During a developer session at Eurogamer Expo 2010, Guerrilla Games’ Steven Ter Heide told attendees there were three main complaints gamers had with Killzone 2: variety, controller lag and story.
Speaking with Eurogamer after the session, Ter Heide told the site how the studio plans to address these complaints in Killzone 3.
“Variety is difficult to explain. What people commented on most in terms of variety was the environments themselves,” he said. “They said for the first half of the game you’re stuck in these urban environments. It felt like a corridor shooter. It didn’t feel open or varied. The end of the game had more variety, where you’re also in a desert and a spaceship. But the majority of people didn’t get that far. They only got the initial bit.
“Funnily enough, not a lot of people complete the game. That’s something you see for a lot of games. We track a lot of that data. With the Trophies and the telemetry we gather from the servers, we can see where people are dying a lot, where they’re tailing off and which points don’t work as well.
“We use that to counterbalance what people write on the forums. If they say, yeah, that’s the best thing ever, or it took me a long time to complete that, we can look at the average completion times. We can balance that out. There is a lot of vocal fanbase out there, who shout about a lot of things. But you have to objectively look at it as much as possible and see what is true.
“So, for us, variety was about introducing more variety in the environments. We’ll take you across the planet this time, from alien jungles to the icy plains you’ve just seen, into space, to nuclear wastelands, to the nuclear aftermath of the city. But at the same time the variety in the stuff you do from minute to minute was important. First and foremost it’s a game where your only interaction with the world is through a gun. So we want to make sure that there are different things you get to do and there are different ways you get to play it as well.”
As far as controller lag is concerned, Ter Heide said “it should not have been” in Killzone 2, and the reason for it was the studio became “used to the button configuration being a certain way” during the three-year development time. He also said the team “didn’t get enough objective data to get those kind of bugs out”.
“There are bugs and they should not have been there,” he said. “If you press a button stuff should happen on screen. It’s as simple as that.”
With Killzone 3, the team is focusing more on the Helghast culture than before, showing things from their perspective and giving players a story that should explain why they are doing certain things throughout the gameplay.
“We’re doing a number of different things. What is the story to certain people? For certain people it’s the stuff you do and your objectives, that they make sense and you have context on why you’re doing certain things,” said Ter Heide. “That’s fairly simple to do. That’s not the overarching story. That’s more understanding why you’re there and what it is you need to do, and your body’s giving relevant feedback on the stuff you’re doing. That’s something we needed to address.
“A lot of people commented on the Helghast culture, and they want to know what their planet is like and what their life is like. So we’re focusing in Killzone 3 more on the Helghast side of things. There will be cut-scenes from the Helghast perspective. We’ll show you what’s happening in the world, why things are happening and what their plans are. You get more insight into what makes these enemies tick. That’s important.
“And as the dressing for the whole thing, we’ve taken cues from, we think, a couple of guys who did a good job with storytelling: the guys from Naughty Dog with Uncharted 2. We said, why did people pick up on that? What makes that storytelling so good? They don’t take themselves too seriously. You’re allowed to have fun.”
Killzone 3 launches on February 22 in the US. No Euro date yet, hopefully something will be revealed soon.