GDC 07: Killzone footage used to hype PlayStation Edge

Phil Harrison uses new glimpse of elusive PS3 shooter to tout Sony's new suite of Maya-based developer tools.

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By almost all accounts, the most controversial moment of the 2005 Electronic Entertainment Expo came during Sony's press conference. As part of a montage of trailers for games coming to the then-just-announced PlayStation 3, the company showed off an intense trailer for a new Killzone title. While many dismissed the trailer's nearly photorealistic graphics as CG animation, Sony insisted that the clip was rendered in real time using the PS3's RSX graphics chip.

Since then, though, the PS3 Killzone has disappeared, save for a report in a Dutch newspaper claiming the game's budget will run close to $20 million. The absence of any new footage led to further doubts about the E3 05 trailer's authenticity, and rampant speculation that a new trailer and/or demo would be flaunted at each subsequent Sony press event.

Last night at Sony's 2007 Game Developers Conference press briefing in San Francisco, the company did indeed show off the first clip of Killzone in nearly two years. The segment was presented by Sony Worldwide Studios president Phil Harrison to help hype PlayStation Edge, a new suite of development tools Sony is offering to PS3 game developers free of charge.

"The purpose of this clip is to show you the technology, not the game," Harrison said before rolling the footage. PlayStation Edge has two major components. The first is GCM Replay, an "incredibly powerful, RSX profiling tool" to help designers "get maximum performance" out of the PS3's GPU. Second is a suite of "lightweight, optimized libraries" to help developers take advantage of SPU geometry processes like animation and compression using the console's powerful Cell processor.

After the tech-speak, the Killzone trailer rolled--and showed in-game sequences of varying quality. Set in a desolate urban wasteland, the segment showed human commandos fighting house-to-house with heavily armored Hellghast troopers. Interior sequences ran smoothly, looking reminiscent of F.E.A.R. with slicker graphics. A suitably chaotic Call of Duty 3-like tank battle with armored personnel carriers blasting alleyways was also shown. However, several in-engine slow-motion sequences failed to impress, with some in the back rows grousing that the shots looked like they were taken from the original Killzone. For more details, check out GameSpot's impressions of the clip.

Debate aside, the Killzone clip did pique the interest of the audience. It also ended with a teaser--a black screen with the Killzone logo and "E3" in stylized letters at the bottom. "You can expect to see much more in July," promised Harrison.

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