Speaking to BitMob, Guerrilla Games’ Senior Producer Steven Ter Heide has admitted that the plot of Killzone 2 wasn’t what it could have been. Though competent and hardly as shoddy as some other FPSs’ narratives we could mention, the studio lead acknowledges that story “is one of the things that we haven’t been very good at.”
Highlighting Uncharted 2’s strong character driven plot-arcs, Steven says Naughty Dog’s storytelling masterpiece is something they’ve taken inspiration from. He states:
“So let’s look at the leader in the genre and see what they do storytelling-wise. It’s not so much one-liners — I think what they did really well is take sort of a more light-hearted approach and not take themselves too seriously.
And that’s something that people commented on Killzone 2 as well, that the game’s very serious, very dark. It’s not supposed to be a light-hearted war, but to be so dark and grim about it, it’s not going to help either. So we’re going to take a more light-hearted approach, and steer away from kind of the grim overtones that are so present in Killzone 2.”
Steven also admits that, if you want something done right, you hire a professional. Commenting on how most of the Killzone universe has been crafted by people from Guerrilla – people who are more adept at creating games rather than rip-roaring story – Guerrilla not only turned to professional actors to play-out the scenes ala Uncharted 2, they also turned to Hollywood for help with the script.
“We want to make sure that we get the right talent in for those kinds of things, so in terms of storytelling we’ve gotten in a writer specifically to write the story rather than have some of the guys on the team do it. Let’s get somebody fresh in, take a look at the previous games, see what can be fixed, and see where we want to take the story.”
You’ve got some proper actors in there and the chemistry between the actors is good, they’ll start to kind of improvise on the lines and make the story a lot better, because it feels more natural that way. So we’re also looking to bring in a lot of Hollywood talent this time around to make sure that the chemistry is there, and the level of acting elevates the storytelling as well.
Finally, Steven also touches upon how the circumstances for the ISA and the fight on their hands against the Helghast is vastly different to what has come before. Gone is the cocksure swagger of an invading force confident of their superiority. With Helghan’s capital Pyrrhuss now a smouldering ruin – peppered with the remains of the ISA armada – the technologically advanced invader has become the outnumbered and outgunned insurgent.
“At the end of Killzone 2 you kind of felt like you had the upper hand, the technological edge on the Helghast. You had the better equipment, the more impressive weapons.
But at the end of Killzone 2, with the big ships coming in, that’s really where the Helghast fleet has been hiding, and they take along all these new technological advancements that they’ve been developing. Basically you have to scrounge for weapons and pick up anything that the Helghast have brought along.”