Homefront losing the battle at launch

It's been a tough release day for Homefront, the near-future shooter in which players take up arms as American freedom fighters fending off occupation of the heartland by a unified Korea. After a massive marketing campaign, the early reviews indicate the game may struggle living up to the hype. Metacritic currently shows it with a 72 "Metascore" (for Xbox 360) based on 31 review ranging from a high of 93 to a low of 50. This puts it in the "mixed or average" category on the site--a score range almost certainly below publisher THQ's expectations.

Investors wasted no time showing their displeasure with the results. Reuters reports that shares of THQ (THQI) fell more than 20 percent during trading today on the Nasdaq. Volume also spiked to several times its daily average during the steep decline.

The game is also experiencing trouble handling the online load of players trying to get into games. In a post on the official forums, 'KAOS CHEFS' gave this update on the status of the game's dedicated servers.

Homefront’s dedicated servers are currently at capacity, and this is causing some matchmaking issues for players attempting to join an online match.

The demand for the servers has outstripped our expectations – so although we’re thrilled that Homefront is proving to be so popular, we’re doing all we can to bring more servers online to cope with this demand ASAP.

Please bear with us – as more servers come online, you should find you’re able to join matches easily and play Homefront the way it’s meant to be played – with 32 players on dedicated servers.

Even the competition took notice of the situation. Battlefield 3 senior gameplay designer Alan Kertz said on his twitter (as spotted by 'sk3tch' on NeoGAF), "I don't expect KAOS studio to last...THQ was already talking up moving them away from New York." This came after an earlier tweet where Kertz joked about the forum comment of the day being "KAOS should've stuck to making complete mods for DICE games" (KAOS formed from the team behind the popular Desert Combat mod for Battlefield 1942). He also added that DICE is hiring, directly addressing KAOS.

From my experience playing the single-player campaign over the weekend and a number of multiplayer matches, I can't say I'm surprised by the tough reception the game is getting. It would have been tough to live up to the expectations with a perfectly executed game and Homefront misses that mark, particularly in the single-player campaign. I'll have my review in the coming days. In the meantime, if you're playing the game share your experiences in the comments.