Known for some of the most jaw-dropping visuals of the current console generation, it was not a complete surprise to see Sony introduce a new Killzone franchise entry alongside the PS4. Aside from a few obvious basics – like better graphics – details are still relatively scarce for Killzone: Shadow Fall. Understandably, that lack of concrete information about the project led viewers of the PS4 live stream to shirk the title off as just another shooter and, consequently, not the mind-blowing evolution into the next console generation that certain fans might have expected.
Yet, for those in actual attendance at the event, Shadow Fall‘s visuals alone were an impressive feat and we expect Guerilla Games is hard at work on gameplay ingredients that will help showcase fresh PS4 features – features that were teased in a new interview with the developer.
For anyone who missed the Sony live-stream event – and doesn’t have time to watch the full Shadow Fall gameplay demo, Sony has released a new teaser trailer for the game that sets up the story via in-game footage seen at the PS4 event. Think of the teaser as an abbreviated version of the aforementioned demo – this time with Helghast voiceover narration.
As previously reported, Killzone: Shadow Fall will take place 30 years after the events of Killzone 3 – allowing the developers to keep the trademark franchise gameplay while evolving/refining the core campaign story and character roster. Killzone games have enjoyed critical and commercial success but, relative to Sony’s expectations, the series has underperformed – meaning that Guerilla Games needed to change-up the formula. Prior Killzone titles were notorious for underwhelming and downright unlikable characters as well as bland storytelling – a criticism that the developer looks to addressed. We don’t know yet whether or not protagonists Sev and Rico, not to mention Helghast arms manufacturer Jorhan Stahl, will still be around (in some form) – but it’s very likely that fast-forwarding the story thirty years (as opposed to ten or less) was designed to help free-up the franchise from less-likable story-related baggage and reestablish the IP on a better foot.
Speaking about the new installment, Guerilla Games co-founder Hermen Hulst hints at a much richer core narrative – where the player takes the role of a “Shadow Marshal” – tasked with keeping the piece between Vektans and the Helghast. When Helghast forces attack Vekta City, the player character must fight to restore order.
“We’ve put in a lot of effort over the last couple of years and this is a brand new direction for the game. It’s a new hero, a new conflict, it’s an all new world that we’re creating. We’re trying to create this living, vibrant world that people want to be in and want to have a reason to fight for, so that’s kind of the premise that we started with.”
Hulst’s comments should also please critics who have regularly slammed Killzone for its dirty and bland environments – a problem the developer overcompensated for in their jet-setting Killzone 3 adventure. As for what other refinements players can expect, Hulst indicated that Shadow Fall isn’t, as some people assumed by the demo, simply a cover-based first person shooter:
“The thing is, when you demonstrate a title for launch you want to do something that’s in your game and is part of the core experience. So we picked something that’s very central in our game, with Vekta City, this futuristic city which is at the heart of the game experience, and obviously we picked something that demos reasonably well. There’s going to be – and we’ll talk about this at later events – a lot of player choice and things like that, but some of those things don’t demo as nicely, so we picked something that has a beginning and an end while at the same time shows off some cool new features.”
At this point, we can only speculate on what “cool” new features Hulst and the Guerilla Games team are planning to reveal. That said, player choice is typically a welcome addition – especially in a story where the main character sounds as though he will be confronted with moral grey areas on both sides. Hopefully the next generation of consoles will handle morality and player choice with more options than simply “good” and “bad” decisions – with little effect on the larger narrative. Of course, player choice could also mean larger battlefields with different approaches for completing objectives and neutralizing threats – a gameplay feature that worked well for Black Ops 2.
For the time being, we’re excited for more Killzone – especially since the developers appear to have addressed fan feedback and refreshed the brand for the next generation. Expect more Shadow Fall information to trickle out in the coming months – ahead of major reveals at Sony’s E3 2013 Conference in June.
Follow me on Twitter @benkendrick.
Killzone: Shadow Fall is currently in development for PS4.
Source: Sony & CVG