'd rather the 100 rated game!

    But I'm not a shareholder who doesn't give a crap about the game itself.

    Homefront wasn't the greatest game in the world but I got my copy for a good price and I enjoyed it. I went into it with no expectations and despite being a rather short SP campaign, I did it in one sitting which for me I can say it's been a long time since I played one game for 5 hours straight.

    I think he makes a valid point. you make a modern shooter, you're going up against Bad Company 2 and COD4/MW2.

    On the other hand, all I hear about Homefront is that it's "ok". I haven't played Homefront, and with ratings like "ok", I'm not going to. I don't have the budget for "ok" games right now. Portal 2 is coming out in a few days, and will be competing with the Gears 3 beta for my time. LA Noire is coming soon too, isn't it? Then Duke Nukem Forever.
    I am concerned Portal 2 might suck. I'm VERY concerned Duke Nukem will suck. LA Noire is experimental, everyone seems to think it'll be a mashup of GTA and Heavy Rain for some reason.
    But i'll still buy them, because they've got my interest.
    Portal 2 is the full game that Portal teased us with in it's 3 hour long proof-of-concept back in 2007.
    LA noire looks to be a new and interesting take on crime drama.
    Duke Nukem will probably have tits in it.

    What you really need to be doing is making sales, THQ. Internet buzz doesn't pay the bills.

    You made a modern shooter and marketing it as such. Your big hook was supposed to be an invasion of the US by a cold-war era bogeyman who has inexplicably risen from the ashes.

    Sorry, MW2 beat you there in 2009, so you can't escape comparisons wherever you go.

    You even lit the fires of controversy by flipping your antagonist at what felt like the 11th hour - which didn't work for Medal of Honor.

    Guys, come on!

    I'm sure Homefront is a competent game, but you've done nothing to convince me I'd be doing anything new!

      Don't mean to be picky, but you've said internet buzz doesn't pay the bills, but you've named 4 games that have internet buzz alone.

      You've not played them - they're not even reviewed yet - and there's no way you can judge them objectively, unlike Homefront which is released, reviewed, and playable by yourself.

      You've only heard about them by careful internet marketing on behalf of the companies involved, but you've already said you're going to buy them and already assume they're going to be better than Homefront.

      Kind of sunk your own argument there...

    I liked Homefront, I still like the multiplayer in Homefront.

    That said, when (not if) Homefront 2 gets made... there is some serious work needed.
    If you wish to be a tripple A game, and compete in that evironment, then your game needs to shine... and if it doesn't, then it isn't a triple A game.

    The game wasn't that bad to be honest, the problem was that it was too short, and it was over-hyped.

    And this is the issue, if you want to sell a 71 rated game 3 million times you shouldn't be entitled to sell it at the same price as a 100 rated game.

    They obviously knew it would be bad. how could they not nearly every reason to play the game is somehow missing the story as it stands was interesting but it just wasn't in the game

    not to mention the entire we need a pilot thing was kinda eh, why couldn't they have just had a normal resistance

    “I used to think for a core game they matter more, claimed Bilson. “I think I realize now that when you make a mass-market game it’s more like the film business. The idea and the concept will resonate with a large group or it won’t.”

    This comment is extremely worrying.

    Don't make a game with intent to "resonate" the concept with a large group. You tried that with Homefront and the advertising worked. We were all paying attention, we were all reading the previews. But what you produced looked great at a distance, but close up was riddled with mediocrity.

    MAKE A GOOD GAME. That should be your number 1 priority.

    At its core, the game itself SHOULD BE GOOD. And if I need to explain to you what I mean by "good" then you DO need to focus test your games pal.

    MAKE A GOOD GAME. The gaming community will do the rest.

      Exactly what I wad thinking. The problem with Homefront was it compromised and tried to be too much like cod or any other generic shooter. It needed to be something else and could have been. Here is something that will be controversial:
      -scrap multiplayer. If someone wants a multiplayer fps there are already 10 games the same.
      -forget copying standard cliched characters & make players question the meaning of a freedom fighter in the wake of Americas war in the middle east.
      -maybe the heroes don't have to win.
      That could be the start of an actual controversial game.

    Oh c'mon, controversial? It was just silly.

    On the other hand, I have no problem paying full price for a game that *only* goes for 5 hours. I'd be happy with one ultra kick ass hour that rather than something stretched over 10 hours that only had 2 hours worth of interesting ideas and gameplay.

    Sorry, this game was terrible. I was so eagerly anticipating this game from all the previews and videos. And when the time came it was littered with bugs (fair enough other top shooters had issues) yet these bugs continue to be prevalent even till now. Gameplay was bland and trashy and the engine was terrible. Overall the game didn't seem finished at all. A review at 70 in my opinion is pity points, it deserves less. I've already given up and uninstalled it off steam without even thinking of ever reinstalling it again. This example just reinforces the idea you should never preorder and wait until a number or critics and users review the game in detail.

      And there we have it. The exact problem with the game; the hype.

      You were "eagerly anticipating" it. If it had not been so hyped I can guarantee you would've enjoyed it more.

      This game is very similar to Clive Barker's Jericho. Both are very solid games that were actually quite fun to play but hype made people expect too much.

      Also mentioning that it still has bugs to this day? So what? So does Black Ops, ya know that "AAA" title that sold millions. Homefront suffers from minor issues that are far from game breaking. And how exactly was gameplay trashy? It didn't look that nice sure but controls were smooth, aiming was accurate, AI partners were useful rather than a hindrance like quite a few AAA titles. So what was the issue?

      This is why you never buy into hype. Your expectations get too high and you're always disappointed.

      I think the game is pathetic, I spent $110 on that piece of rubbish only to get bugs, an engine that wasn't finished and a online service that is absolute shit for aussies. THQ/Kaos I will never buy another game from either of you ever again.

        You spent $110?

        Dude, that's not THQ's fault. That is YOUR fault for not being a smart shopper.

        PS3 $64.95
        360 $62.50
        PC $49.99

        In under a minute those are the prices I sourced for Australian copies of the game.

        Also, the online section isn't that bad. They've been patching and working on fixes SPECIFICALLY for us Aussies. Something most, if not all, other companies wouldn't bother with. By the way, look how Crysis 2 has only just become more accessible for MP in Australia. Black Ops still has issues world wide. Assassins Creed Brotherhood also still has some issues.

        This is becoming hate for the sake of hate. Yes the game did not live up to the hype. But that's why you play it smart and ignore the hype. Pretty simple.

          Correction.

          For PC it's $32.99.

          Even if I purchased the game at a better price I still wouldn't be happy. This is hardly hate for the sake of hate. I wait patiently until about four days ago.

          Thq don't care about their customers and pushed the game out as fast as they could so they could get themselves out of the red and to get in before BF3. The online service is still a joke for Aussies.

    All I gathered from this is he knew the game would be bad but didn't care about quality as long as it was marketed and sold lots?
    THQ trust just hit rock bottom

    Thq/Kaos fucked things up for the australians we still dont have a proper online service and obviously arent going to do anything about for along time thnks to the other problems in the game. If the idiots had of done a beta they would have made more money and kept more customers.

    There's no such thing as a 100 metacritic core game that'll only sell 100,000 copies.

    I still want to know why the game received great reviews pre-release but once it was live, the review scores dived.

    Could THQ have applied pressure for great reviews or no future pre-release looks like EA and Sony have done to various review sites?

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