For many people, one of the major drawcards for Homefront was the fact the story had been contributed by Red Dawn author John Milius. The Kaos Games release placed gamers in a modern-day United States, as it is being invaded by North Korea. Sound familiar? It’s a plot that has taken more than a little ‘inspiration’ from Milius’ 1984 film, starring Patrick Swayze, Charlie Sheen and Jennifer Grey.
And it seems that perhaps that inspiration was enough to garner Milius the writing credit, with former Kaos employees suggesting that the author didn’t actually pen any of the game’s 20,000 lines of dialogue.
In a recent autopsy of Kaos Studios, GamaSutra writer Leigh Alexander explains “How Homefront’s Developer Met its End” – which includes a significant number of disgruntled former Kaos employees airing their concerns under cover of anonymity.
Alexander reports that many of these employees claim Kaos writer C.J. Kershner was the real person behind the pen – despite only claiming an “associate designer, writing, QA” credit for the game.
While this is perhaps the most high-profile example of the problems at the company, Kaos is painted as a pretty spectacular mess. Studio managers were underqualified, executives who preached “hands-off” methods were making big decisions behind the scenes (here’s lookin’ at you, Danny Bilson), and developers themselves were ridiculously overworked.
Despite Homefront‘s many failings, the game itself was solid. Unfortunately for Kaos – originally founded by four friends who had created the Desert Combat mod for Battlefield 1942 – “solid” just wasn’t good enough. Employees who predicted the studio would not survive Homefront were proven right, when THQ handed the Homefront license to Crytek, shuttering Kaos just three months after the game hit shelves.