Join Date: Mar 2004
Guerrilla Games interview with 1up
Q&A With Guerilla Games
Guerilla Games talks about their influences, their experience, and why they're better than the competition.
There are plenty of first-person shooters on the PlayStation 2, but it's never really had a defining entry in the genre the way that Xbox has Halo. And that's the spot that Guerilla Games is aiming to capture with their upcoming Killzone, a squad-based FPS exclusively for PS2.
Martin de Ronde, General Manager of Guerilla Games, spoke with us about his progress on the game, how it's different from other first-person shooters, and the possibilities still available in the PS2 hardware.
1UP: Everyone expects Killzone to be a triple-A title, but Guerrilla Games doesn't have any major games under its belt, so can you really meet everyone's expectations?
Martin: Guerrilla started when three companies merged together. One of the teams was Orange Games, known for the Jazz Jackrabbit series on the PC. Those were almost PC technology showcase titles back in the day.
Sure, you look at those games now and you go "Uh, what is this?" but back in the day they were the first arcade-style games you could play on the PC. They had online elements and you could play split-screen multiplayer. So there's a lot of track record with some of the individual companies that made up Guerrilla. At the same time, we've attracted a lot of experienced Dutch developers who used to work abroad. Then we've got several foreigners from the UK and the US that have got individual track records a string of games. There's many people here who have gone through the entire game development process. So it's kind of like taking a couple of people from Naughty Dog, Ubisoft and EA and put them together, of course they have experience. So I don't think it's a big hurdle. Publishers have of course asked the same thing from us. Who are you, and can you do it? So far, we've consistently met our milestones and proven our abilities.
Yes, we still have to prove ourselves, I'm very humble in that respect. We haven't delivered the game yet, there's still almost a year left. But don't worry, we have more than enough individual industry experience in order to complete the game to the extent that the hype expects.
1UP: What kind of influences did you have when it comes to style of art Killzone uses?
Martin: Our art designer is probably the best one to ask. It was important for us to be very distinct so our game would be recognizable straight away. It's very unique and immediately recognizable. We have several filters and lots of different ways to play with the color scheme. This is definitely no Star Trek game.
I don't think the game has a very specific European feel. It's a mix of many things. I would say that the fact that we've gone for the approach of action shooter with some tactical elements, that much is kind of European. It's not just an action extravaganza, there's some tactical elements in there too.
I think all cultures worldwide are merging into one another. You can see we have all kinds of Japanese, World War 1 and 2, and American movie influences. So all kinds of different sources.
1UP: Why did you decide to have non-controllable team members in the game?
Martin: The team idea came up when we started thinking what we could do differently in the first-person shooter genre. This was back in 1999–2000 when you already had some squad based games. So we had to do something different in that genre, which is how we came about not giving you the ability to issue commands. There's not a drop down menu in real-life war and no one hears you shouting orders. So basically we did that to distinguish ourselves from other FPS games. Having an one man army is not really believable, where this one guy goes in and kills everybody and defeats the enemy on his own. But by having several squad members who have to sneak in behind enemy lines and be careful, that is a bit more believable.
1UP: What about replay value? Since you can play through the levels with each character, just how much difference will there be between the levels? Will there be really different routes through the levels, or will it be just that that one guy can climb over this locked door while the other can blow it open?
Martin: We obviously won't have four different levels alltogether. But it definitely wont be as contrived as "Luger can crawl though here, but the other character can't." We have four characters, so if we have an excuse for one character, we need to have an excuse for all three. It's going to be a balance of two extremes. We have to make the levels diverse enough for all characters to play with, we want to make sure that you can go back in there and play the level from a different perspective. Like the Dropship level: you can take enemies straight on with Templar. Due to his size and the weapons he carries, he can't climb up the gantry, but with another character, you can, so you see and experience the action from a totally different perspective.
1UP: Will there be a story to make the game a bit more personal, so that the players will care about characters?
Martin: I see what you mean. What we haven't shown you the in-game cut-scenes. We will lavish the same amount of detail and attention on these as for the in-game graphics. It's not going to be Metal Gear Solid 2–style, long cut-scenes, but it's going to be high-quality cut-scenes between most of the missions. These will tell the story. Having four different characters gives our scriptwriters a much bigger playground to create tension and drama than with one character. It might feel a bit schizophrenic, but the four characters open up new ways of storytelling, I think. The story is important. Our original idea was to go for an epic war story. We want to go for this rollercoaster ride, but the ride would feel boring if it'd only be level after level of shooting with no purpose for the shooting. So there's going to be a strong story. I'm not saying it's going win a Pulitzer prize, but it's definitely there to drive the player and give context to the action and why you are doing what you are doing.
Once you see the final implemention, you will understand how much importance we've given to a storyline. So each level starts with a cut-scene and ends with a cut-scene. We hope to show the tension that these characters have during the war. We need to have other characters so we can have dialogue and things happening. Usually in an FPS, you're by yourself, so there's not a lot of tension or dialogue with other characters.
1UP: How did Core turn into Killzone?
Martin: Core used to be an an early FPS-strategy game. You could command your units and dive into them in FPS mode. You could go out of the units, zoom out and see the entire map and the action and then go back into FPS mode. So we showed Sony this technology and it showed them we could do very flexible technology with realtime tessellation. They didn't say "hey this is a great game", but they were impressed with our technology. So then we had the curved surfaces demo and that was the starting point. It's those two demos that triggered something between two of Sony's producers who thought we could do an FPS with that technology. There's no real relation between Core and Killzone, just some of the technology.
1UP: Killzone's visuals are highly impressive, but do you think the bar will be raised by the time the game ships next summer?
Martin: Yeah, that happens continuously. But on the consoles, the technology is rigid, so it wont change that much. The PC will continue to be better in graphical performance than the consoles. As for whether the bar will be raised, it depends. People who don't play PC games will look at the last PlayStation 2 FPS for the FPS benchmark, so that's Medal of Honor or FireWarrior. People may see Halo 2 as the benchmark if they have both consoles. On the PlayStation 2 I don't see this as a problem, by the time we come around, we should still have an advantage. Other platforms ... yes there's going to be bar-raising, but we're not worried about that. We still do have the best and finest quality on the PlayStation 2 that we can achieve. We won't be losing focus. If we see something new in an FPS, something totally innovative, we'll try to integrate it into our game. To be honest, there's not a lot you can squeeze out of the PlayStation 2 graphically anymore. To certain extent, we are at the maximum level.
1UP: In terms of technology and art, Killzone is above a lot of the competition. When looking at other first-person-shooters on the PlayStation 2, do you think that cross-platform developers are just lazy at doing these games?
Martin: Well, lazy is very negative adjective, but it's a practical decision. If somebody would ask us tomorrow to do an conversion to another platform from the outset, we would have to think about long and hard what we could include and what not. Doing a multiplatform project means compromising. Either it's overall, like were going to do just one version for all platforms so they are all the same, or one platform is made the best and the other platforms get derivatives of that. We didn't have to compromise, where other developers might have to. I don't think it's necessarily laziness. I do get the impressions that some people think that the PlayStation 2 is not capable of doing certain things, which it is. It's a very powerful machine. You just have to live and breathe it. It's a very steep learning curve, but once you get there, you can get excellent results.
me need Killzone now
Join Date: Feb 2002
12" PowerBook 1.33 Ghz with 20" Cinema Display
Athlon XP 2Ghz Windows MCE HTPC
Join Date: Aug 2002
No, it's just an old interview. It's slated for the end of this year,
Join Date: Jun 2003
Guerilla has the guys who made Jazz Jackrabbit? My respect for them just went up several notches!!
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