Killzone Dev Talks Its New IP and Helping to Design the PS4's Controller
Guerrilla Games discusses providing input on the DualShock 4's design and the prospect of making a more "open" game in the future.
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Longtime Killzone developer Guerrilla Games continues to support its latest game, Killzone: Shadow Fall, while working on a new IP of some sort. Both of these subjects and many more--including 1080p expectations and providing feedback on the DualShock 4--were topics covered by Guerrilla in a surprisingly frank Reddit AMA.
As the only first-party studio working on a shooter for the PlayStation 4's launch, Guerrilla Games "had a large input" on the design of the triggers on the DualShock 4, senior online producer Samrat Sharma explained. "Sony was very open to working with developers such as ourselves when they started making the PS4, and for us to be able to feed back this early on the dev cycle of new hardware meant we could gave game dev feedback and have that fruition into something amazing," he said.
Asked what advantages the studio had by developing a launch title in Shadow Fall, Sharma said, "I think the biggest advantages we had were to be able to feedback directly to the PS team on APIs or features we wanted. GG especially, as the only launch shooter had a large input on the trigger buttons for example.This helps us technically tune the game and discuss with Sony any roadblock we have, though to be sure, it means shooting for a moving target."
Another topic brought up Reddit users was the number of people playing Shadow Fall's multiplayer. Rather than avoid the question or deny the reality of the situation, as you might expect, we got a real answer. "I'll be honest, it's low, but it's enough that everyone is in a near full to full match, so we keep on supporting them," Sharma said, before talking up the effect the next multiplayer expansion's launch. "Intercept will bring in a lot of players who haven't played in a while."
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As for why Shadow Fall's multiplayer community has shrunk to the degree it has, Sharma suggested, "I think there is a lot to do with launch titles having different player cycles, but also a lot of players going back to play PS3/360 games after playing their PS4 for a bit. I expect a lot of new users after Intercept drops too."
With the exception of Shellshock: Nam '67, Guerrilla has worked exclusively on Killzone games for the last decade. That's part of what makes the new IP it's working on so intriguing, though we unfortunately won't be seeing this new game at E3 next week. Nothing is known about the game at this point, but when asked about the prospect of Guerrilla making a more "open" game, Sharma didn't rule the possibility out.
"Open games are a very different beast, and an unprepared team can spend loads of people and money making content for an open game (I used to work for Ubisoft, so I know the pitfalls to avoid)," he said. "Thankfully, we have an ever curious technical team that is not resting on its laurels and investigating new frontiers that help us push our content in new and interesting directions. As for open, specifically, you'll have to wait for the next game's announcement to see what it does."
Sharma doesn't see Guerrilla leaving Killzone behind entirely, but he does say the new IP stems from it wanting to move beyond being a Killzone-only studio. "I think the [Killzone] universe has a lot of potential, between the war torn earlier Killzones, the more spy like Shadow Fall, the time jumps in Mercenary, and everything in between," he said. "I think our next IP is a reaction to us not wanting to be just the Killzone studio anymore, but I think it will always be a universe we have high regard for and can mine for interesting stories to tell."
We've rounded up some other choice tidbits from the AMA, which you can find below.
- Sharma reiterated that the PS4 is very easy to develop for.
- Guerrilla has a "really good relationships with most" of Sony's other studios. There is some secrecy about new games to avoid leaks, but the first-party developers do "invite each other to try out our games early and often."
- At "last count," Guerrilla Amsterdam had upwards of 200 employees, while Guerrilla Cambridge (developer of PlayStation Vita shooter Killzone: Mercenary) had less than 70. Both locations are contributing to the new IP, as well as Shadow Fall's DLC.
- A "lot of thought" is being put into "how to handle our digital library for the PS4" on Sony's part. You can "expect announcements to that effect at some point in the future."
- Guerrilla has not yet decided whether it will make another game for Vita.
- On the frustration of criticism for games that don't run in 1080p at 60 frames per second: "It is frustrating not as a developer but whilst managing community expectations as everyone has different definitions of native 1080p, and some shortcuts are accepted and some aren't. It's very odd. Example: most games have sub-1080p [effects] that they scale up for 1080p, and that is typically expected/not noticed. But as long as we make the smoothest and best looking game we can, we think we doing our job well."
- With unlimited resources, Guerrilla would love to bring the handheld Killzone games to consoles. "But there are controls and technical issues to be solved before we can even start thinking about that, so don't know if it is in the offing in the immediate term."