Killzone 2: Exclusive Guerrilla Interview
Kikizo gets a rare opportunity to sit down with the top staff at Guerrilla, for a detailed interview on the most talked about game of this gen: Killzone 2 for the PS3.
By Adam Doree
It's tough to introduce a Killzone 2 interview without mentioning the original 'target trailer' and the controversy that surrounded it more than two years ago. It can't be proven, but some say that the 'real' game didn't even exist at the time, off paper at least, which is one of the things we challenge the developer about in this feature.
But here's the thing: we don't really care any more. Couldn't care less about the creative positioning two years ago, the carefully chosen words of Phil Harrison or which team, supposedly in Scotland, got their hands dirty. The reason why? Today, Killzone 2 is without question the most visually striking game we have seen on any console. Seriously. And best of all, it's 100% the real thing. This, arguably, is the showcase that PS3 was made for.
This isn't hyperbole - we didn't expect all that much based on the screenshots or, let's face it, the achievements of the original. But in motion, first-hand, this is a visual DEMON of graphical prowess. Somehow even the trailer shown at E3 doesn't do justice to the experience of really sitting down in front of it and taking time to become immersed. The only real-time thing we've seen with our own eyes that comes close graphically is Rage, (and yes, we've seen everything from Fallout 3 to Halo 3), but we're talking about the PC version of Rage, and you can bet it wasn't running on a crusty Pentium 3 box when id's boss showed it to us, that's for sure.
We met with Steven Ter Heide, Producer on Killzone 2 at Guerrilla Games, and Mathijs De Jonge, the project's Game Director. It's safe to say these guys know all the dirty little secrets, but more interestingly of course, they can also explain how they've managed to turn around the turbulent story of this flagship PS3 project. And, yet more importantly than that, whether the game itself will actually be any cop this time, regardless of how pretty it may be.
Steven and Mathijs strike us as two nice development chaps who are finally allowed to talk. No doubt with an NDA or two still stuffed up their shirts, this is a duo clearly excited about finally showing off Killzone 2, and today seem to have little to hide. They're as accommodating as possible on all questions, and also had no pretentious objections about media filming their recent demonstrations, unlike the majority of demos of this significance that media see these days. There's no turning back.
Our chat followed a lengthy no-smoke-or-mirrors demonstration and first-hand play around with the game's third mission (yes, the same level shown back at E3 - although not this intimately - that also plays host to the recent trailer), but with a lot more time to go into more detail on the new features and of course, play it. Enjoy the interview.
YOUR ESSENTIAL KILLZONE 2 GUIDE...
This is one of several special Killzone 2 features celebrating one of PS3's biggest games ever. If you've been tracking this huge title, here you can catch up on anything you've missed...
- Killzone 2: Exclusive Guerrilla Interview 1: Steven Ter Heide (Producer) & Mathijs De Jonge (Director) (Sep 7, 2007)
- Killzone 2: Multiplayer Beta Hands-On Preview: Extensive playtest of the latest multiplayer build (13 Nov, 2008)
- Killzone 2: Singleplayer Hands-On (Dec 9, 2008)
- Exclusive Guerilla Interview 2: Eric Boltjes and Angie Smets (Online Multiplayer Producers) (Dec 22, 2008)
- 10 Ways to Not Get Owned in Killzone 2 (Jan 23, 2009)
- Discussion: Killzone 2 Surpasses Target Renders (Jan, 2009)
- Killzone 2: The $545 Press Kit Exposed! (Jan 23, 2009)
- Killzone 2: The Review (Feb 2, 2009)
- Feature: Killzone 2 Successor (Feb 27, 2009)
Killzone 2 Coverage Center
Kikizo: One thing I wanted to clear up first - at one stage we were under the impression that Killzone 2 was going to be a PS2 sequel, and obviously this is now called Killzone 2. So was there at some stage, or is there still, some sort of PS2 project in development?
Heide: We have no PS2 title in development; we're working exclusively on PS3 now.
Kikizo: If you think back to the core criticisms of the original PS2 game, what would you highlight as things that you've really looked to improve this time?
Heide: AI is obviously key. Everyone needs to behave in a manner that challenges the player. We've made sure that enemies behave differently and recognise, 'OK, that's a guy running up to me, that's a guy playing with cover there', recognising that different behaviour. And we have to accommodate different players' talents; by working in a big system that allows you to play more tactically, we've got different kinds of weapons that all suit different playing styles, for instance we have a sub-machinegun which is a good short range weapon, so for anyone who likes to 'run and gun', that's a great weapon to have. But of course some players like to run into a big open space and hope that you'll make it out alive.
In terms of the gameplay mechanics that we've got in here, the enemies as well as the allies are taking cover, and using something we call lean and peek, which the player can do also. We've implemented something we call 'first person lean and peek...
Jonge: The 'duck and cover' system worked quite well in Killzone Liberation, and made the game more tactical, so we want to apply that same kind of feature to this game. What we've got here is if you stand close to low cover and press the left second shoulder button, then you will latch onto the cover; you can still look around and move sideways, but if you push forward, you can stand up and fire over the cover. You can also press the fire button to blind fire over the cover. And with high cover, you can move to the side, step out, and fire at enemies; it's a very simple mechanic but very intuitive and easy to use. So you'll be scanning the environment for objects that you can use for cover.
Heide: You probably also noticed that we're jumping over objects now! That's something that we didn't have in the original Killzone, but something that we have in Killzone 2, but we still wanted to keep it realistic, so it's not that you're hopping all over the place while you're firing your weapon. You can jump and not fire your weapon, and as soon as you land you can fire again. But that means that small obstacles are not a problem; you can get to areas that otherwise you might not have gotten. So, we've got lean and peek in place, which is very intuitive, and lots of weapons of different abilities. So I think there's new variety in terms of the AI and gameplay there compared to the original.
Kikizo: OK, it looks fantastic now, but let me ask, what was the actual game on PS3 like back in May 2005?
Heide: Er... well, we've all seen the trailer! That trailer portrayed the ambition we had for the game...
Kikizo: What was the 'actual' game like back at that time?