It's rare for any publisher to debut a new game not with simple screenshots or a teaser video, but with a fully formed level that we're then allowed to play through ourselves. But that's exactly how PlayStation 3 daddies Sony just revealed the eyeballs-blistering chaos of Killzone 3 - and in full 3D, no less.
Unlike the infamous pre-rendered trailer that teased and tantalized with Killzone 2 imagery - and nary a scrap of information - literally years before the final product arrived, the Killzone 3 coming out party was all about dishing out the details. After a very brief introduction, Herman Hulst, Managing Director of the series' developer Guerrilla Games, took the microphone and started telling us everything we wanted to hear, complete with pictures and video.
The video comes from what we're told is the fourth level of the game, which takes place in an Arctic Ocean-like location marked by roiling seas and derelict oil rigs caked in snow and ice. The player fought his way across what looked like the top of one of those oil rigs, armed first with a machine gun (looks like the trusty M82, for returning players), then pulling out a pistol and hucking a grenade behind a pile of sandbags, where one red-eyed Helghan soldier was particularly well protected.
Dashing down an open stairway, across a platform and into a small corner room, the demoer revealed something we'd learn more about later - an all-new melee system, which apparently makes it really easy to kick an enemy square in the face and then bash them into a crate. A later video reel will show the player rifle-butting an enemy in the teeth, bashing another foe in the back of the knee, and perhaps most brutally: Kneeing a Helghan in the groin, pushing the crumpling man to the ground with a foot to the chest, and then rifle-butting him in the throat. Seems handy.
Further description of that will have to wait though, because now the demoer has moved on to showcase a new weapon - a rocket launcher capable of firing bursts of a half-dozen guided missiles at a time. Our quick search of the internet's various corners has revealed to us that this lovely beast is called the WASP - our eyes tell us we're going to give it another, more affectionate nickname.
As one final explosion rocks the screen, the video ends and Hermen beats us to the question: "What can you expect from Killzone 3?" He then starts laundry listing big ideas. First are the Helghast soldiers, who will be smarter, scarier, and come toting new gear like jet packs and bigger weapons. Second is the planet Helghan itself - players will explore not only the frozen environment we just saw, but alien jungles, a nuclear wasteland, and an orbital space station.
Third is the story, which hopes to provide emotional impact to the gigantic set pieces and hectic action. Killzone 3 takes place right after the events of Killzone 2. A nuke was detonated right in the evil Helghast's home planet, and enemy leader Visari was killed by the good guys (that's us). But it was an empty victory. Humanity's forces were still devastated, and now two of Visari's top generals are fighting for control of the Helghast forces - which are more hell-bent on galactic domination than ever.
Another element worth mentioning is the fancy tech running under the hood. There are four different systems streaming sound, graphics, and other details onto the screen. The level we'll be playing (the same one we just saw a chunk of) is ten times the size of the average Killzone 2 level. There's depth of field audio, whatever that means in practical terms.
And, finally, there is 3D. We'll have more about that when our hands-on posts in a few more hours (noon Pacific time, to be precise), but suffice to say that it's designed to make it easier for the player to see and navigate the battlefield, giving you a clear idea of just how far away that enemy, crate, or streaking rocket actually is.
Oddly, no release date of any kind for Killzone 3 was offered. But if the rest of the game is as far along as what we've seen, it wouldn't shock us if it hits shelves this very fall.
May 26, 2010