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Homefront misses with critics, THQ stock takes a beating [Updated]

Homefront Spooked by disappointing reviews of THQ's newest action title, Homefront, investors pummeled the game publisher's stock Tuesday, pushing it down $1.25, or 21%, to $4.69.

Homefront, the most expensive project undertaken by the Agoura Hills game publisher, takes place in a dystopian future in which North Korean forces occupy the United States. The game, based on a script by John Milius, puts players in the shoes of a civilian resistance fighter.

The game garnered a relatively weak average score of 72 out of 100 from 28 reviews by Tuesday afternoon, according to Metacritic, a site that aggregates reviews. A score of 80 is considered the minimum required for a shooter game such as Homefront to be commercially viable.

Not all reviewers had weighed in by then, however, including two influential game sites, Gamespot and Kotaku.

So far, players seem eager to snap up Homefront to see for themselves. On Amazon, Homefront was the No. 1-selling game, outselling Pokemon Black Version and Pokemon White Version, two hot sellers from Nintendo. Strong pre-orders, or customers who paid in advance to have a copy of the game sent to them on the day it releases, have put Homefront on Amazon's top 100 titles for 28 days. To break even, THQ has said it needs to sell 2 million copies of Homefront.

The title is the first of several by the struggling game publisher, which is attempting to transform itself from a maker of lightweight games into a company that competes in the high-stakes arena of big-budget titles, hiring a former film and TV scriptwriter, Danny Bilson, to head up its creative efforts.

Brian Farrell, the chief executive of THQ, said in an interview that he was not concerned about the review scores.

"The game seems to resonate with consumers," Farrell said, noting that the title received the largest pre-orders for any single title in the company's history. "It's a mass-market title. Let's see what players think."

Among professional game critics, there seems to be little consensus on the title. Reviews of the game  ranged widely, from a low of 50 to a high of 93. Twelve out of the 28 reviews were 80 or above, and many gave the game's multi-player portion decent marks. The harshest review, from Destructoid, said, "For all of the campaign’s missteps and missed opportunities, there is a silver lining for Homefront: its multiplayer."

For many players of the shooter genre, the multi-player mode, in which as many as 32 people can play online against one another at once, is the most important aspect.

UPDATED 1:50 p.m.: This post was updated to include THQ's closing stock price and to encompass more recent reviews of Homefront.

-- Alex Pham and Ben Fritz


Danny Bilson aims for turnaround at THQ with video game Homefront

Photo: A scene from Homefront. Credit: THQ.

Comments () | Archives (10)

It's down over 23% now, at 2:53pm on Wall Street. I'm pretty shocked. I think this game is better than that. Luckily, I sold my little lot of shares this morning when it was only down 10%...which still sucks. It rose 6% yesterday in anticipation, and I was expecting it to do well today in spite of the market dump.

I think this is a major over-reaction. Maybe this is good though. We can buy THQI now while it's sooo, sooo low and I'm pretty sure it will at least make a modest rebound. This isn't the greatest stock/company for an investor, but I see some opportunity for traders. We're mighty close to that low target price set out by analysts on this over-swing. So I say we need to play this opportunity, but use a LOT of caution.

THQI still hasn't fully convinced me on fundamentals. So I won't be making a long-term investment here yet.

Was going to pick this up until I received a registration renewal in the mail from the DMV. $160! AND I have to get the car smogged (another $30). Jeez. I dont know whats worse, a 5 hour-$60 game with sub par graphics and unoriginal multiplayer, or standing around at the DMV for 4 hours. Im choosing the DMV over Homefront. I could wait, the registration isn't due till June, but I'd rather satnd around the DMV then blame myself for spending full price on a game that will be bargain bin in a few weeks.

I am just a little skeptical about this article. The number one selling game and being in the top 100 titles on Amazon for nearly a month is dropping in stocks? I got this game and other than some connectivity issues with the servers this morning, it looks to give the COD franchise a run for its money. Plus with PS3 users feeling slighted by Activision and Microsofts exclusivity agreements -- this game should do well on PS3.

i was highly disappointed with this game. if your are looking for a game that takes absolutely no skill to jump into this is the game for you. there is no site movement , even when snipping, so shooting an enemy become pointless. This alone makes it to where no matter the experience of the player doesn't really matter. if there is nothing to learn and only to be all player friendly this game should be rated G. Just be Cause the game is violent and a few words are thrown around does not make it Competition to games like Call of Duty. if you would like a shooters preview i suggest playing Meddle of Honer to compare with Homefront there are differences but its just a feel. another thing, large name First person shooters found out that allowing player to play with friends even when their friends do not own the game will eventually get it because their friends have it. if this game was amazing i could understand that they want you to play alone, but it's so where does that leave this game soon to be on sale in a game resale store for about $20.

I feel bad for THQ.

Somthing is amiss here. Not sure how number one seller on Amazon and in the top 100 for nearly a month can be a stock dropper.

' a company that competes in the high-stakes arena of big-budget titles, hiring a former film and TV scriptwriter, Danny Bilson, to head up its creative efforts.'
Uh, Danny Bilson was a mostly failed talent in Hollywood, so he set his "creative" efforts on games. And this is the grand result. What was Bilson's last decent movie, The Rocketeer? Wasn't that like 20 years ago?
People should recognize when they are beyond their years for their industry and head out to pasture....

I guess right wing paranoia doesn't pay as much as it used to.

what a load of fetid dingo kidneys. The forums are full of people complaining about the multiplayer aspect, so many of us cannot connect to servers, this is including PC, Xbox, PS3.

The multiplayer aspect of this game is AMAZING! One of the best games that I've played. Can't wait to get off of work and go play tonight! I recommend this game to anyone that is into First person shooters.


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