Killzone 3 is out the of the door, and Guerrilla Games are now probably enjoying a nice glass of champagne to celebrate. Before that all happened though, we had the chance to meet up with Chris Haluke, the lead level designer on Killzone 3.
We asked him about what it was like to work with PlayStation Move, as well as the possibility of Killzone going to more genres, and of course, if he could share anything about Killzone 4.
GamingUnion.net: You said you have two different teams working on the game, one for standard controller input and one for PlayStation Move. How did that process work exactly?
Chris Haluke: Well, we had a dedicated game designer work with a dedicated programmer, so that allowed us to kind of perfect the Move. We didn't want to just add it on, we wanted to ensure that it was smooth, that it functioned properly. Everything we do at Guerrilla is based on quality, so stuff that we wanted to do was add Move. So the logical step for us was to innovate, to ensure that it is cutting edge, that it leads the kind of innovation for the rest of the genre.
So a small group of people spent a lot of time trying to ensure it was right.
GamingUnion.net: Killzone 3 features a lot more of what the fans wanted to see in Killzone 2. I mean, you've got Jet Packs, the movement is a lot smoother. But was there anything that didn't make the cut?
Chris Haluke: No. I think what we tried to do was, we tried to be realistic. But we also tried to push the boundaries of what we could do. So, as you say, the Jet Packs, our lean and peaks, we've added like a slide into cover to further that immersion. We've also added pacing, that's something that was a big thing coming out as feedback from forums and reviews. We wanted to make sure that it felt right, that there was enough variety. So, I think we spent a lot of time from a level design perspective as well as the environments. I mean, if you take a look we've got jungles, we've got snow, we've got urban, we've got space. So there's a lot of different avenues for the creative side to explore.
GamingUnion.net: Just to touch on the movement a bit more and how it works with cover. Most FPS games up to this point have been very cut and paste. Call of Duty is very much point and shoot and there's a cover system but it's very basic. Whereas you have games like Gears of War and Uncharted where you get that extra camera angle to help things a bit. But even though it's first-person Killzone 3 feels extremely fluid with its movement and cover. What was the process behind nailing that?
Chris Haluke: Once again, I know our game designers spent a lot of time working with the programmers to ensure that it is a visceral experience, that you're right there, that you're in it. We didn't want to, for example, just add a cover system that didn't work - it's integral to our game. Taking cover in Killzone is of the utmost importance. So kind of getting that weighted feel, that feeling that you're talking about, that you can get in and out of cover quickly and that was extremely important. It's a system that has taken a lot of time to develop, it's something that's very labour intensive when implementing it from a level design perspective. But at the end of the day, it is such an important piece of the puzzle we're trying to put together with Killzone 3 and that makes us unique. I think there are other games like you mentioned, like Gears for example. But we feel we've done that very well, as far as giving the players what they want from a cover system that does separate us from the rest.
GamingUnion.net: The Helghast have come a long way since the original Killzone where they were just faceless drones. Was it hard to inject the feeling that you're getting to know an entire civilisation, that you want to know more about them while you're going through killing them?
Chris Haluke: I think that's the fun part, and that's the joy we've had, in creating an enemy that's very iconic. When you hear of Killzone, the first thing pops in your mind is probably those two red eyes. And now that we've kind of worked through Visari's death, we've got a political struggle. So that's one of the overtones of our game from a plot point. We really tried to make them the focus of the game, while you're trying to make a moral decision. Who is the bad guy here? Is it you being the ISA, or is it the Helghast? That's the take we want people to have, we want them to pose the question to themselves.
GamingUnion.net: A lot of other FPS games, particularly Halo, have taken their franchise into different genres. You've obviously done Killzone Liberation, but have you thought about expanding further?
Chris Haluke: Right now, we're solely focussed on the first-person aspect, which you can see from our latest title. As far as the future, yea, it will certainly be interesting to see what that holds.
GamingUnion.net: Many franchises right now as using the third game to round out a story. Will Killzone 4 continue off after 3, or will it start a new story arch?
Chris Haluke: Well, we're not really talking about that yet, because I know one thing our team's trying to do right now is get some rest. We're going to take some holiday, so that's about all I can say on that.