Killzone 3 is one of the bigger games coming from the Sony camp for E3, with the PlayStation 3 exclusive shooter trailing stereoscopic 3D visuals and the promise of bigger, badder everything. Gamasutra got to talk with Hermen Hulst, managing director of Dutch franchise creators Guerrilla Games ahead of the show, and put him on the spot regarding familiar FPS tropes (why is melee more powerful than guns?), 3D (do you design around it?), and regenerating health.The newest Killzone [YouTube teaser trailer] promises a deeper story, more environments, and more freedom of gameplay, but how do you introduce this to new players, when you start right where the last left off? Hulst has some of the answers, mixed with just a handful of "wait and see."One thing that Ive noticed in FPS games in general is that the melee is more powerful than shooting -- you can shoot a guy for 30 seconds before he dies, but you hit him once with a rifle butt and hes done.
Do you ever think about justifying this in the game world?Hermen Hulst: Thats something that were balancing continuously. As soon as theres a new system like this brutal melee system that comes in, and theres new variances within that, were pulling that through play testing straight away. You gotta balance that immediately. If you have a knife kill that somebody could finish the entire game with, thats not good, right? So you want to go back and make sure that youve got some encounters that really require you to either take your pistol or rifle out to finish him. Of course, here with this gunplay that weve got requiring you to hop through from iceberg to iceberg, youre gonna be shooting from the air, so thats already an example of where you cant just use a brutal melee or close combat.How early do you start playtesting for things like this?HH: We start it almost straight away. As soon as we got a level that is some sort of functional indication of what its gonna play like, we get guys from the team, we get guys from the street, through Sony, in London and we also do it here stateside. Playtesting is a huge thing for us, so we do it all the time.It seems like a lot of the more successful FPS developers are advocating aggressive play testing. Obviously Valve does it from first prototype stage.HH: I think, frankly, in Killzone 2, it was kinda the first game where we did a lot of playtesting, though we started a little bit too late, I think. So you had some pretty severe difficulty spikes in that game still.
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