Killzone 2

Interview: Guerilla's Dutch director on PS3's big gun

You've probably already seen our shouting and hollering over the first hands-on with Killzone 2; it's - amazingly - almost as pretty as the pre-rendered promises from a year ago and oh yeah, it's got all the first-person cover gameplay you'll want and some AI opponents that know their way around a gritty battleground too. Mmm...

After our play we grabbed Guerilla Games director Mathijs De Jonge who told us a bit more about what's been revealed so far.

You're currently showing off one single-player level from Killzone 2. Could you set the scene for us?

Jonge: It's the third mission into the game. The first Killzone and Liberation took place on Vekta the home world of the ISA, but now we're part of a full-scale invasion of the Helghast home world, Helghan.

This is a very hostile environment that the Helghast have adapted themselves to and that's the reason they're wearing this breathing equipment.

Our new main character, Sev is part of a special ops team called The Legion. The Legion is called in as soon as the Navy - who's running the invasion - are stalled and basically call them in to sort out the problem.

They're trying to get to the government stronghold but they're encountering some heavy resistance; there are anti-aircraft guns firing electricity bolts at approaching aircraft and there's also mortars stalling the convoy that's approaching. The Legion is called in to deal with the electricity cannon and these mortars.

It looks fantastic. What kind of approach are taking with the visuals?

Jonge: We want to make sure that everything looks realistic and feels believable, but at the same time we're going for a Hollywood-style realism; it's a little bit over the top, more exaggerated, bigger explosions - more bang for your buck basically.

Even though it's a different planet and a very hostile environment, it's still very much grounded in reality. Everything you'll see you will recognise and you'll know what to do with things.

We want to have a seemless transition from cut-scenes right into the gameplay, so there's no loading pause or anything like that - it's all seamlessly integrated into the game.

Part of the reason behind this is that we wanted to create a very cinematic feeling; it's always first-person, you're always part of this world and it feels very immersive basically.

We're doing 7.1 surround sound and lots of clever visual tricks to make sure that the player feels that they're a part of it. One of these tricks is post-processing. You can immediately see the effect it has; it really draws the picture together.

You're also sporting a new first-person cover system. Can you explain how that works?

Jonge: It's called 'lean and peak'. In Killzone: Liberation we tried an approach where the player was forced more into cover and had to play a bit more tactically.

We've done the same for Killzone 2; you can latch on to cover by holding L2 and then stand up again by pressing the left analogue stick. Pressing the fire button causes you to blind fire, so you can suppress your enemies easier.

This system extends to both your buddies and your enemies; they'll hide and pop out from cover as well.

How important is AI to Killzone 2?

Jonge: We've worked extensively to improve the AI, because we have destructible environments and lots of physics objects flying around - that's something that the AI has to reason with.

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