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A week out from the release of Killzone 2, Game Console managed had a chat with Guerilla Games’ Senior Producer Steven ter Heide and Senior Online Designer Eric Boltjes. Killzone 2 has since released to unprecedented consumer and critical acclaim. Read on for an insight behind one of the year’s biggest titles.
Game Console: What do you think that Killzone 2 brings to the table in both single-player and multiplayer modes?
Steven ter Heide: We’re going back to the basics in terms of, ‘What does a first-person shooter mean?’ So, doing things in first person, making sure that you’re immersed in all of the action and you never break that immersion. So anything from removing the HUD, to making sure that even the cover system is in first-person. It’s not necessarily new, but it’s the way that we’ve kind of introduced those kind of mechanics and the way that we’re polishing them up. Eric Boltjes: For multiplayer, we’re really trying to deliver the full package. If you’re a casual gamer and just want to quickly get into online, and you can do that, but there’s also a lot of depth to the whole experience. We have clan support, we have tournament support, we have all kinds of mission modes, a class system, and there’s a lot to it.

GC: There’s been a lot of hope and expectation placed on Killzone 2 as a truly killer application for PS3. How do you handle the pressure of such high expectations?
SH: Barely (laughs). It’s a big responsibility to live up to those expectations that people have, however realistic or unrealistic they might be. We kind of helped create that monster back in 2005 when we released that trailer where we had links to what PlayStation 3’s capable of, should be capable of, and whether we’re able to deliver on those promises. There’s a lot riding on that for us as well. It’s a bit scary, but it’s kind of a motivation.

GC: The game has been released to generally favourable reviews so far. Is the pressure off now?
EB: The reception is very good, but we’re our own biggest critics. So we’re listening to all the reviews, even if there are small parts that they didn’t like.
SH: Internally, we had bets on what kind of scores we would be getting, and we’re a lot more critical than most people out there. We know we can do better in a lot of these areas.

GC: Do you both get a bit of a break, or is it back to work, support and patching once you’re done promoting Killzone 2?
SH:  We’ll be doing downloadable content. There’s a team back home already working on that, and we do want to extend the lifespan of the product. I can’t talk about specifics of downloadable content just yet, but there is this kind of stuff in the works. For the most part, we’re taking some time off and enjoying ourselves.

GC: The original Killzone was billed as a Halo killer before it was even released. Is that something you bear in mind during development?
SH: Absolutely not. Of course, we do play other games, and we would be stupid not to look at the competition and see if we’re actually doing something that sets us apart from other titles. We do want to be aware of what they’re doing, but we’re never going out there, saying, ‘”OK, that’s the title we want to beat.’ “ We just want to create something that, hopefully, people will enjoy, and enjoy for that experience.

GC: How did your overall approach to the development process change between Killzone and Killzone 2?
EB: One of the biggest things that we wanted to do was get more feedback. We actually do play-testing sessions a lot earlier, to find out whether we’re on track and whether we’re actually meeting what we set out to accomplish. So, rather than just say, ‘”This is what, in our heads, forms a good experience’experience”, we actually get some solid supporting data for it. It’s almost a scientific approach to making a game.

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