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Killzone: Shadow Fall set to showcase PS4 tech

Thursday, 13th June 2013 21:25 GMT By Patrick Garratt

Killzone: Shadow Fall aims to be a poster-child for PS4′s new features and a new direction in its own right. Patrick Garratt speaks to Guerrilla in LA.

“We want to make it a showcase for everything on PlayStation 4, and that includes the inputs. Simple things are included such as the light-bar indicating health, but we’ve also implemented the touchpad. And it’s not at all tagged on.”

Some games don’t work well in the trade show environment. Bethesda’s RPGs, for example, present a nightmare for PR as it’s impossible to understand the concept of something like Skyrim if you play it for eight minutes surrounded by hassled reps and huffing men carrying “swag”. Shooters don’t normally suffer as badly from the problem as it’s easy to show five looped seconds of gunplay. Killzone: Shadow Fall is different. And getting to grips with it in the few minutes available for E3 demos isn’t easy.

Luckily, we got a seat in a 30-minute hands-off demo with Guerrilla head Herman Hulst and director Steven Ter Heide in addition to a quick play. I’m glad we did: the PS4 launch title isn’t as two-dimensional as your average FPS.

Guerrilla is open about the reason why: the title’s designed as a showcase for the console’s new features.

“There are a lot of PS4 platform features this game will make use of,” said Hulst. “Pretty much everything is there. Seemingly mundane features like PlayGo? We’ll make sure that works with this game, so you can start right away as the rest of the game downloads. We’ll do Remote Play. You can enjoy it on your Vita as well.

“Essentially we want to make it a showcase for everything on PlayStation 4, and that includes the inputs. Simple things are included such as the light-bar indicating health, but we’ve also implemented the touchpad. And it’s not at all tagged on.”

In addition to a myriad of inputs, Shadow Fall features levels on a far larger scale than those seen in previous Killzone games. Objectives are ordered as the players sees fit, with the overall effect more Far Cry 3 than anything traditionally expected from the Dutch studio. Coupled with the touchpad, the effect is relatively complex.

For instance. You have a flying companion droid called OWL (it isn’t an acronym as yet: the team’s still trying to think one up). It has four different modes. It can attack, stun, shield or create a zipline for you to cross over to platforms too far away to reach by jumping. You select a mode by swiping in the corresponding direction on the touchpad then point and tap L2 to tell OWL where to do whatever you want it to do. You have to think about it.

As well as the OWL controls, your d-pad allows your to take med packs, do a radar-style enemy scan and more. Then you have the fact you’re involved in large environments you can traverse any way you wish. And dropping off ziplines for melee kills. And climbing. You can combine ziplines, shooting, melee, bullet-time, crowd control, flanking and whatever else. It isn’t a simple game. Hulst described Shadow Fall’s play as “more thoughtful”. While it’s possible to approach combat as you like, though, Killzone is still Killzone.

“I don’t want to present it as a stealth game,” said Hulst. “It’s covert gameplay. You’re a super soldier, and you have to engage in combat. The abilities are centred around combat.”

The violence is instantly recognisable. You click the right stick to snap necks and slash throats, and the gunplay is Killzone to the core, OWL or not. While plenty has been added to the traditional Killzone formula with Shadow Fall, Guerrilla is mindful of its roots.

“We’re not going to drop what we liked about the visceral fighting, metre for metre. We’re also going to have that in this game.”

“We don’t want to just create this,” said Hulst, talking of the open levels and freeform approach to objective completion. “We’re not going to drop what we liked about the visceral fighting, metre for metre. We’re also going to have that in this game. There’ll be plenty of areas that are open with varying objectives in different orders, but on top of that, for varieties sake, and for what we like about it, we’re going to have that too.”

But Shadow Fall is new, and represents a new direction for the classic shooter.

“It’s something the new platform has made possible for us, creating fantastical worlds with very high fidelity,” said Ter Heide. “To do that with large open areas that you need to populate with AI rather than faking a lot of stuff in the distance, you need a lot of horsepower. It was just an opportunity to look at the franchise and say, ‘What can we do? What have we always wanted to do?’”

I played the Shadow Fall demo straight after the presentation. Five minutes in, after getting distracted by a large facility in which it’s possible to kit-up for later fighting, I hit the main objective of a downed ship. Helghast surrounded it. I tried to stun them with OWL, missed, aggroed everyone, shot a guy, stabbed someone in the neck, sent OWL up a tree and fell off a wall. And died. I have a feeling that when Killzone: Shadow Fall comes together it’s going to be Guerrilla’s finest hour. I just wish I had a fine hour to get used to it: some games don’t work well in the trade show environment, and normally that’s an indication you’re looking at something special.

Killzone: Shadow Fall will release as a PlayStation 4 launch title this year.

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29 Comments

  1. monkeygourmet

    Holy crap…

    Game looks boring as hell. What else is out on launch, I’m not really feeling this linear looking snooze fest…

    #1 2 years ago
  2. Lengendaryboss

    “Five minutes in, after getting distracted by a large facility in which it’s possible to kit-up for later fighting, I hit the main objective of a downed ship. Helghast surrounded it. I tried to stun them with OWL, missed, aggroed everyone, shot a guy, stabbed someone in the neck, sent OWL up a tree and fell off a wall. And died.” Sounds like the perfect play through for a new gamer :D great read Pat.

    #2 2 years ago
  3. Biscuitpants

    game looks so shit, looks exactly like 3 and 2, last good killzone was the second game

    #3 2 years ago
  4. Erthazus

    Not really.

    inFamous 2 is a better showcase or even third party titles.

    #4 2 years ago
  5. Lengendaryboss

    @Monkey
    Knack, Driveclub, Watch Dogs, AC 4BF, FIFA 14 (in addition to other sports games) loads of Indie games, can’t think of anything else of the top of my head.

    #5 2 years ago
  6. monkeygourmet

    @5

    I’m hopefully getting my PC finished next month, will prob go for Watchdogs on that.

    Looks like its Indies games all the way! :)

    #6 2 years ago
  7. themadjock

    Day1… I assume the vita rear touch pad will mirror the DS4 front touch pad

    #7 2 years ago
  8. Citrus raptor

    I’ve played both Killzone 2 and 3, but I am lost storywise. How the hell did the Helghans end up on Vecta, and why would any authority agree that it’s ok for them to have an army?

    Could be wrong, since I don’t know what’s going on, but it seems like a cool and ‘deep’ Berlin wall parallel premiss for the sake of it, even though it’s contrived.

    #8 2 years ago
  9. zinc

    4th times the charm. This is going to be Guerilla’s CoD4!

    HYPE!!

    #9 2 years ago
  10. polygem

    hey remember mg, if you have ps+ the ps4 comes with driveclub and 3 indy games right out of the box. it´s a good start imo. i´ll prolly pick knack up too, maybe watchdogs…still hoping for a few more announcements though, that´s for sure.

    #10 2 years ago
  11. Lengendaryboss

    @Citrus
    The Helghast lost their home world Helghan, then the ISA (Known as VSA in Shadow Fall) agreed to let the Helghast live peacefully on Vekta separated by a wall (i am guessing this is a peace treaty) and they are free to go on as normal i guess, thats my take on it.

    #11 2 years ago
  12. Patrick Garratt

    Re story. Shadow Fall’s set 40 years after KZ3.

    #12 2 years ago
  13. Citrus raptor

    Ah, ok, so it’s kind of ISA ‘forcing’ Vekta and Helghan (what’s left of it) to play nice, but it gets too tense?

    That would explain the “one wrong move and this all blows up in our face” monologue.

    Not as bad as I though.

    #13 2 years ago
  14. Lengendaryboss

    @Pat
    Its 30, not 40.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Killzone:_Shadow_Fall

    #14 2 years ago
  15. Lengendaryboss

    @Citrus
    Exactly.

    #15 2 years ago
  16. Patrick Garratt

    @14 – Yep, you’re right.

    #16 2 years ago
  17. ps3fanboy

    bring on the halo killer, its gonna be awsome :D

    #17 2 years ago
  18. laughing-gravy

    I see the troll boys are out in force again. :-)

    #18 2 years ago
  19. ultramega

    @1
    Uhhh… I don’t even know why I’m bothering to respond to the trolls, but this trailer is pretty shit. It’s only just more than a minute long. Watch the twenty minute stage demo. The game is far more open than past Killzones. And Guerilla made a point of stating that, too.

    #19 2 years ago
  20. Lengendaryboss

    @Ultramega
    Monkey is no troll, thats just his opinion.

    #20 2 years ago
  21. zinc

    @20, Whilst Monkey is a huge troll & should be banned instantly!

    Its because of his constant Nintendo bum-kissing , not his belief Killzone is dull.

    Lets face it, Guerilla have had 3 games to tell us that :)

    p.s. Though i’m sure this one will rock!!

    #21 2 years ago
  22. Sang2

    @3 Where you watching it in 240p?, if so put it on 1080p so you can see that your comment is wrong.

    #22 2 years ago
  23. Bill_E_Talent

    Wow, it seems half the people commenting on the article didn’t even bother to read it.

    This actually is starting to sound quite promising, looking forward to it.
    Thanks for the write up Pat.

    #23 2 years ago
  24. machy

    killzone is one of the greatest fps out there … and I can say that GG will take advantage for being lunch title and hock every body to kz and sit a new standers for fps genera

    #24 2 years ago
  25. G1GAHURTZ

    ^ What, you mean just like Insomniac did with Resistance?

    #25 2 years ago
  26. BrahManDude

    i like the heavy gunplay you have to sink in time to really appreciate what the game offers and it sets itself apart from COD and Battlefield wich still to this day no other game has 1st person cover other than Killzone so “F” off haters i heard COD has a dog why don’t you go pay $60 for the same rehash

    #26 2 years ago
  27. Ireland Michael

    I don’t care much for shooters, but its hard to deny that the game isn’t pretty as fuck.

    Killzone has its own definite unique feel to it. The same sadly couldn’t be said for Resistance. I couldn’t keep playing the Killzone games though. They were like an insane sensory overload. My eyes and head literally couldn’t handle all the shit being thrown at me from the screen. It was too much.

    #27 2 years ago
  28. redwood

    @1 it’s not linear.. you can re-organize your objectives as you wish.. and the levels are huge. so no.. definitely pretty non-linear.. but it’s also not open world.

    #28 2 years ago
  29. DrDamn

    @19
    Nah MG is not a troll but he didn’t really read the article if his first comment is about linearity.

    #29 2 years ago

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