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THQ forced Kaos to use North Korea in Homefront

Former Kaos employees say Danny Bilson was very hands-on with the project

In a look into the downfall of Homefront developer Kaos Studios, former employees have alleged that THQ management - including former executive vice president Danny Bilson - were very hands-on with the game. They insist that Kaos Studios originally planned to use China as the game's invading force, but were forced to change it to North Korea by Bilson. The employees told Gamasutra that THQ did not want to use China, because the inclusion could hurt possible business prospects in the region.

Bilson, who left the company earlier this year, made frequent check-ins on the studio to oversee the game. Bilson was championing the title, but his input wasn't always welcomed, leading to some frustrating issues with designer. Bilson's former time in Hollywood gave him experience in some areas, but left him unprepared for certain aspects of game development.

"He got very involved during the middle of our production. This game became the title that would prove THQ was on the rebound in a major way," said one source.

"We can see the stuff he was really good at, which was helping guide the story, create hype... if you look at the marketing for this game, aside from the story, it was one of the best marketing campaigns in games," said another source. "On the other hand he's not qualified to talk about game mechanics."

That said, many employees praised Bilson for the time and effort he put forth on Homefront.

"I really can't slam the guy," said one source. "He gave us a great opportunity and all the resources to accomplish it. We didn't exactly deliver."

"I think Danny's being crucified a lot and I think that's unfair," added another source. "He wasn't necessarily the problem. He had a way of doing things, and he burned a lot of bridges because he was a ballbuster, but if you look at the core games he's done, that's the only thing keeping THQ in business right now."

Kaos Studios was shuttered by THQ after the disappointing performance of Homefront. Crytek is handling the development of Homefront 2 for THQ.

Gamasutra's full look into the issues at Kaos Studios can be found here.

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Mike Williams: M.H. Williams is new to the journalism game, but he's been a gamer since the NES first graced American shores. Third-person action-adventure games are his personal poison: Uncharted, Infamous, and Assassin's Creed just to name a few. If you see him around a convention, he's not hard to spot: Black guy, glasses, and a tie.
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