What We Crave From Killzone: Shadow Fall

Kevin VanOrd and Chris Watters join forces to create a wishlist of features for the upcoming PlayStation 4 shooter, Killzone: Shadow Fall.

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Killzone: Shadow Fall is a confirmed launch title for the PlayStation 4. A few things we can count on: it will be beautiful; it will have lots of shooting; and it will have creepy dudes with red eyes. But beyond that, there's a lot we just don't know, so GameSpot's resident Killzone experts Kevin VanOrd and Chris Watters decided to let their imaginations run wild. What do they most want from the upcoming sequel?

Kevin:

So it seems the fight is coming back to Vekta. Killzone: Shadow Fall's location is abundantly clear in the first few seconds of the demonstration we saw at the PlayStation 4 announcement meeting. That change of locale is a good start for differentiating this sequel from Killzones 2 and 3, which took place on the unfriendly red soil of Helghan. Civilians! They're almost unheard of in this series, yet here we see them, milling about in a city that looks teeming with life. If a next-gen platform means delivering grander, lived-in vistas in a modern shooter, then bring on the PS4.

Shadow Fall's announcement trailer came later, and it calls to mind the series' greatest weakness: story. The trailer's narrator is a Helghast--and he poignantly refers to his race's victimhood, in spite of Killzone's continuing portrayal of the Helghast as the bad guys. After all, they wear creepy gas masks and have menacing red eyes; their visual symbols bear a passing resemblance to the Third Reich's; and their grandiose leaders chew up scenery in an effort to seem as unhinged as possible. The Helghast are hardly blameless, yet their Vektan forebears were all but forced to flee the planet to avoid persecution by the occupying ISA. Furthermore, their second home has been ravaged and their people almost annihilated. The story has occasionally referred to the Helghast's plight in the face of ISA aggression, but it has never quite "gone there." If Killzone: Shadow Fall finally acknowledges the ISA's moral shortcomings and the social tensions that drove the Helghast to the breaking point, the series' narrative might finally soar. At the very least, I hope Guerrilla makes it about more than just military squad chatter among grunting meatheads.

Chris:

"Here's hoping this powderkeg setting injects new life into the series by fueling new narrative entanglements."

Given that Killzone 3 began as a preemptive ISA strike against the Helghan homeworld, I shared your hope that the next Killzone game would take a more sympathetic view of the Helghast as an oppressed people. Even as I watched the attack unfold in the Shadow Fall stage demo, I hoped that the uncloaked Helghast walking towards the player would reach out his hand and help the player up, revealing that you are playing as a Helghast this time around. But then came the knife in the neck, and then came the trailer with voiceover that sounded like a terrorist manifesto. The arch-villain Helghast are certainly still in effect in Shadow Fall, but I think the setting gives us good reason to hold out hope for a more nuanced narrative.

Set thirty years after the catastrophic finale of Killzone 3, Shadow Fall finds the Helghan survivors quarantined in a walled ghetto district of Vekta City. The fierce enmity that exists between these two factions must have been tempered somehow to allow this situation to arise. Diplomatic ties must have been reforged, humanitarian aid offered, and some measure of sympathy must have prevailed among the ISA populace. Helghan scum and ISA dogs working together to build a new city? It's enough to make a shooter fan misty. Meeting the characters from both factions who are responsible for constructing and maintaining this fragile peace could make for intriguing interactions and a less ham-fisted story. And of course, the rigid border controls, military-caliber police forces, and violent terrorist cells make for no shortage of combat opportunities, both covert and cacophonous. Here's hoping this powderkeg setting injects new life into the series by fueling new narrative entanglements and new gameplay scenarios.

Kevin:

I, too, would love to see new scenarios. We would both certainly agree that Killzone 2 and 3 had terrific action. (Sadly, I can't say the same about the original Killzone, which was fine but not a standout.) But the power of the PlayStation 4 will hopefully open up the action so that we fight through fewer corridors and move into spaces that allow more room to breathe. Consider Killzone 3's jetpack scenarios; what made them great was that suddenly we had the power to approach battle from different angles. On-foot gameplay could take a cue from these flights of fancy, littering larger battlefields with cover opportunities and letting the series' generally terrific enemy AI keep players on the move. And with larger arenas, perhaps we may be gifted with even more ways to zoom and fly about the place. In other words: Moar vehicles plz.

I also hope that Shadow Fall embraces its sci-fi setting. The series is science fiction, of course, but the action is more akin to the tried-and-true traditions of military shooters than to the futuristic mindsets of games like Unreal and Halo. (Which makes sense; developer Guerrilla has said that the series was inspired by 20th-century conflicts.) We've seen a few outlandish weapons, but I'd love to see even more. For that matter, it was nice to see the disguised Helghan reveal his true form in the demo and in the trailer, hinting at the possibility that the disguising aspect of Killzone 2/3's multiplayer might find its way into the single player. Throw in some cool far-future weapons (Resistance 3 and Bulletstorm had the right idea here) and some neat special abilities and gadgets (Trip mines? Ghostly doubles to distract the opposition? Poison-gas grenades?), and it might actually feel like the 24th century. And just think about the implications new abilities might have for the online multiplayer.

Chris:

Hey, in the past thirty years our technological advances have brought us cell phones, the Internet, and the Shake Weight (TM), so who knows what 30 years of Vektan scientific progress could bring? Letting the setting take the lead again, I'm imagining an array of weapons and devices focused on zone control and nonlethal incapacitation. These kind of tools could help maintain order around the ISA-Helghan border, and could fuel some new multiplayer game types as well. Picture a Border Patrol mode that, similar to the fantastic Warzone mode introduced in Killzone 2, shifts between multiple objectives as the factions vie for dominance. One moment you have to man a security checkpoint, scanning the crowd to spot enemies in disguise and then capturing them without killing the dozens of AI civilians that are passing through. If successful, the intel you grab from the enemy puts you on the offensive as you try to gain control of a terrorist safehouse by any means necessary. If you fail, the infiltrators blow a hole in the wall, and you must hold off the incoming enemies with gunfire and area denial devices.

This kind of branching multiplayer conflict would be a natural progression from Killzone 3's Operations mode. With the PS4's processing power, these scenarios could get even more complex, perhaps fueling a larger metagame in which the two factions strive to make enduring territorial gains, winning and losing districts as Vekta City simmers on the verge of all-out war. How quickly you complete missions and what kind of collateral damage you cause would inform your faction's morale, and whether or not you had the support of the people could have real, in-mission consequences. If things finally boil over, the gametypes focused on infiltration and sabotage would be small-scale conflicts away from the front lines, while the team deathmatch clashes would be much larger scale, spanning multiple destructible city blocks. Yes, I said destructible. What good is all that PS4 hardware if I can't have dynamic environments in my multiplayer matches?

Kevin:

"The more Shadow Fall distinguishes itself among the sea of mainstream shooters, the more likely it'll be to start the PS4's life cycle off with a bang."

Are we asking for too much at this stage? Nevertheless, given the environmental variability of games like Battlefield: Bad Company 2, it's hard not to throw this kind of thing into the Shadow Fall wishlist. The series has boasted some of the best multiplayer level design of the last several years; there's no reason to think that Guerrilla couldn't sustain that high level of design while still allowing walls to crumble, exposing players that thought they were hidden in relative safety.

But you know what tops my most-wanted list? Online cooperative play. Killzone 3 dabbled in co-op, but the split-screen feature was hardly inspired. And not a separate campaign, please, or another Gears-type Horde mode, but full campaign co-op support that lets me and my buddy take advantage of these open maps Chris and I have dreamed up. And I don't want co-op skimped on; it's not enough to throw two people into the level and call it a day, maybe breaching a door together here and there, or pulling your squadmate to a higher ledge. Split us up every so often to increase the tension. Take a cue from Dead Space 3 and use the opportunity to flesh out the secondary character. Let one player drive around some space-age vehicle while the other takes charge of a mounted gun. Whatever happens, I don't want this aspect of the series to be overlooked again.

I want a lot, don't I? Well--a guy can dream, I guess!

Chris:

Cooperative campaign play doesn't seem like a big ask from a series that has so often put you in a squad of other soldiers in environments with room to maneuver, so you go ahead and dream your dreams, Kevin. For me, my final wish is a new character progression and loadout unlock system for multiplayer. Remember the one from Killzone 2? With the ribbons and the medals and the confusion? I was oddly compelled by that system because it felt fresh and different. Killzone 3 streamlined things a bit and made it easier to comprehend, but I want Shadow Fall to further distance itself from the familiar and give me a system that draws me in, urges me towards specific goals, and gives me some flexibility with my class loadouts. It's a vague request, I know, but the more Shadow Fall distinguishes itself among the sea of mainstream shooters, the more likely it'll be to start the PS4's life cycle off with a bang.

Now that Kevin and I have shared our hopes for Killzone: Shadow Fall, it's time for you to chime in. What kind of innovation do you want to see? In what respects should the series stay the course? Share your thoughts, no matter how outlandish, in the comments below.

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Discussion

161 comments
TheMetalDrummer
TheMetalDrummer

And flamethrowers. Every war game seems to ignore the shit out of them. And being able to run for as long as you want, carrying wounded soldiers over your shoulder.

TheMetalDrummer
TheMetalDrummer

A game mode that relates back to the Saving Private Ryan style beach map where you have to successfully take over a central area, such as a building or something. The ability to go prone is needed. Battlefield utilizes this very well. Poison gas grenades, tripwire explosives, and bullets that hit a target and then explode a couple of seconds later (These bullets would only be available to snipers and is used only as "special ammunition", as in you only have a certain amount of them and once they're gone, you can't get more.) You should be able to drag wounded soldiers to safety.

TheMetalDrummer
TheMetalDrummer

Another thing I forgot is to have the bodies not disappear for a while. Makes the game look cooler and more realistic with all the dead bodies laying everywhere. I like the idea of permanent damage to a certain area that would affect how a player's body would function, kind of like Fallout 3. A movie maker option should also be available so you can watch all your matches from bird's eye view.

mmmkusa
mmmkusa

An ongoing multiplayer fight for vekta city where somehow an alliance is made between you and one of the factions and your job along with everyone in the faction is to fight for control? Of course, I'm talking about one central match that never ends, and somehow benefiting all members of the faction  that currently has control over vekta city

daveb81
daveb81

Simple Improvements for Killzone Multiplayer:

1) In the window that shows the players that are in the game, show what classes my teammates are so I know what class I should jump in as.

2) Be able to enlarge the minimap and have a compass on it and names for different streets, buildings, ramps, etc. on the map, maybe the ability to switch an overlaying grid on and off "he's in sector c2". how many times have I said "there's a marksman in the loft" and nobody knew what the hell I was talking about.

3) The ability to take notes or enter audio notes on other players (saved on my PS4 for my personal usage, not on PSN for everyone to see and hear). Have it so you can enter a note for that player for a particular board "he likes to camp at the end of the tunnel" or in general "he's a cheater" or  "he's aggressive". (Yes, I am a hardcore player)

4) Be able to have more control for where you spawn and what direction you are facing when you spawn. Drives me crazy when I spawn in front of a bad guy or I'm out in the open or I'm facing a wall trying to figure out where I am.

5)Have kz3's quick match and kz2's ability to choose what game you want to jump into along with what board is being played. Maybe even have time remaining and ping rate (see Warhawk).

6)The ability to stop in the middle of reloading to jump. The ability to stop in the middle of grabbing ammo to take action.

Spitf1re-us
Spitf1re-us

I think a Battlefield style multiplayer would be nice. With very large maps & vehicular/infantry warfare combined.

effendi360
effendi360

Blah blah blah blah... and SO WHAT ?! As far as I was told game runs in 720p @30fps - Where ary promises about full 1080 an 60 fps on ps4 ? Before announcement people even mentioned about 4k on ps4 in games ! Buhahahahha...

milomell
milomell

wow good job guys i like the idea the game is not out yet and u are bashing it already that is so mature lol don't worry i will tell sony to put a popcorn machine in the nest killzone to come because games is not game to u anymore u just want more

soundcellx
soundcellx

What a waste of a game, if you can even call PAAGGs games (Play As A Gun Games). The series are mediocre and Sony expects this as a system seller? Why has this not gone the way of Resistance yet (extinct)? I seriously miss the days when the PlayStation brand had tons of RPGs. 

idk95
idk95

better story more action destructible environments and large multiplayer battles please! I want the single and multilayer to feel like actual war!

conan2k6
conan2k6

What Killzone 4 shouldn't be:

Killzone 3 but with better graphics and more multiplayer options. The diversity of options in 3 weren't a problem, its problem is it was boring and lacked direction.

A monotonous single player narrative that pursues absolutely no character development or any attempt at genuine suspense.

A continuation of that clunky, cumbersome game engine that requires fine tuning of the x-y sensitivity settings to make it feel anywhere close to precise.

The 15 shot to kill rule that is beginning to feel really outdated. Killzone uses a cover system and as such one would expect that stealth and discretion in combat would pivotal. I'm tired of Call of Duty but Activision's approach to combat, i.e. low damage mortality and the 'one bullet can kill' mentality makes for a much more realistic shooter.


Venom_Raptor
Venom_Raptor

Good read, with some fine points here. But one thing I don't care about is multiplayer or co-op, I'll be getting it for the single player and hope they fuse many cool ideas into that than waste time on multiplayer

simon1812
simon1812

liked a lot of what I read here, I really hope developers are trying to deliver something that doesnt feel like just another shooter.

my wish list, and yest most of it already covered in this article:

emphasize co-op gameplay with vehicles that require to players to be effective

bigger maps

more vehicles

a co-op campaign, but not just 2 players, 3- 4 the more the merrier, I remember playing games like Badcompany 2 and spacemarine and I wondered "why can actual players take the place of those friendly eloquent yet inefficient  npc that tag along for most of the campaign?"

and co-op multiplayer modes, I always wondered how cool (or if any) would be if it was a team of 15-30 players against an army of AI controlled enemies in a massive map?


I want to be blown away byt the next next-gen games, and I dont get blown away by stuff I have seen already done (in a half-@ssed fashion) in many other shooters out there.

daveb81
daveb81

Lagzone 4? Maybe someone from Sony will actually play the last two in multiplayer and see how bad the lag is. Never played multiplayers with that much lag.....couldn't care less about the campaign.

Dark_MetalSonic
Dark_MetalSonic

"I hoped that the uncloaked Helghast walking towards the player would reach out his hand and help the player up, revealing that you are playing as a Helghast this time around." i wont ask anymore than this and some co-op mode

Ferg1213
Ferg1213

How about a game where you play on the bad side? I mean you'd be playing as the ISA, thinking you're fighting evil, but as the game(s?) go on you have to do the extremely inhumane tasks that war brings, such as: executing civilians, bombing cities/settlements etc. So you'd eventually feel guilt and realise that you're the oppressing side. Just a thought, never seen it before. 

Black_Pander
Black_Pander

they really need the player to be fighting cloaked helghan from the off. it looked in the video like all the enemies were pretty obvious, but if they were fighting enemies that were pretending to be ISA soldiers, that would teach people a bit about tension...

DarthLod
DarthLod

The imagery was flat out amazing. But, I would really enjoy this to be Single Player only. I am SICK of multiplayer in every...single...game now days.

CaptainGamespot
CaptainGamespot

I am looking forward to this launch title, a good choice for launch.

Sheik2
Sheik2

Here is the only thing the game needs to be good and kill halo once and for all: eliminate the fucking 5 sec regenerating health from COD, splitscreen options and the use of vehicles during multiplayer.

vallan2
vallan2

That video showed almost literally nothing. 

kryotech
kryotech

Chris has some great ideas here...I like the multiplayer mode ideas....

warhawk-geeby
warhawk-geeby

Bigger online battles making full use of multiplayer FPS, avoid following the same route of COD and look at the Battlefield/Halo games for ideas. A futuristic warzone in the Killzone universe with flying vehicles and tanks?  HELL YES.

I'm not a massive fan of the 'social' elements of games, however I am looking forward to seeing what they can potentially pull off with Killzone, no doubt Sony will be pumping money in to the title to be their flagship.. could be interesting.

Personally I enjoyed the motion-aspects of control in KZ2 & 3, just simple twisting the pad to open valves.  It wasn't anything over the top and it worked nicely as an added feature.  The 'light bar' included in the Dualshock 4 could make some pretty nifty additions to the game if the tracking is done successfully, only small mind.. I'm not after kinect sports :P

I love the assault rifle that changes into the sniper, absolutely brilliant idea.  Good work Guerrilla!

JRD1912
JRD1912

I really dont get the appeal to KZ.  Ive tried them, but they dont do anything for me.  I never been able to finish one.  Not wasting my money again.

xtraflossy
xtraflossy

If the Helghan are now in Vekta City, why do they still need the masks?

Personally, KZ3's mp loadouts really kinda turned me off in the long run.  I'd like a little more freedom to choose my weapons and my abilities.

garysingh34
garysingh34

One things for sure, the killzone universe does offer a lot of opportunities so I hope they dont screw it up.

garysingh34
garysingh34

Honestly; I do not like the look of this new setting. Killzones 2 & 3's more dark gloomy settings added to what Killzone for me is all about.

speedy5212
speedy5212

Even though I didn't mind KZ3's take on the weight feel and played its multiplayer alot , the feeling of the guns' weight is something that really made KZ2 unique and added a level of tension to its shooting mechanics, especially in multiplayer. I still remember playing for the top 1% of the week and earning the platinum on KZ2. KZ3 ? not so much but no doubt it was a great game too.

chrisbritt45
chrisbritt45

i like the new look it brings life into the game that wasent there befor. in the past 2 games it was very dark and dreary. it was all about the fallen helghasts fighting of the ISA. very effectively i might add. but its a chance to see the ISA as the ones on the deffencive again maby even behind the lines coop intel missions. where u half to disguise yourself as a helghast civilians to work your way into the undergound to find out what the helghasts have planed and gain more insight into why the helghast are so freakin cranky all the time.

DrEw1190
DrEw1190

@Spitf1re-us 

Have you played the other Killzone games? KZ3 especially has some vehicle types and varied map sizes, but mainly the objective based rounds are unique to multiplayer... it's not just run, kill, run kill, run, get killed. You have to plan a strategy to reach your objective.

SkaiNett
SkaiNett

@soundcellx There are still tons of RPGs. What are you even talking about?! And the generally accepted acronym is FPS (First Person Shooter). I'd argue with you about how this series is one of the best (story aside), but I'd rather not waste any more of my time on you.

Metroidalert911
Metroidalert911

@idk95 Agree, the cutscenes were just terrible in the third game and the story so so.

daveb81
daveb81

Lol, have you ever played kz3? Not one thing you said is true. Boring? that's an opinion I don't come close to agreeing with. The x-y sensitvity problem was kz2. 15 shot rule? you must of been playing a seriously laggy game dude. (wouldn't shock me, that is the killzones biggest problem) And the stealth was TOO MUCH of a problem. I couldn't count how many times I sang "camptown races" while playing multiplayer. One bullet kills (and kz3 has that to a certain extent) would only slow the action down even more. Take everything you said and reverse it.

Total_mischief
Total_mischief

@Ferg1213 Except the ISA is fighting space nazis. It wouldn't make much sense to turn tables around, have the ISA become oppressors and realize the Helgans were just misunderstood... in another game, sure, that could make an amazing game. But I think it would just destroy whatever credibility Killzone's storyline has left.

H4num4n
H4num4n

@Sheik2 Riiiight, the fact that Halo plays 10times better because it's not a shooting gallery with stupid A.I like Killzone doesn't matter at all....

Xilonix
Xilonix

@Sheik2 Dude, Halo isn't all about the game itself, it's also about story. 

This doesn't mean I wouldn't like to some more competition regarding the videogame series. :P

Total_mischief
Total_mischief

@JRD1912 I loved the first Killzone. The others had crappy story and laggy multiplayer. Let's see for this one.

haze_blaze
haze_blaze

@JRD1912 Too bad, they had some of the best multiplayer in an fps this gen!

chrisbritt45
chrisbritt45

@garysingh34 but the gloomy setting is gone there not on helghan anymore so they had to change it up. 

iempire68
iempire68

@Imperiacommando great ideas. how cool to play a helgast campaign. Would be nice to play missions from both sides.

Total_mischief
Total_mischief

@bensambutters That game was so underrated when it actually brought something you never saw in other shooters. And the publishers forced the developers to release a half-assed Demo that felt like every other third-person shooter to sell the game (yeah that worked).

garysingh34
garysingh34

@chrisbritt45 @garysingh34 True, I guess it just doesn't feel like Killzone, yet.