The extent of the troubles that had embroiled the studio formerly known as Free Radical has been revealed.
Speaking to The Guardian, Dambuster Studios studio head Hasit Zala revealed that things had gotten pretty dark for the Homefront: The Revolution developer by the summer of 2014.
Crytek ran into financial trouble. As time went on, promises went back and forth, and we got to the stage where the staff hadn't been paid for quite some time. I was busy trying to hold the studio together, and I needed to look at its long-term future,” Zala said.
We were a studio of 150-odd people, quite a few of whom hadn't been paid for weeks; they had mortgages, wives and families – so over a third of the team left at that stage.
Deep Silver stepped in, saying they believed in the game, believed in the team, and were really concerned with the way things were going, because it looked like the team might completely dissolve, and the game may never see the light of day. So it approached Crytek, and a buyout ensued.
When we started Dambuster, there was a bit of rebuilding that had to be done. But it's the same studio: I sit in the same place, and it's the same code base.”
The development troubles of the second Homefront title stretch back far further than that, however. As long ago as 2012 Zala was aware that all wasn't well with then publisher THQ. The publisher's eventual collapse led to Homefront being acquired by Crytek.
While positive for the studio, however, that led to changes for the game.
Crytek was unhappy with the progress and reception of Crysis 3,” he added. So we reassessed Homefront. It had been my long-standing ambition to turn it into an open-world shooter and, although that was supposed to be for the next version, we said: ‘You know what? Let's go ahead and do that now.'
That was July 2013: we owned the IP, as we were Crytek UK, and we moved the game to an open-world structure, which really rebooted the development process.”
Homefront: The Revolution will finally be released on May 20th.