Killzone HD (Re-)Developer Interview, Part 2

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Killzone HD (Re-)Developer Interview, Part 2

In part 1 of the Killzone HD (re-)developer interview, Guerrilla Technical Director Michiel van der Leeuw and Senior Programmer Frank Compagner discussed the challenges they faced while bringing Killzone to a new platform. In the second part of our interview, they talk about the changes and enhancements made to Killzone HD by the conversion team.

Killzone HD on PS3

Victor Zuylen: Last week you explained how you retrieved the code and assets for the original Killzone. What happened once you handed them over to the conversion team?
Michiel van der Leeuw, Technical Director: That’s where the real fun began! There were corruptions and missing bits in the exported data, which caused all kinds of weird artifacts like polygons shooting through the game world. For the conversion team, the first order of business was to go in and fix all that.

Frank Compagner, Senior Programmer: Our old exporters no longer functioned, so the conversion team rather ingeniously re-used portions of the Killzone 3 pipeline with some manual hacks to convert the data back to Killzone 1 format.

ML: Yes, they really went above and beyond the call of duty. The team even solved a few bugs we hadn’t discovered when the original Killzone went to gold master.

VZ: Can you give an example?
ML: The Offices level from chapter 2 is a good example. In the original, there were a couple of pillars that the player could just walk right through. The bug slipped by us due to a very, very late change to the content.

FC: I remember how [Killzone 3 producer] Seb Downie really despaired over that one. He was our QA Manager back then, and the poor fellow discovered the bug right after Killzone had gone to gold master, so there wasn’t any time left to fix it.

ML: The Killzone HD conversion team solved the problem by painstakingly recreating the physics mesh and merging it back into the game. When I showed the fixed version to Seb the other day his response was, “Now I can die with honor.”

Killzone HD on PS3

VZ: Aside from fixed bugs, what else has been improved for the HD version?
FC: Where possible, the Killzone assets we retrieved have been resampled or recreated at a higher resolution. Textures, for instance, were originally designed at twice the required size and then downscaled to fit into PlayStation 2 memory. For PlayStation 3 that’s no longer a concern, so the game uses the full-sized textures. Similarly, the menus and HUD-elements have all been upscaled and reworked to look good in 720p.

ML: A lot of the improvements to the game have been facilitated by switching to the more powerful PlayStation 3 hardware. The frame rate is smoother, the shaders are of a better quality, the LOD settings have been tweaked to nearly always show the highest level of detail, and the engine now applies MSAA filtering – which, by the way, looks really sharp on a lower-polygon title like Killzone.

FC: The conversion team also introduced trophy support and an updated control scheme, to bring the game in line with modern PlayStation 3 shooters. I believe [Killzone 2 and 3 game director] Mathijs de Jonge helped out with the controls?

ML: Yes, he did. The difference between PlayStation 2 and PlayStation 3 controller sensitivity meant that the controls required tweaking anyway, so Mathijs used the opportunity to change them to something more familiar to players of Killzone 2 and 3.

Killzone HD on PS3

VZ: Does that mean there is now a ‘jump’ button in Killzone HD?
FC: No, something like that would require extensive changes to the levels, to prevent players from climbing out of the geometry.
ML: More importantly, it would run counter to what we were trying to do with Killzone. The omission of the ‘jump’ button was a very deliberate design decision, almost like a statement against other shooters of the time. We wanted players to have a visceral, realistic experience, and that meant preventing them from traversing our game by bunny-hopping or rocket-jumping. Even when we re-introduced jumps for the obstacle-heavy terrains in Killzone 2, they were ‘weighty’ jumps – not perfect parabolic arcs, but the sort of short leaps a heavily packed soldier would make.

FC: It’s interesting to see how many of the features and design decisions that shaped the sequels – things like weightiness, hit response systems, brutal melee moves, and elaborate reload animations – all evolved from that early desire for visceral realism. Guerrilla always tried its best not to make players feel like disembodied guns floating through a level.

VZ: What do you hope players will get out of Killzone HD?
FC: Killzone HD will obviously have nostalgic value for fans who’ve played it on PlayStation 2, but I was pleasantly surprised to see how well most of it holds up after eight years. If you liked Killzone 2 or 3, or even if you’re just interested in the Killzone universe, Killzone HD will be a lot of fun.

ML: It’s a chance to see where it all began and play a unique entry in the Killzone trilogy. Killzone HD doesn’t just differ from its successors because the game takes place on Vekta instead of Helghan, it also has a very different approach to the way it presents its characters. You can play as Templar, Luger, Rico or Hakha, and use different abilities, weapons and tactics depending on who you choose. It’s the only Killzone title to do so, and I think players will enjoy it a lot.

VZ: Thanks for the interview, guys.
FC: Our pleasure!

Killzone HD will be released as part of the Killzone Trilogy bundle on October 24th. A standalone version will hit the PlayStation Store on the same date for $14.99. Stay tuned to and PlayStation.Blog for more Killzone Trilogy and Killzone HD news!

Comments are closed.


6 Author Replies

  • nice but how about more info on Killzone Mercenary, thank you.

  • Thanks for releaseing killzone trilogy I can’t tell how much fun i’ve had with kz2 and 3 and I’m looking forward to play killzone hd. I already sold my copy of kz2 and 3 so I can’t wait to buy the trilogy.

  • Any news about killzone mercenary? The game looks insane. I liked killzone liberation so I’m almost sure I’ll love killzone mercenary.

    • Killzone: Mercenary won’t be out until 2013, so you’ll have to wait a little while longer I’m afraid. :)

  • Was 3D ever considered ?

    • Not that I’m aware of. The thing about 3D technology is that it looks much better if you take it into account early on during development. For example, Killzone 3 includes large-scale setpieces (like the oil rigs) that play with depth and height to maximize the 3D effect for the player. Killzone wasn’t originally developed with 3D in mind, so adding it after the fact wouldn’t look very impressive.

  • No jump no 3-D at least there is kz mercenary

  • Looking forward to playing this game again.

  • I love killzone and its the only shooter that I see as different than all the other shooters out there. Although the game is based on sci. Fi. It is rooted in reality with its storytelling, physics, animations and all sorts. I would love for the trilogy to be ported ti the ps vita and I can’t wait for killzone mercenaries. I will be buying this game as soon as its out for ps3

  • Will there be a demo for this?

    Also, I really liked KZ2 but was hugely disappointed with KZ3. It looked great but the story was terrible and a lot of the characterization was poorly done. You changed the characters, Sev was cool in KZ2, flat and cornball in KZ3. That speech he made made me wish I wasn’t playing as him. Narville went from a badass to a bumbling wishy washy new age guy. A lot of the writing was just bad and the ending was atrocious. What happened?

    There is a reason KZ2 is 91 on Metacritic and KZ3 is 84. KZ2 is the better game. I am worried you guys have hired Crysis 2’s writers for the next installment. The writing in Crysis 2 was also terrible. Please hire some good writers. Make a strong, compelling war story that includes the brutality of war and toll on civilians and has deep characters. No corny speeches. Don’t use ham actors like Malcolm MacDowell or whoever voiced that awful character Jammer. Listen to your fans. There were a lot of good suggestions and criticisms on the forums that were brushed off by MotherH and the series stumbled as a result.

    • We do not have a demo planned for Killzone HD. With regards to the rest of your comment, we’re aware that the Killzone 3 story didn’t meet expectations for some fans, and we’re taking it into account for future titles. We very much appreciate the feedback you guys have for us, even if we can’t always reply. :)

  • Has a price been announced? $9.99 – 14.99 would hit the spot. Maybe a PS Plus discount? ;)

  • @ Mattsta001

    Blame the development time wasted on K3’s Gimmicks – Motion gaming, 3D & Sharpshooter. K3 was bought out so early purely to help sony sell you a 3D TV and a suckass nintendo-wannabe attachment.

  • I think i’d like to try this game with a demo before I commit to buying it. Please plan on having a demo available prior to launch. Thanks

  • @ 8
    I think Killzone three was better than two my personal opinion plus the 3-D looked incredible I never go by what a website tells me a game is good or not because I have eyes and hands and I could play it for myself

  • Just saying I did like k3 story. I think it was very compelling. The game loos beautiful.

  • I love all 3 installments for different reasons, but Killzone 1 is such a complete game. Being able to play different characters makes for a more varied kind of gameplay. I can’t wait for playing it on the PS3.

  • never played the first one, i love Killzone 2 and 3 its heavy & loud!
    ima get this one for sure!

  • excited to see how it all began. in regards to KZ3…the ending killed it for me, the story was decent, but the way it climaxed at the end, only to leave you waiting for the inevitable KZ4, i think the way this game depict war should be MUCH MORE INTENSE, MORE GRAPHIC, AND REALLY EMPHASIZE ON THE STRUGGLE BETWEEN THE ISA AND HELGHAST

    i liked the graphical upgrade, 3D really worked well with KZ3 online and off. my biggest gripe, no post release love. i really expected there to have been a plethora of stage dlc with dynamic environments taking advantage of much of what i was hoping for..

    it appears all the bigger budget, exclusive ps3 games ending have been nothing short of disappointing…looking dead at Resistance 3 when writing this..

    again, excited to see how it all began, just thought i add a little insight for the future..i hope

  • Hey Victor, please do it compatible with remote play on PSVITA! this will be great!

  • Can’t wait to play Killzone 1 again! Will we see a Killzone4 anytime soon?

  • ive never played a killzone, could someone tell me if there is a co-op couch campaign? and if the multiiplayer modes will have ai bots like black ops?

    • The single player campaign isn’t co-op, but you can play split-screen multiplayer matches against bots with (or against) a buddy.

  • “ML: Yes, they really went above and beyond the call of duty.”

    lol. I see what you did there, Mister.

  • sweet thanks for the quick reply, ill pick this up on the 30th when i go pick up my pre order of AC3

  • I for one am super excited for this HD Re-release. I was very impressed with KZ2 and while KZ3 did not have as strong a campaign story, the 3D graphics and Move support really made it a more imersive experience. KZ3 is my favorite FPS multiplayer ever. Warzone is the best game mode I have ever played and Operations was so much fun with my clanmates. I really hope we see a broad expansion of Operations in the next Killzone.

    With Killzone HD I get to see where it all began an experience I doubt I would have had without a PS3 version. Thanks to you team for not only making it possible but going above and beyond to make it a truly spectacular experience for PS3 fans.

  • For those of you that has never played Killzone pick up the trilogy as the games are incredible

  • Everybody claim for something on Vita, remote mode or Mercenary….

  • Hi Victor, thanks for your response and I’m happy to know GG have taken the criticism on board. Really wish I could bounce some ideas off the devs sometime. You could always have a closed forum for a select invited few that agree to a NDA. It would give you an outsiders perspective and provide valuable feedback during development. Just an idea.

  • GG, you guys have to separate yourselves with the future killzone title(KZ:Mercenary is sounding like a step in the right direction). Being grouped in with Call of duty, Battlefield or medal of honor, does you no favors. As pointed out earlier, going from a 91 average to a 83 is a decent drop(because scores are viewed very differently this gen upon the masses). It’s not about so much going out of your way, it’s about returning to where it all started. The quote below sums it all up for me…

    “You can play as Templar, Luger, Rico or Hakha, and use different abilities, weapons and tactics depending on who you choose. It’s the only Killzone title to do so, and I think players will enjoy it a lot [Along with Secondary Fire].”

    Bring those features back and build upon them. It would mean the levels need to be opened up more than they were in kz3 and for A.I to control a bit differently throughout these levels so that the abilities of these characters won’t feel forced upon the player in certain areas only.

    If kz1 was updated to ps3 standards(A.I., graphics ect.), it would blow kz2 and kz3 out the water.

  • Thank you for remaking this game. “Now I can die with honor.” you should pass this concept of honor on to bethesda.

  • Will Killzone 4 have a separate online co-op mode like Resistance 2 had?

  • I was reading through the comments an VZ said KZ3 didn’t meet some players expectations… seriously? I played through KZ3 2 times already and once in 3d. Beautifully crafted game an the story I thought was exceptionally better than KZ2 and I really liked KZ2.

    In any case I’m grabbing the trilogy even though I already own all 3 games can’t resist trilogy packs but trophies and remastering KZHD helped too.

  • Please add a proper story mode in Killzone: Mercenaries!! I hate objective based 5 mins missions….yeah, I hate Unit 13!

    Please!!! I WANT STORY MODE!!!

  • I also enjoyed more KZ3 than KZ2. But still, the story in both is disappointing. The game needs to be EPIC!!!, and the main character should achieve awesome tasks, like Snake!! If you want people to care about the main dude, you have to put a lot of attention in him, and make him do Badass stuff!! Also the games are too linear, I would enjoy the games more if they had bigger scenarios with liberty to explore them.

  • I like KZ3 more than KZ2. I don’t play online though.

    And I also hope that Mercs isn’t mission based. I prefer story progression.

  • Good to hear you kept the game pure and did not include jumping. Cannot wait for this. I will have to officially retire my PS2 now that this has come over in the best of fashion. Thank you all for your hard work on getting this into the HD generation. My gratitude is yours.

  • Just wanted to chime in with my two cents!

    GG, you guys did an incredible job of making KZ3 leaps and bounds better than KZ2. Everything was improved for KZ3.
    Bigger scale, epic set peices, better more responsive controls, SPLIT SCREEN campaign!!!
    When KZ3 came out I wasn’t excited at all after having played KZ2, until I played the demo in split screen with a family member. I was sold! It had by far one of the most epic split screen campaigns I’ve played this generation.
    Yes, the campaign ended on a slightly anticlimactic note, but I was still overly satisfied with how good a time I had.
    That and the online multiplayer was my favorite played this gen also. I’m not even a big online mp kinda guy, but I just loved the campaign so much that the mp sucked me in.
    I cant wait for KZ HD, Mercenary and everything else that comes your way. Keep up the good work !

  • Killzone1 is still my favorite of the series. Amazingly varied environments, fantastic weapon selection with secondary fire on almost all of them, a campaign that draws you in, and some of my favorite multi-player maps of all time in any shooter, Park Terminal, BeachHead and Canyon Crossing. My only disappointment with the game originally was that there wasn’t an online map based on the level with all the Cherry Blossom like trees and leaves everywhere. Those assets would have made a fantastic mp level.

    I’ll be buying this HD remake on PSN. Great pricing guys, all things considered. I’m SO excited to play this game living up to the original vision, not being held back by hardware, and in fact even with some technical improvements.

    I would like to express my one disappointment as I’ve voiced before. No online. I’m sure you have more servers than you really need for Killzone 2 and 3, I really would have loved playing Killzone online again, especially considering there would be FAR more players than the game had originally. A note to GG. If you’ve got some guys hanging around with not much to do, I’d gladly pay for a DLC putting the online back into Killzone 1.

  • Now i can die with honor

  • This looks awesome. Totally buying it sooner than later. Thank you for adding trophies. Some people like those at Insomniac don’t understand people want trophies for all games. It shouldn’t have to be a full $60 retail game just to be required to have them. Sound Shapes is $15 and has a platinum trophy. They know what’s up too. I’ve never played Killzone 1, so I’m looking forward to it!! A simple PS2 port would not have gotten me to buy it, let alone play it. The only PS2 game I still have is Manhunt and the ones on PSN I put on my Vita and rarely play them at all. When a developer breathes new life into a classic, they usually end up getting my money and respect.

  • How many disc is on the retail version?

  • Thank you GG for this remake because right before i heard about the remake i was about to buy the original from gamestop on ps2. so you guys saved me and gave me a better experience thats gonna be in HD and modified to what it was suppose to be!!!!

  • Been wanting to play kz1 for a long time. I really like the different character options. Seen videos on youtube and it seems great. I also havnet’ played KZ3 yet…just 2. I almost picked up kz3 last week, glad I didn’t as now I will just get the trilogy.

  • Killzone Hd Day 1.

    Victor, Can you guys add the ISA Intruder into killzone 3 Mp? It would add to having a more chaotic experience having that flying vehicle in killzone 3 multiplayer. Also why was the LAN option taken out of KZ3?

    I bought to copies of KZ2 ’cause of the LAN option. I would like to buy a second copy of KZ3 but there’s NO LAN option, Hint…hint, hint.

    Thank you

  • Glad to see Killzone is joining 2 & 3 in the graphics department.

    Though, I have to be honest when I say I thought stereoscopic 3D would be a given on this. I’m not sure if its because if other recent collections including this ( Jak, R&C, God of War Origins, ICO/SOTC, Sly Cooper), or because you guys nailed it with KZ3, but I feel it would have been a nice feature to have and will be missed by hose of us with 3D displays.

    Is there any chance this would be considered as a future update?
    Please be honest! ;)

  • Now I can finally get into this series, since I missed the title when it was on PS2. I started w/ KZ3 but had to stop because I didn’t know the story well. Anyway it looks like it will be a lot of fun.

  • This is an awesome game, so I’ll be buying it.

  • KZ1 in HD – thank you so much! I’m definitely getting this.

    “…we’re aware that the Killzone 3 story didn’t meet expectations for some fans, and we’re taking it into account for future titles.”

    Victor, my humble opinion is that KZ3 kinda lost some of the important elements from the KZ2 (perhaps the best shooter in this generation – raw & rugged war game). Quite frankly KZ3 was trying to be too “mainstream” with CoD-type of mission structure (shorter missions where the focus and “style” is constantly changing etc). KZ2 was unique, but KZ3 felt more like a “just another shooter” – definitely a good game, but something was missing.

    In any case, KZ4 is very high on my wish list so keep up the good work guys. Thank you for creating such a good shooter series.

  • Killzone 3 was good but didnt like the way it ended.

  • I have question and would please like a reply from someone, will you be able to use your sights instead of hipfiring all the time like the ps2 version

  • Hey Victor will you have the option to aim down sights on the ps3 version of killzone 1

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