Remember Homefront: The Revolution, the open-world shooter that came out last year but failed to set tills alight? It's back, this time with a major new update due out in March.
The developers at UK studio Dambuster, formerly Crytek UK (Crysis multiplayer) and before that Free Radical Design (Haze and Timesplitters) have stuck with the game and beavered away at its third and final DLC, Beyond the Walls.
"We can't wait for you to get your hands on it, it's certainly going to be a breath of fresh air," the developer said in a blog post on the Homefront website.
A note from the editor: Jelly Deals is a deals site launched by our parent company, Gamer Network, with a mission to find the best bargains out there. Look out for the Jelly Deals roundup of reduced-price games and kit every Saturday on Eurogamer.
Dambuster Studios' technically ambitious game - Homefront: The Revolution - may have been just too taxing in its original form for console hardware. As impressive as it was visually, console frame-rates suffered badly at launch, with wildly fluctuating performance marring the experience. When it comes to first person shooters, 30fps really should be the minimum - and if you're dropping below 20fps, you've got problems.
Previously, we highlighted some genuine progress with Homefront: The Revolution's ongoing optimisation, where the developers were able to hand in performance improvements of up to 25 per cent in patch 1.06. However, despite the promising improvements, we were still some way off the game's target 30fps. Until now.
The recently released patch 1.08 sees a far more aggressive push to get Homefront performance up to snuff, and appears to take the form of another round of optimisation improvements paired with some smart, well-judged downgrades in the visual department. Before we plough on into the performance improvements, here's a look at the principal differences we noted between Homefront before and after its latest update.
Homefront: The Revolution is free to play on Steam this weekend.
UPDATE 20/7/16 4:40pm: Dambuster Studios is promising further performance enhancements for Homefront: The Revolution in an upcoming 2.0 patch, as this statement explains:
Homefront: The Revolution has seen much change over its turbulent four-year journey to release. Surviving the closure of publisher THQ, and also an ill-fated spell as Crytek's UK subsidiary (ending in missed wages for its staff), the reformed team at Dambuster Studios lives on to create an open-world shooter in place of the game's original, linear design. The Cryengine tech at its heart impresses: an updated build that brings back the deferred shading of Crysis 3, plus new weather effects. But it's also a project marred by optimisation issues, notably on console.
In terms of its visuals, both PlayStation 4 and Xbox One run at the equivalent of PC's high preset across the board, even including object and shadow quality. The exception to this is textures, where console editions match the maximum very high preset available to PC thanks to the RAM afforded to each console. It means we get parallax occlusion maps (POM) across brick walls and cobblestone roads, adding a 3D effect to surfaces across a wasted, futuristic Philadelphia.
Not everything is entirely even between the three. Xbox One falls short in a few choice areas where memory bandwidth is limited; its resolution is pruned back to a native 1600x900, while PS4 strikes a target 1920x1080 resolution. The post-processing setting is also dialled back on Microsoft's machine - removing a depth of field effect seen in the backgrounds of cut-scenes. Based on our PC testing, it's a taxing parameter, and one that perhaps affords Xbox One the extra wiggle room in frame-rates covered below.
New chart entrants Homefront: The Revolution and Fire Emblem Birthright/Conquest have failed to topple Uncharted 4 and Doom from the top two slots of the UK chart.
Homefront: The Revolution developer Deep Silver Dambuster Studios has acknowledged the performance present in the game today - its day of launch.
Built with CryEngine technology, Homefront: The Revolution is undoubtedly a visually arresting game - but sadly, one where performance leaves a lot to be desired, on console at least. It's a shooter with lofty goals; an open-world design with dynamic lighting and weather, and top-notch motion capture earn it a glowing first impression. But with general gameplay often running at 20fps and under on PS4 and Xbox One, it's hard to truly enjoy the nuts and bolts of its gunplay. It's a shame, because there's a very decent game beneath its technical troubles - something that's immediately apparent when playing on PC.
We're running each version on the latest patch available - in PS4's case listed as update 1.2. Even fully patched though, it doesn't take long to realise that frame-rates struggle on each console, and that Xbox One often leads in performance for matching tests. From the very first cut-scene Xbox One tops PS4 by an average of 3fps - a divide that's also true of regular gameplay. Neither can be considered a success though and at its nadir, PS4 is prone to 15fps drops, while Xbox One hits a similar 16fps just as alpha effects kick in.
The bad news is this isn't a one-off. Even walking through the main Elmtree 'yellow zone' area causes frame-rates to stick to the 20-25fps range on each version. Again PS4 lags behind Xbox One by a slim but consistent delta, and also curiously features tearing to the top of its output. It's not exactly noticeable, but it's a drop in v-sync that doesn't manifest at all on Xbox One. However, it's a sign of compromise on Sony's machine we just didn't expect by comparison, and with no pay-off in a faster refresh.
Homefront: The Revolution ends with a message from its chief developer to players acknowledging the game's troubled development.
Last month, we learned of a cool Easter egg in Homefront: The Revolution. Now, we can show it in action.
Revolutions are precarious things. They're frequently characterised by an intoxicating underdog narrative; one which charts the glorious rise of the oppressed masses to topple their cruel overseers. By the same token, however, that surge of momentum can be a very dangerous thing - one that causes people to lose track of their moral compass. Many terrible things have been done in the name of revolution, something that Homefront: The Revolution proves all too well - whether by design or otherwise.
Homefront: The Revolution
Publisher: Deep Silver
Homefront: The Revolution may not be out until next Friday but, thanks to a guy on the inside, I've got my hands on the PC version a bit early. Join me as I play through the first hour of PC gameplay in the Let's Play video below.
The first two levels of TimeSplitters 2 are included as an Easter egg in Homefront: The Revolution.
Homefront: The Revolution will receive an extravagant limited edition version of the game that comes with a remote-controlled drone.
Hello you lot! We're back with our every-other-weekly video games podcast, if you fancy giving it a listen. Oh gosh, please give it a listen. I really like recording it.
It's been years in the making but Homefront: The Revolution is nearing the end of its gestation period. Developer Dambuster Studios has now begun the beta testing phase, with the first online multiplayer session taking place last weekend. The gaming media were invited along for the ride and first impressions are intriguing: Homefront features a lot of really interesting ideas and there's plenty of potential, but there's clearly a lot of work to be done in polishing up the game in the months remaining before release.
"That's the last we'll see of the Norks today."
Homefront: The Revolution comes out on PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on 20th May 2016, publisher Deep Silver has announced.
The closed beta - exclusive to the Xbox One - launches in February. To access the beta, you have to get an "Xbox One Beta Token", which will be given out via upcoming promotions.
Meanwhile, there's a new gameplay trailer, below, that shows off the open-world first-person shooter's Occupied Philadelphia, 2029 setting.
Some fantastic games came out in 2015. Unfortunately, quite a few (hopefully) fantastic games didn't come out in 2015. With the likes of The Legend of Zelda Wii U, Tom Clancy's the Division and Uncharted 4 all pushed back into 2016, I decided to take a look at some of the upcoming games we really ought to own by now.
Our parent company Gamer Network, which runs the UK's premier gaming festival EGX, and Deep Silver have announced that Homefront: The Revolution will be playable at EGX 2015 next month.
It's alarming how swiftly Gamescom came and went this year. It feels like we only just shipped Ian and Chris out to Cologne and yet, by the time this article goes live, they'll already be home.
Anyway, that's quite enough pondering over the linear passage of time. In this episode we run through the most interesting bits of news to emerge from Gamescom, Ian sticks his face in Homefront the Revolution - quite literally - and Chris throws himself into a crowd of rampant Blizzard fans at the very moment World of Warcraft Legion gets announced. Meanwhile, in Brighton, Aoife and I sulk like the mature adults we are.
Welcome to our second news roundup from Gamescom! The show is now up and running and with it our crack Away Team. We'd tell you what they've been saying so far, but they've helpfully recorded a half-hour chat rattling through it all, including Martin getting IRL blocked by Kamiya. We are hoping this was accompanied by an official badge.
THQ and Kaos Studios' Homefront was certainly interesting. Taking a premise co-opted from John Milius' Red Dawn - and Milius helped with the scenario on the game, perhaps - its redneck fantasy of an America invaded by Korean militia had a gritty, homespun appeal. Homefront did reasonably well - coming out when Call of Duty fever was at a high, a timely release date away from the Q4 churn helped it shift in excess of two million units - and THQ saw enough potential in its set-up to fast-track a sequel.
Want to be in a video game? And make a few bucks in the process? Well you might be in luck, as Homefront: The Revolution developer Deep Silver Dambuster Studios is looking for folks to pose as models for the upcoming sequel.
Post-apocalyptic open world shooter Homefront: The Revolution has been delayed until 2016, publisher Deep Silver has announced.
UPDATE 6.52pm: Crytek has shared some details about its plans now that the developer turned publisher has found the funding necessary to get it out of the red.
Last month reports were emerging that Crysis and Ryse: Son of Rome developer Crytek was in dire straits financially. Various sources came forward about staff being months behind in payments while a proposed deal with Microsoft to secure funding for a Ryse sequel fell through when Crytek remained adamant that it wasn't willing to give up its IP.
There are fresh concerns over the fate of upcoming shooter Homefront: The Revolution amid the ongoing problems at Crytek.
Crysis developer Crytek has denied claims it is on the verge of bankruptcy.
Crytek UK has shown off its first slice of Homefront Revolution gameplay - it's the mission Eurogamer were talked through when we first saw the game last month.
The mission, streamed online last night by Twitch, is a good showcase for Homefront: The Revolution's post-invasion Philadelphia, now a derelict and slum-ridden city, and the capital of the new North Korea-run United States.
In the footage you see the player and three buddies armour up and take on a Korean army checkpoint, an armoured barricade surrounded by troops.
Box art for a sequel to Homefront, THQ's 2011 shooter set in a North Korea-invaded United States, has popped up online.
Crytek UK has announced that its Homefront sequel, now titled Homefront: The Revolution, will be released next year for PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
Set in an occupied Philadelphia, The Revolution is a CryEngine-fuelled open-world FPS with a focus on guerrilla warfare and optional online co-op for up to four players.
You play as a "freedom fighter", one of a growing number of civilians beginning to engage the Korean People's Army after four bitter years of occupation. The problem is that those in control have all the technology and guns, whereas you can only fight with the weapons and resources you scavenge or craft from your surroundings.
The week before Danny Bilson left THQ in May 2012, he still had hope. He had a plan: Darksiders 2 from Vigil. Metro: Last Light from 4AGames. Company of Heroes 2 from Relic Entertainment. Enter the Dominatrix, the standalone expansion for Saints Row the Third, from Volition. South Park: The Stick of Truth, in production at Obsidian Entertainment. Homefront 2 at Crytek UK. And then there was the unannounced stuff: the next-gen game from Turtle Rock we now know is called Evolve. Patrice Désilets' 1666 at THQ Montreal. The portfolio is long and impressive.
Update #4: Does IP changing hands equal upheaval? Does upheaval equal game delay? Obsidian's South Park: Stick of Truth was due in March. Is it still? "It's too soon to say," Ubisoft told me this afternoon. "We'll have more details to share about plans for specific games soon."
Crysis maker Crytek is turning itself into a F2P only studio, it's revealed.
There has never been a worse time to be involved with the games industry. Whether you're a consumer or a developer, a punter or publisher, we are all infected by a creeping malcontent. The combination of a double-dip recession, ageing console technology and poorly financed corporate monoliths have left us with an industry that's too scared to try anything new; where the almighty COD buck has shaped the very creativity and structure of an art-form, leaving anything with a jot of personality or artistic ambition dead on arrival. If it even gets to arrive in the first place.
Freshly liberated indie developer Peter Molyneux has signed up to do a Boot Cycle at this year's GameCity festival in Nottingham.
GameCity7, which runs from 20th to 27th October, will see the former Lionhead Studios boss take over proceedings for an entire day, scheduling events to "celebrate and explore" his time in the industry. He'll discuss past and future projects and his inspirations.
Elsewhere, there's an event to celebrate 30 years of the Commodore 64. The original team behind much-loved UK mag Zzap!64 will create a one-off commemorative issue.
One of the reasons Crysis developer Crytek signed on for Homefront 2 with publisher THQ was because of how well known the franchise is.
A troubled THQ will imminently announce 170 layoffs, according to a new report.
Independent industry suit Kevin Dent claimed to have been sitting on the news "for a week or so". His Twitter conversation with THQ's vice president of technology Mark DeLoura suggests this is for real.
"This is probably going to break in the morning, I have sat on it for a week or so. The culling at THQ was 170+ souls including Mark DeLoura," broadcast Kevin Dent, directing the message at DeLoura.
THQ has denied cancelling its 2014 line-up of games - but the future of ambitious Warhammer 40,000 MMO Dark Millennium Online is less certain.
The publisher responded to a gloomy rumour spread on Twitter by video game executive Kevin Dent. He heard that the Warhammer 40,000 MMO and the THQ 2014 line-up had been cancelled. Dent had also heard THQ was "offering" itself for sale to Asian companies.
THQ's response, via a statement offered to VG247, read: "THQ has not cancelled its 2014 line-up, and has not made any decisions regarding the planned MMO.
UPDATE: The next Homefront game will be made by Nottingham-based developer Crytek UK and will "benefit from the latest CryEngine technology", Crytek has told Eurogamer.