The first of an exclusive series of interviews with the teams behind some of 2011’s biggest firstperson shooters.
Over the coming week we’ll be publishing interviews with the teams behind four of 2011’s biggest firstperson shooters. In the first of these, we sit down with Guerrilla Games game director, Mathijs de Jonge, and managing director, Hermen Hulst, to discuss innovating in the blockbuster landscape, Killzone 3‘s more responsive controls and swearing.
The first Killzone was a highly distinctive shooter with a unique physicality to the way it felt when you played it, but the series seems to be moving away from that.
Mathijs de Jonge: Yeah, it’s definitely shifted a bit away from what Killzone was. We’ve managed to retain a little bit of the heavy feeling of how you handle the gun: the reload speed, the length and weight of jump animations. But the thing with Killzone 2 was that there were quite some technical problems in the controls, actually, and I think we’ve solved those now. There was a lot of lag in Killzone 2 but the controls in the demo are more responsive, so if you want to turn around, the camera immediately responds. And by fixing those issues we’ve lost a bit of that weighty feeling. We’ve tried to maintain that original experience, but if we’d kept it as slow, we’d run in to the danger of losing some people, moving too far away from our competitors.
Guerrilla Games game director, Mathijs de Jonge (above, left), and managing director, Hermen Hulst.
Do you regret that, though? That there isn’t enough latitude in the market to make an artistic statement?
MDJ: Maybe, in a way, but on the other hand, while we were still tweaking controls and checking framerate, I checked this game back-to-back with Killzone 2 and have to say that it plays so much more fluidly. Also, the adjustments we made to lean-and-peek – you can actually slide into cover now, vault over, brutally melee your enemies – it feels more fluid, stutters less. There’s fewer points of irritation. In a way, it would be nice to make an artistic statement and do it exactly the way we want, but what we’ve done now is also how we want it, it’s just smoother.
The new game is more adventurous with its different terrain types. Does that hark back to the first game’s sense of discovery?
Hermen Hulst: Yeah. A big improvement over Killzone 2 is that we’re looking to have pretty much a unique setting for each level, which also makes it really hard to send levels out for preview to you guys, because as soon as you send an ice level out, people think it’s an ice game – or a big boss game. But the big thing about this game is variety. [We go] from the Helghast interpretation of jungle to very Killzone-esque scrapyards, and at the end we go into space. It’s a big departure from Killzone 2, where the first five levels were all urban settings.
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