Monday, October 15, 2007

Killzone 2 developer: "Blu-ray is Not a Luxury"

GamePro's Sid Shuman grills Killzone 2 producer Steven Ter Heide about the lethal planet of Helghan and Killzone 2's new gameplay...including jumping!

What environmental hazards will players find on the Helghast's home planet? How will these hazards affect the player?

The Helghast homeworld is called Helghan, and it is a very hostile place. The Helghast have adapted to the living conditions by using special goggles and breathing equipment. They have also learned to harness the power the planet offers and have turned them into weapons. For example, the ARC weapon you can see in the demo is powered by lightning. The player will encounter more environmental hazards, but we'll save details on those for later.

In the first game, players could choose to play as several characters, each with their own weapon of choice. What kinds of characters will the player be able to control? Is there any chance the player will get to play as any non-human characters?

In Killzone 2 we are introducing a new player character named Sev. Sev is part of a special forces squad called the Legion. You will see some familiar faces: Rico for instance is the squad's commanding officer. In Killzone 2, however, players will follow Sev's journey through the Helghast invasion. Other characters are not playable but will appear as buddies with different abilities. The player can wield a variety of different weapons, and carry up to two with him at any time. This way he can select those weapons suited to his playing style.

Park Terminal and Beach Head were favorite multiplayer maps from the first game. Will any of them return in Killzone 2?

We are not talking about the details of our multiplayer campaign just yet. It will however be an extensive component of Killzone 2, linking to as well as into Home.

Killzone: Liberation introduced Helghast dogs and tanks that the player could control. Will the player be able to operate other vehicles in Killzone 2? What about those hovering platforms from the trailer?

We are of course building on our strengths from previous titles, and working hard to improve on their shortcomings. Liberation certainly offered some new things like bossfights, and the ability to heal your buddies. These gameplay elements offered additional variety and we are working hard to include them in Killzone 2 also. Of course Killzone 2 plays on a different world than the previous games. This gives us a lot of freedom and will introduce some new unique enemies and situations. As for vehicles, it is still a bit early to confirm any details.

The first Killzone didn't allow you to jump. Will Killzone 2 add this feature? Why is this feature important, or not important?

We felt that navigating small obstacles was annoying in Killzone, but we also wanted to keep everything grounded in reality. In Killzone 2 you can jump, but you will not be able to fire at the same time. The player will also be able to perform lots of context-based actions that will be all in first-person (such as lean and peek). The feeling of immersion is very important to us.

Brian Cox was the voice of the Helghast dictator. Will that character return, and will Cox return as the voice actor? What about any other returning voice actors?

We can't say too much about the voice actors just yet. However, we will say that working with these kind of talented people really adds something to the game, especially when combined with our facial capture animation.

Squad artificial intelligence was a sticking point in the first game. What will Killzone 2 do to improve its A.I. of enemies and squad members?

With Killzone Liberation we already saw improvements in AI behavior. They were able to target destructable or explosive objects, flank you, and work together. For Killzone 2 we have improved on that even further. The world is more complex with lots of physics objects and destructible environments, which means the AI has to navigate and be aware of all of that. They also have to be more aware of each other and their enemies, as we will see many more characters on screen at the same time. We are making sure that the AI is ultra challenging, and each character has unique and recognizable behaviors, allowing the player to judge the situation and decide how to deal with them.

It's pretty obvious (at least to us) that Killzone 2 has some of the best graphics ever seen. What is it about the PS3 that allows you to pull off this kind of detail? And would you say it's accurate that the in-game E3 footage surpassed the E3 2005 CG cinema?

The E3 2005 trailer was all about setting our ambition and goals for the game. We wouldn't have created that movie if we did not think we could deliver that [level of detail]. There is of course a difference between a movie and a game. Allowing more freedom for the player and not have it as scripted meant we had to create technology and a number of systems to help achieve that level of intensity while playing. We've created our own proprietary technology to drive the game, and this is using many of PS3's specific strengths.Large quantities of data can be streamed because we have a great deal of storage capacity. This allows for the level of detail you can see in the game.

It is not a luxury to have Blu-ray, but rather a necessity, as compression only gets you so far. I mean, the level that we showed at E3 and Leipzig topped out around 2GB! Also having the CELL and SPUs means we can offload all of our physics processing to an SPU, or process AI using the SPU's. All this processing power just means we can add more detail and create that Hollywood-type realism we're after.

[Via GamePro]


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