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Killzone: Shadow Fall multiplayer – more for the Warzone

Tuesday, 24th September 2013 12:51 GMT By Patrick Garratt

Do anything, kill anyone. Killzone: Shadow Fall follows the current multiplayer trend of allowing you to alter content as you wish. Patrick Garratt gets shot-up in Guerrilla’s Warzone.

“We really wanted a game that evolves with the community, that listens to the community, that changes over time according to what the community wants.”

Killzone’s multiplayer can get overlooked. It’s easy to focus on the shooter’s more obvious story elements, but it’s silly to ignore a mature online component, especially now we’re entering an era of always-on, privacy-waiving gaming. Shadow Fall, the first Killzone game for PS4, is definitely where you should start paying attention.

Eric Boltjes, lead designer, showed off Shadow Fall’s multiplay in Cologne this summer, and highlighted the team’s three main goals when putting the latest effort together: easy access, depth of gameplay and future content.

“Is doesn’t matter if you buy it day-one or come in a year later; we want you to be able to just jump in and have fun,” he said, “but we do want gameplay you can master, gameplay you can get better at.”

He added: “We really wanted a game that evolves with the community, that listens to the community, that changes over time according to what the community wants.”

To make Shadow Fall easy to jump into, all abilities and weapons have been unlocked from the start.

“You don’t have to grind for hundreds of hours to get the weapon you want,” said Boltjes. But, just in case you want to grind for hundreds of hours anyway (who doesn’t?), Guerrilla’s added a Challenge system instead of the more usual XP-based time system of progression. The Challenges are tailored towards the different play-styles, and there are over 1,500 at launch.

Completing Challenges does more than levelling your character; they also unlock improvements. You can specialise in various types of weapons, for example, adding new scopes and attachments. And you get visual rewards for your Player Card, such as badges for being a decent medic or sniper.

Classes play an important part in Shadow Fall, which is generally more tactical than your average console FPS.

“This time we’ve tailored the three different classes to very specific types of play-style,” says Boltjes. “For example, the Scout is for the player that wants to strike from the shadows: short range and very long range. He has specific abilities and specific weapons tailored to that type of play-style. We also have the Assault, a run-and-gun front-line type of guy. Lastly we have the Support, who is all about team-play. He has the ability to spawn beacons, ammo boxes and so on. His weapons are medium range.”

While classes have been tweaked for Shadow Fall, it’s the creation of Warzones, custom games, that has the potential to make Guerrilla’s latest stand out.

Warzones are extensively customisable, to a similar level of Assassin’s Creed 4′s GameLab: you can change pretty much everything. You can specify weapons, types of permitted kills, classes, and whatever else you like, stacking modes end-to-end with varying time constraints or score limits. With eight play modes in total, the amount of variety is stupefying. You can do anything, including making it ranked or unranked or ranking it only on specific actions, such as completing headshots. It’s up to you.

As with AC4, multiplayer mode creations are shareable, allowing other players to get involved instantly.

“Guerrilla’s created a whole bunch of Warzones that we like, the official Warzones, but we’re really anxious to see what the community’s going to do with them,” said Boltjes.

Popular or interesting playlists will be featured on the game’s front-page, giving more creative players some deserved recognition.

The game ships with ten levels, but “post-launch we want to release a lot more maps and content,” said Boltjes. “The good thing about this is that all these post-launch maps are free. We’re also going to release custom Warzone options and other types of expansion packs as well, to keep the community alive and to give the community what they want.”

Clan support is coming, and there’s identity customization and “much more” Boltjes doesn’t have time to talk about. He wanted us to get on and play.

We took on two different Warzones against Guerrilla team members in Amsterdam. The second was more memorable, consisting of four different play-types stacked together to show how the system works in its entirety. Each team was attacking, defending and holding points in stages based on timers and other criteria. While waiting to games to start, I flicked through the amount of variables on offer: there were a lot, even within the constraints of the Warzone. You could alter all of your weapons and gear, although, again, this can be fixed should you wish. The map itself was multi-levelled and featured safe spawning areas at the back protected by forcefield curtains. You could spawn further up the map if Support class players had dropped the appropriate kit.

The match went on for some time. My team eventually lost. While it’s likely there are going to be questions of the general speed of play (after CoD et al, it’s probably safe to describe the pace of Shadow Fall’s multiplayer as “contemplative”), it’s the variety that stands out. It’s a lot easier to stay interested when the mode switches from deathmatch to domination to CtF every five minutes and you’re constantly swapping classes and gear.

There’s so much to fiddle with here. You should take a look for the same reason Assassin’s Creed 4′s multiplayer shouldn’t be ignored: it’s huge. And, luckily, it appears to be fun. It certainly kept a group of boss-eyed journalists happy for an hour on a gruelling gamescom afternoon.

Killzone: Shadow Fall is a PlayStation 4 launch title.

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27 Comments

  1. monkeygourmet

    I can understand why MS didn’t have a shooter ready for launch.

    This has to go up against COD & BF4 multiplyer. It’s going to get buried, even if it’s the better game.

    I would have thought Infamous would have been a better launch title, then save this for after the COD / BF war had died down.

    #1 11 months ago
  2. VibraniumSpork

    @1 Have to agree. As far as next-gen FPS go this is very much David vs. Goliath…except here are there are two Goliath’s and they’ve both practiced shit-kicking for a thousand years.

    I thought Killzone: Mercenary on the Vita was a great primer for Shadowfall though; it definitely reVitalised (heh) my interest in the franchise enough to pre-order it for the PS4 launch. But then, how many people overall can the Vita really bring to the table?

    To make this shift they really need to announce that PS4 Killzone bundle for more Western territories. This late in the day though that’s starting to feel less and less likely.

    #2 11 months ago
  3. monkeygourmet

    @2

    Im hoping to grab a PS4 on launch although I never pre-order. Im hoping my local independant gamestore will have 1 or 2 extra on launch day (they usually do).

    A Killzone bundle would be perfect for me as i’m assuming most people will buy the stand alone console.

    I have a feeling BF4 is going to be a bit lacklustre on next gen consoles. 60fps but maybe locked at 720p or 900p?

    COD is bound to do well though, as per usual.

    #3 11 months ago
  4. torjs99

    i’ll be buying killzone. you can keep cod and bf4.

    #4 11 months ago
  5. DrDamn

    With BF4 possibly not being what it should be and CoD now too fast for me I’m quite interested in this too. It’ll be the best looking for sure and with 60fps promised for MP and no aim assist I reckon it could still do well.

    #5 11 months ago
  6. VibraniumSpork

    3@ I’m sure you’re right about stock levels – seems like both companies are keen to have product on shelves alongside or shortly after the pre-orders have been sold.

    I’m not much for COD, but I have played Battlefield regularly this gen with a tight group of mates. We’ve all kind of agreed to give Killzone a good go – both SP and MP – for a few weeks at PS4 launch, just to mix it up. As great as the new BF looks it does still feel a little bit familiar and in all reality once I pick it up I probably won’t put it down for a good few months ^_^

    #6 11 months ago
  7. viralshag

    Impress me with the new DS4 this weekend and release a KZ bundle, then I will cancel my XB1 and get a PS4 at launch.

    #7 11 months ago
  8. monkeygourmet

    @8

    Eurogamer?

    I can’t go this year. :(

    Can you do a hands-on in the forum section if poss?

    Mainly:

    Graphics, pad comparison, etc…?

    #8 11 months ago
  9. Dendroball

    @6 If you’re talking about graphics limitations regarding the BF4 console version, I would say at least BF4 multiplayer involves huge maps, 64 players, dynamic destruction/events and vehicle warfare which is definetely a lot more ambitious and demanding than a relatively common multiplayer experience supported by KZ (small maps, , 24 players max., no vehicles and not much destruction).

    #9 11 months ago
  10. DrDamn

    @10
    Oh yeah I realise that, been BF over CoD for me for years. I don’t have much faith in the PS4 version they are going to put out though.

    #10 11 months ago
  11. VibraniumSpork

    @10 Can’s speak for DrDamn but aren’t you at least a little fatigued by BF (and COD)? Familiarity breeds contempt and all that.

    I love Battlefield, don’t get me wrong, but I’m looking forward to a change of pace and scene with Killzone’s futuristic gadgets/perks and sci-fi trimmings. Even though it’s a franchise it still maintains it’s own strong sense of style and individuality which I’d credit as being slightly more ambitious than just another (albeit enjoyable) iteration of the Modern Warfighter experience.

    There’s room for KZ, COD, BD and Titanfall all on one shelf. Just wish there was enough time to evenly spread between them >_<

    #11 11 months ago
  12. DrDamn

    @12
    Yeah there’s certainly an element of that too. I’d still take BF over CoD, but I think KZ:SF will feel fresher and have a SP campaign I’d bother with too. Liking the openness of the levels and flexibility in approach. Have no time for CoD SP and what BF SP has become. Loved the BFBC SP campaign but it went rapidly downhill as they tried to become more CoD.

    #12 11 months ago
  13. Erthazus

    It looks fucking horrible for the next gen game. I’m sure as hell that it was a PS3 title before and only than it was ported over to PS4 and they added a lot of effects otherwise I can’t understand how the fuck they created a title that looks… blergh..’

    http://www.cinemablend.com/images/gallery/s56689/Killzone__Shadow_Fall_13711356908358.jpg

    this game does not know that bump-mapping, self-shadowing and SSAO exist and these sexy 2D sprite trees. So much next gen.

    or they know that these effects exist and they just wanted to try to run it in 30 frames per second with 1080p… =/

    #13 11 months ago
  14. Riseer

    @1,@2 I bought the Killzone/1 year of Ps Plus bundle.COD is pure crap on a stick.BF4 will be awesome,but i think KZ SF will be much much better then COD and it will give BF4 a run for its money.

    #14 11 months ago
  15. Riseer

    @14 I wouldn’t go by that screenshot those effects can be added in after optimization.

    #15 11 months ago
  16. Lv01

    i dont have a shooter preordered for launch day…
    i was always leaning toward BF4 after that E3 trailer, and THAT building coming down………….
    but ive only had a quick dabble in BF3 up to now in the series, and have previously been a CoD player.
    BF4 looks to have more appeal to me than Ghosts, but this KZ entry has always looked interesting. its beautiful, and the more i read about it, the more my interest grows. the fact that its slower than the others might even start to sway me.

    #16 11 months ago
  17. Riseer

    @11,theirs already a video out with the Ps4 version running at 60fps 1080p in MP,and the guy that was playing it said the textures looked really good.

    http://blog.us.playstation.com/2013/08/22/hands-on-battlefield-4-on-ps4/

    #17 11 months ago
  18. viralshag

    @9 Yeah but I’m only there on Saturday this year. I did get my tickets through Virgin though so I get the slightly earlier entry which I’m hoping will give me time to get my hands on the next-gens as I imagine they will be packed out.

    I will try and do some sort of write up if I get time.

    #18 11 months ago
  19. monkeygourmet

    @19

    Thanks! I still have my ‘free’ Onlive console from a few years back! :)

    #19 11 months ago
  20. DrDamn

    @18
    Thanks to that. Let’s see what resolution it ends up at. That US blog post says they still haven’t confirmed it yet in the Q&A in the comments.

    #20 11 months ago
  21. viralshag

    @20, Was a good show that year. I was pretty hungover at the time if I remember correctly. I’m pretty sure I played one or two games, got an over-priced hotdog and then paid a rather attractive lady some money for a massage at the “healing hands” stand they had set up.

    #21 11 months ago
  22. Sanwiches

    Oh Erthazuz. Keep moaning in your corner, you never-satisfied asshole.

    #22 11 months ago
  23. Javinator

    Unbelievable! I thought this was “Next Gen”?
    You still can NOT change your Username!

    http://www.examiner.com/article/psn-id-change-on-ps4-very-complex-sony-not-replacing-psn-ids
    ———————–
    PSN ID change on PS4 ‘very complex’, Sony not replacing PSN IDs

    September 22, 2013

    Those who have outgrown their current PlayStation 3 or PlayStation Vita username will be sad to learn that you may be stuck with it for another console generation – well, unless you create an entirely new account. On Sept. 20 during an interview with Game Informer, Shuhei Yoshida, president of Sony’s worldwide studios, spoke on the topic of PS4 usernames and PSN IDs.

    As many are aware, the PlayStation 4 will allow you to have your real name attached to your profile and account – though one can adjust who can see their name and limit it to strictly friends. When it comes to changing your PSN ID, Shuhei Yoshida acknowledges that it is a common request and wishes it was something the company could say yes to. However, it seems that doing so is “very technically complex” and it may not be offered.

    While speaking with Game Informer, Yoshida was asked the following question:

    We heard Sony is giving users the option to use their real name in place of their PSN IDs. Does this require users to change their PSN ID?

    He replied, “We are not replacing [PSN IDs], but we are adding another option for people to input their own real name. They have some control of how their real name is exposed to everyone or friends. It’s actually a common question that I’ve been asked is ‘Can I change my PSN ID?’ That’s a very common request, and I wish we could say ‘Yes, you can”, but it’s very technically complex.”

    #23 11 months ago
  24. Javinator

    And on top of that, it crashes alot:
    https://twitter.com/yosp/statuses/382351919668146176

    #24 11 months ago
  25. Fin

    @26

    If there’s one thing that’s an indication of a system’s quality, it’s the performance of pre-alpha third party game running on development hardware six months before release.

    Also, changing your username isn’t really a “next-gen” feature.

    #25 11 months ago
  26. stretch215

    This looks good, but it doesn’t hold a candle to bf4.

    #26 11 months ago
  27. machy

    KZ has it”s own dedicated fan base

    http://www.killzone.com/kz/performance_fullwarstats.psml?kz_user_id=mach-zero

    #27 11 months ago

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