THQ made a misstep earlier this year with Homefront, a first-person shooter bolstered by a huge, extended marketing push that, despite strong pre-order sales, failed to resonate with critical and consumer audiences. Largely because it’s just not very good. We’re now seeing the repercussions of the product’s failure to launch with the publisher revealing to Gamasutra that it has shuttered the game’s developer, Kaos Studios. No specific reason is offered beyond the move being part of a “strategic realignment,” but Homefront‘s poor performance almost certainly fueled the decision. The publisher also confirmed that employees of the UK-based developer Digital Warrington have been given a closure notice as well.
Kaos was born in 2006 when THQ brought in members of the Trauma Studios mod team (Battlefield 1942 mod Desert Combat) to form a new developer. The group’s first release was the multiplayer-centric Frontlines: Fuel of War in 2008; while the game contained some good ideas, the execution fell short and an online community failed to materialize. Homefront came next, this past March, riding on a wave of hype and expectations that it never managed to live up to. Digital Warrington, formerly Juice Games, is known for its work on the Juiced racing series, though more recent efforts include Red Faction: Battlegrounds and Warhammer 40K: Kill Team. The studio couldn’t be closed outright due to UK laws, Joystiq reports, but employees there have been put on notice.
Kaos being gone doesn’t mean that the Homefront franchise is finished. For one, THQ has invested a lot of time, money and energy into building that brand. What’s more, while the initial release may be lackluster, there’s always room for a new team to come in a deliver a dynamite sequel. Players will need some convincing, but typically, when a game is good and released at the right time the consumers are happy to open their wallets. THQ Montreal will now take the lead on the Homefront series moving forward. The company is also now hiring in its Montreal, Vancouver and Austin locations; departing employees from Kaos and Digital Warrington will be given the opportunity to interview for other internal positions.