Freedom Fighters, originally titled Freedom: The Battle For Liberty Island, is a 2003 third-person shooter video game available for the PlayStation 2, Nintendo GameCube, Xbox and Microsoft Windows that is set in an alternate history. The player takes the role of Christopher Stone, a plumber-turned American Resistance movement leader who fights against the Red Army that invades and occupies New York City. It was developed by IO Interactive, using a modified version of the Hitman 2: Silent Assassin game engine, and published by Electronic Arts.
Freedom Fighters is a third-person shooter, in which the player navigates through the streets of New York while fighting the Soviet forces. The game also contains squad-based elements, having a charisma meter. The player gains charisma by performing heroic deeds in the resistance movement against the invading forces, like capturing a base or destroying vital supplies. The more charisma that is gained, the more squadmates the character can recruit, including leaderless guerrillas and wounded Russian soldiers, up to a maximum of twelve.
Freedom Fighters uses a simple method of controlling recruits in battle. In the game, the player can command recruits by giving them simple orders such as "follow", "attack", and "defend", but in most situations, they take care of themselves. Given the terrain of New York City after the initial invasion, the Resistance usually stations its soldiers in covered positions like craters and buildings.
Multiplayer revolves around securing flags and bunkers. The flag that a player needs to capture and hold is usually in the center of the map. Bunkers are positioned around the map, and spawn either Soviet soldiers or American freedom fighters. Players can know who the bunkers belong to because of a star above each one; a Soviet bunker is marked by a red star, while an American bunker is marked by a blue star. In each game, there can be up to four players, who can choose between the Soviet and American sides. Each side has a different set of weapons. The players can switch weapons in battle. In each map, there are several areas where weapons and ammunition are stored. Each bunker also has one medical kit and one ammunition can, so every bunker is vitally important. Each player also has their charisma meter set to eight, so each player can have a maximum of eight soldiers under their command; however, if it is a four-player battle, each player can control a maximum of four soldiers. The players can select a map to fight in: Greenwich Village, where there are four bunkers surrounding the flag; Brooklyn Rooftops, with four adjacent bunkers with the flag between the middle two bunkers on a building; and Fort Jay, a nighttime scene with four bunkers at the edge of the map with the flag in the middle.
In an alternate present time, the Soviet Union brings an end to World War II by dropping the first atomic bomb on Berlin, redefining history. As a result, the Soviet Union never collapsed; it instead became the world superpower. Europe changed from capitalism to communism with Great Britain as the last to join the communist bloc, albeit reluctantly. The Iron Curtain was extended to most of Asia, the Middle East and South America. Now, they are sending in their army to liberate America.
Chris and Troy Stone, plumbers, travel to meet with their next client - an Anti-Communist activist named Isabella Angelina. The Stones appear at her condominium only to find no one home, until Soviet soldiers led by General Tatarin raid the condo, seizing Troy. Soon after, Soviet air and ground forces begin their assault on New York City (and presumably the rest of the Country). Amidst the attack on the city, Chris escapes to the streets, allied with a man named Mr. Jones and resistance member Phil Bagzton. They plan and carry out a rescue for Isabella, who was being held at a New York police station, and shortly thereafter, Chris successfully rescues Troy, who was being held hostage at a post office. Then the group retreat to the underground sewers as New York City falls to the Soviet invasion, along with the rest of the United States.
A couple of months after the invasion, Chris becomes known as the Freedom Phantom within the Soviet controlled-media, SAFN. Chris, Phil, and Isabella sabotage key Soviet facilities and reclaim territories within New York City, while at the same time building a strong resistance group consisting of New York's inhabitants and disillusioned Soviet soldiers. Despite fierce resistance, they manage to do serious damage to the Soviet Army. During this time, Troy is captured by the Soviet forces while recruiting more freedom fighters and is tortured into revealing the true identity of the Freedom Phantom to the media. He is later forced to make a public statement to Chris and the resistance group, reluctantly pleading them to cease their actions. While being led away he suddenly returns to the podium, urging Chris to keep fighting. For his defiant actions, Troy is taken to Governor's Island and is executed by General Tatarin.
Mr. Jones reveals the grim news to Chris, suggesting retaliation in the form of an assassination against General Tatarin. Jones' reasons for this are twofold: firstly, it will allow Chris to avenge his brother; and secondly, Soviet forces will be greatly weakened by the loss of Tatarin's leadership. Chris succeeds in killing Tatarin and escapes Governor's Island, only to return to find Isabella missing and the resistance's main base occupied by the Soviets. Mr. Jones reveals himself to be Soviet Colonel Bulba, head of the KGB, explaining that this was how he managed to supply the resistance with the information on the Soviet occupiers. Chris escapes with Phil Bagzton and The Kid to another underground base. SAFN later reports on the death of Tatarin, Colonel Bulba's promotion to General, and the destruction of the resistance in New York.
During the winter, Chris, Phil, and The Kid lead an increasingly determined resistance in Soviet-controlled New York City, climaxing with a raid on the SAFN Studios. They use the station to send a broadcast encouraging the people of New York and beyond to bring an end to the Soviet occupation. Chris, Phil, and The Kid plan a final strategy against the Soviet occupation: an all-out assault on Governor's Island consisting of all available resistance fighters from New York. After taking over the island and rescuing Isabella, the resistance group celebrate their victory over the Soviets.
Christopher Stone AKA "The Freedom Phantom" - Co-leader of the Manhattan Resistance. Brooklyn born and raised, Chris was a plumber before the Soviet invasion of the USA. He did not believe his brother's anti-communist rantings, nor did he take any interest in the signs that a long-planned Soviet invasion was imminent. Chris escapes the forces of the Red Army and General Tatarin, going underground on the first day of the occupation. He goes on to become a famed- and infamous- leader of the New York resistance, called "The Freedom Phantom" first by the Soviets and later by both sides of the fighting.
Isabella Angelina - Co-leader of the Manhattan Resistance. Prior to the invasion Isabella was a political activist, leader of the "Warning Against Reds" movement. She becomes a prominent leader in the New York resistance and plays a key role in its liberation from the Soviets.
Troy Stone - Manhattan Resistance member, brother of Chris Stone. Troy, formerly a plumber alongside his brother, is captured by General Tatarin as the Soviets invade. Rescued days later in a resistance raid on an occupied post office, Troy joins the resistance but soon leaves New York City, planning to find and aid resistance movements elsewhere. Captured again during a Soviet raid, Troy is forced to read a prepared statement, asking Chris and the resistance to surrender. As he is being led away, however, Troy abruptly commandeers the podium to make a short but far more sincere speech, yelling defiantly for his brother to never give up the fight. Furious with his actions, the Soviets take Troy to Governor's Island, where he is personally executed by General Tatarin. Troy faces his end bravely, never once betraying his brother or the resistance.
Mr. Jones - Manhattan Resistance military and intelligence advisor. Too old to be effective in combat, Mr. Jones aids the resistance as an intelligence expert, directing many of its operations early on. It is not known exactly what he did prior to the Soviet invasion, nor is it known where he gets all the information he has.
Colonel Bulba - Head of KGB in New York City, Bulba infiltrates the New York resistance on the day of its formation, posing as "Mr. Jones". He decides against destroying the resistance immediately, instead deliberately aiding it and even directing Chris to kill Bulba's superior, General Tatarin. A triumphant Bulba reveals his true identity to Chris afterward, and upon his promotion to general vows to hunt down Chris and the remaining resistance members "like sewer rats". He does not appear during the assault on Fort Jay, however, and his status and location are unknown at the game's end.
Phil Bagzton - Manhattan Resistance munitions expert. Phil joins the New York resistance on the day of the Soviet invasion, having been rescued by Chris and Mr. Jones after being shot by Red Army soldiers. He quickly proves to be little more than a cowardly braggart, constantly boasting but almost never seeing actual combat. Despite this, however, Phil is dedicated to the resistance and never betrays or abandons it, being one of those fortunate enough to escape with Chris when Colonel Bulba attacks resistance headquarters.
The Kid - Manhattan Resistance supporter, deals with information, logistics, and putting messages of freedom on walls with graffiti, having little else to do since his boarding school was shut down by the Soviets.
General Vasillj Tatarin - Commander of the Soviet Occupation Force in the US and the primary antagonist until his death. Born in 1958 in the Asian Soviet republic of Uzbekistan, General Tatarin is a field warrior, hailing from a long line of soldiers. Tatarin is a highly skilled and accomplished soldier, the subject of great loyalty and respect from the men under his command. He is as brutal as he is charismatic, personally executing Troy Stone when he refuses to cooperate with Soviet demands. When Tatarin is assassinated by Chris in retaliation, Tatarin is buried with full military honors, becoming a martyr to the Red Army forces he once led.
Tatiana Kempinski - Soviet propaganda newscaster. Educated partly in the United States, spending several years there prior to the invasion, but as staunch a follower of the Soviet cause as anyone. Kempinski is a news anchor at SAFN studios in New York City, regularly broadcasting what the Soviet government wants the people of New York to know. She is not seen during the resistance assault on SAFN studios and, like Colonel Bulba, her whereabouts are completely unknown at the end of the game.
The Freedom Fighters original soundtrack was composed by Jesper Kyd and released on September 29, 2003 by Sumthing Else and Nano Studios. It was GameSpot's "Best Game Soundtrack of the Year 2003" and Game Reactor Magazine's "Best Game Music of the Year". Tracks 1, 2, 3, 9, 10, 14 and 16 are performed by The Hungarian Radio Choir. The music has grand, Soviet-style, choral arrangements and the synth parts bring Vangelis to mind, indeed one reviewer referred to it as "Vangelis on steroids".
He describes his thinking behind the score thus:
“ I researched Russian music scales and specifically what makes Russian music so unique. The history of the Soviet Union and the Cold War conflict were also major contributing influences.
Not many people know this but I wrote the Freedom Fighters score in Manhattan right after 9/11. It was quite a strange time writing music for a story about a foreign power invading Manhattan.
I spent a lot of my time just playing the game to get a real, in-depth sense of the experiences that I needed to dramatize. I probably spent way too much time playing the game, but I just loved the fact that you could become a freedom fighter and help free New York City from an invading army.
On April 6, 2004 Eidos UK revealed plans for the sequel. Eidos announced it would distribute the sequel in the first half of its financial year 2006, which would mean the latter part of 2005. However IO Interactive announced development of a new intellectual property, Kane & Lynch: Dead Men, casting the future of a Freedom Fighters sequel in doubt. In late 2007 a representative of IO said in an interview about the upcoming Kane & Lynch: Dead Men that a sequel for Freedom Fighters was still on the company's 'to-do' list.