North Korea’s Military Machinations Imitate Fiction of New THQ Homefront Game
NEW YORK CITY – When it comes to first-person shooters, THQ is setting up a very different world for gamers to explore next spring. Kaos Studios’ HomeFront is set in a near-future United States that’s been overthrown and occupied by North Korea. One of the key events that starts this chain reaction of political and military events is Jong Un’s taking control of the country after his father, Kim Jong II, dies in 2012. In real life, the recent military showcase parade in North Korea was painted as a global introduction to Un and it’s an eerie case of reality imitating fiction.
One of the reasons that the new shooter, which is set in 2027, is so immersed in real-world machinations is because a former CIA officer who specialized in North Korea, Tae Kim, worked with the game developer on the story line. He helped outline key global events that took place before 2027 to set the stage for the Hawaiian and then West Coast invasion of the United States by a very large North Korean army comprised of Japan and other Asian countries.
“We created this world in which Kim Jong II dies and his son, Jong Un, unites North and South Korea, taking control of its economy, military personnel and hardware,” said Kim. “At the same time, The U.S. economy is in a decline and there’s a pullback of the U.S. influence and military bases overseas that North Korea is able to take advantage of. In the Middle East, a new conflict between Israel and Iran ties up the European powers and Russia. The U.S. has withdrawn from Iraq and Afghanistan, leaving a power vacuum. China, which has invested so much in the U.S., has become entrenched internally trying to contend with a massive recession that’s the result of the U.S. turmoil.”
Kim said that when Homefront was first announced, a lot of people wondered how plausible it was because North Korea is starving and destitute and a recent famine killed two million people.
“North Korea is a country driven by a hatred of the U.S. and it has a lot incentive to mount something like this and they have the means to do it,” said Kim. “They blame the U.S. for everything that’s wrong with their country.”
Danny Bilson, executive vice president of core games at THQ, said that Kaos Studios worked with three additional CIA experts on Asia to create the plausibility of this game.
“Within the game world, by 2027 the North Koreans have the fourth largest standing army in the world, the second largest special forces division and they’re belligerent,” said Bilson.
In the game, the U.S. military is rendered defenseless by an EMP (electromagnetic pulse) attack that cripples communication and flight. North Korea first attacks and occupies Waikiki by sending in its army on cargo ships under the guise that they’re carrying freed American and foreign nationals. Then San Francisco is attacked and occupied, while North Korean troops overtake key military bases throughout the West Coast. To split the country in half, they eradiate the Mississippi River, thus preventing troops and personnel from venturing West to fight.
Of course, Americans do fight back, which is where the gameplay takes place as guerillas attempt to take their country back one battle at a time.
THQ promoted the game to the videogame industry at E3 in June by taking over the parking lot across the street from the Los Angeles Convention Center with armed North Korean guards. Anyone who did venture to that lot was awarded with free parking.