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Interview - Killzone 3 multiplayer designer Dan Nanni

killzone 3

The multiplayer in Killzone3 is going to be big business. Really big business.

When it releases in February, it'll be a month before Crytek releases Crysis 2 and two months before Gears of War 3 and both game's multiplayer modes.

We were given the opportunity to see the Guerrilla shooter and it's multiplayer behind-closed-doors at gamescom, where a fair bit of details on new gameplay modes emerged, and speak with the game's senior multiplayer designer Dan Nanni.

Read the full interview below the page fold.

[Interview by Johnny Cullen]

VG247: How radically different is the XP system from Killzone 2 into Killzone 3, via the unlock system?

Dan Nanni: The unlock system is going to be more focused on classes rather then badges. In Killzone 2, we threw some badges and mix and matching and getting details on the customisation. We're going to be giving you the customisation, but it's going to be more focused on... this is the Marksman.

And the marksman is really good at preventing people from coming close to him, killing them from long-range, causing a lot of confusion close up, so we're making his abilities tailored to his specific role on the battlefield. And we're giving you the ability to unlock him when you want to.

In Killzone 2, we said you've got the Sniper character way off at the end, you had to play through everything first before you got to him. Right now, we're saying if you like the Sniper character, right off the bat, unlock him. It's your call.

If you don't like the Medic, you don't have to unlock him until later on. But then again, if you find out you really do like the Medic, you can start spending your points on Medic. It's all up to you, under your control.

VG247: Okay, so customisation is one of the big key features?

Dan Nanni: Yeah, we wanted to encourage players on not just customisation, but variety. We want players to play the game they feel like playing because not everyone feels like playing the same game.

Would you even say it's THE big key feature in multiplayer?

Nanni: The big multiplayer features, I'd say, are game modes. Again, I think it goes back to just a lot of different things. The big thing, is more of the idea of variety in Killzone 3.

So you'll have the unlock system like you mentioned, we'll have the really extensive points system really tailored to it, we're going to have Operations mode, we're going to have Guerrilla Warfare mode, Warzone mode, so it's all about giving you a lot of options.

What other feedback have you taken back from the community for Killzone 3 multiplayer?

We could talk about, for instance, our laggy controls. It was one of big community requests that felt it was too laggy.

We wanted to keep the weighty feel of our weapons, to make them feel bulky, not like you were flying about and firing these really light weapons, we still wanted the weight there. But we needed to get rid of the lag, and that's what we did.

So one of the things we did was making sure our weapons still felt like Killzone, but still keeping it lag-free. And if you played through it , I think you noticed that, compared to Killzone 2, it's a lot more intuitive, lot easier to control.

Even down to the control system, we're giving alternative control systems that are more like the games you might be playing right now, but we're still keeping our fans loyal, we want to give them a Killzone control system as well, to give them options.

How much different is Warzone this time round from Killzone 2?

Warzone is pretty much the same, except for what you're going to be doing in Warzone. Not in the sense of the mission modes, but we're introducing the points system I talked about. And the points system will encourage people to play Warzone a little more intuitively.

You want to play Team Deathmatch? Maybe even Guerrilla Warfare? We still have Bodycount in Warzone as well. But what we want to say is, if you play Warzone, you'll earn specific points for it. Assassination, search and destroy, search and retrieve.

And even with Assassination, same gameplay mode, one guy's the target. Completely changes when you get that guy in XL, and now the assassin is inside an XL. Good luck killing him, he becomes a bit tougher.

You have a little more ability with the Tactician, he can start taking tactical spawn areas in the centre of the map, where everyone can spawn, which can become really good defensive places in some of our maps. Jetpacks add a whole new dynamic to these mission modes.

So we're introducing so much new stuff that we wanted to keep Warzone kind of like whole. We've got all new intuitive gameplay modes, so lets keep Warzone  the way it is.

The fans liked it, so there's no reason to change a formula that works really well. The UI will get a little tweak, you'll see some things in the background that you might not notice the way we accumulate points and stuff, but the game's still there.

Obviously, the game has 3D and Move support. How does that affect multiplayer?

It shouldn't at all. Basically, if you want to play it with Move, here you go. Got a new tool? Try it out, play through it. But if you like the SIXAXIS, go to SIXAXIS.

3D will not affect your performance at all. We make sure we're not sacrificing anything. If it sacrifices something, we don't put it out. So if it were a sacrifice, we'd say 'no, you can't have it'. But 3D you play it, 2D you play it, no matter what, you have the exact same gameplay experience with no loss of framerate.

You mentioned heavy controls. There were point in there where they didn't feel as heavy, and responsive at other times. Herman Hulst had previously said these were going to be the most responsive controls ever in a Killzone game. So, is that still being worked on?

We still are still working on it everyday. Designers are perfectionists, and we want to make a really cool experience. So, whenever we get a chance to tweak it, we go for it. So, what you're playing right now is still real early. It's Alpha. We're still tweaking things away, and still getting things in there and making sure all features are working right, but we still have more work to do.

During the EA press conference, the multiplayer for Crysis 2 was revealed, although we haven't seen Gears of War 3's multiplayer yet. Killzone 3 is coming out a month before Crysis, and two months before Gears of War. How does it feel to be going up against those two?

To be really honest, it's really cool to be going up against our competitors. I mean, this industry progresses more and more and more every time a really cool new game comes out. I mean, you release something, and it's great, and everybody loves it - and then a new game comes out and introduces a new concept you didn't think about and you just have to admire all the work that they put into it. So, yeah, we're looking forward to it. We're looking forward to next year.

Yeah, it's going to be great. It's going to be the best three months for multiplayer.

Yes. Hopefully everybody loves it. Every multiplayer in the woodwork's gonna come out and play.

Killzone 3 is scheduled for release in February 2011.

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