Killzone: Shadow Fall Q&A: Creating Echo and Sinclair

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Killzone: Shadow Fall Q&A: Creating Echo and Sinclair

As we announced earlier this month, we’ve secured the amazing talents of David Harewood and Jamie Gray Hyder to portray two key characters from Killzone: Shadow Fall – VSA director Sinclair and Helghast intelligence operative Echo. But who exactly are Sinclair and Echo, and how did their character designs come about? We asked Assistant Art Director Dan Calvert to shed some light on these enigmatic characters.

PlayStation.Blog: Who are Sinclair and Echo, and what roles do they play in KZ:SF?

Dan Calvert: Sinclair is the head of the Vektan Security Agency – his job is to make sure the balance of power favors Vekta without escalating the cold war into open conflict. Part spymaster – part diplomat, and with a shrewd strategic mind, he is Lucas’ direct CO and mentor.

Like Lucas, Echo is an elite operative tasked to cross the wall, and her mission puts them on a collision course. She is extremely dangerous; an equal but opposite reflection of the player character.

Killzone: Shadow Fall on PS4

PSB: How did the design of these characters evolve?

DC: In order to get stronger performances from our lead characters on KZ:SF we looked to improve how we integrate the casting of our lead actors into the design process. Before we’d write, design and cast a character but due to the complexities of game development this wasn’t always done in an optimal order.

Killzone: Shadow Fall on PS4

On KZ:SF we made sure we always started with a clear idea of who a character was and how we wanted them to be portrayed, then cast someone who was perfect for the role. That actor is used as the likeness, the vocal performer and for full performance capture. In the likeness we subtly emphasize those traits of the actor that made us want to cast them in that role, in a design process we call characterization. We don’t want to spend time on lengthy exposition, so we wanted to make sure that when you first see a character you understand exactly who they are, their relation to you, their personality and history and so on.

This was pretty tricky – even subtle tweaks to someone’s face can make them look like unrecognizable or even inhuman (or inhelghast). We change as little as necessary – for instance we needed Sinclair to be a little older, partly to shorthand his role as mentor, and partly to show how the stresses of his very difficult job have taken their toll on him. Sinclair might have more worry lines than David, but he is still very much David. For Echo, we needed to make her Helghan heritage obvious without making her look sickly and unthreatening, or losing Jamie’s likeness – and we also added a few subtle design features to hint at her difficult background as a Helghast agent and before.

The central pillar behind our costume design is functionality & practicality. Echo’s costume is mostly built from the same combat gear used by our most elite enemies – whilst she is an elite, she is still a professional solider in the Helghast army and gets few special privileges. The red hood shadowing her face is the only personal gear she wears – even that is designed to recall the angular, pentagonal shapes seen in the helmets of our elites. Echo’s self-identity is completely bound to her duty as a Helghast agent, and what she wears reflects this. Despite being a very important official, Sinclair wears a worn, wrinkled field jacket instead of a suit or formal uniform. It tells you without words that he’s practical and hands on, that he cares more for action than appearances, and that he sleeps in his office. Straps & braces, binding old war injuries overlap his shoulders and thigh – these little features suggest that Sinclair got his position through experience and competence, and he’s willing to make great personal sacrifice to preserve Vektan ideals.

It’s important to keep coming back to the central idea of practicality and functionality – these design features must be believable and organic to the character. If they’re too overt or impractical then the whole design falls apart and the character becomes very two-dimensional.

Killzone: Shadow Fall on PS4

PSB: From a technical standpoint, how have the characters evolved from past Killzone titles?
Killzone: Shadow Fall on PS4

DC: They’ve improved in every way possible. From a straightforward modeling and rendering POV we’re now able to make them more real, and shave off all those rough edges – like missing detail – that would otherwise distract you. We’ve been able to nail the original vision for these characters with complete attention to detail without the technology getting in the way. We’ve been able to capture many things that were impossible before – from small things like iris refraction to broader things like metallic reflection. All things which combine to sell the illusion that the character you see on screen is a living, thinking being.

Besides more detail, more advanced lighting and more accurate material expression, we’ve also improved our animation systems including full soft and rigid body simulations. This obviously gives fully dynamic cloth, which works brilliantly for simulating things like the cape on the Helghan Sniper, but on our lead characters we also use it for more subtle things. Sinclair’s collar will now bend and fold as his head pushes it away for instance – a small detail, but what would have been an distracting intersection is now seamless. This technology opened up new possibilities in terms of design – suddenly multiple layers of loose clothing are no longer impossible for example – and so whilst we avoided adding these things just to show off, we no longer have to dismiss them at the drawing board.

In addition to improving our engine technology, we’ve also made technological strides in our capturing and authoring. Our ability to capture the likeness of an actor has improved, utilizing state of the art photometric 3D scanning. We now do full performance capture, recording the voice, body and face of the actor at the same time – ensuring the final game has the same consistent, authentic performances our actors delivered in the studio.

Thanks, Dan. If you haven’t seen it yet, don’t miss GameSpot’s SDCC 2013 interview with Jamie Gray Hyder about her role as Echo. Stay tuned to PlayStation.Blog and because we’ll be revealing additional characters and actors in the coming months!

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  • wow this game looks great will be buying this day one

  • Pre-order has been sitting on Amazon for a long time. I can’t wait for this game to arrive. Viva la PS Vita!

  • This will be my first PS4 game and i cant wait. Any word if there will be a collectors edition?

  • What’s with this rumor that the PS4 OS uses 3.5 GB RAM? That sounds excessive and would be better used for games. Someone from Sony should probably comment before the FUD gets out of hand.

  • This game looks AMAZING!!!! Another Pre-order for me today!

  • The KZ series is one of the best to me, compared to all the other FPS out there. No doubt in my mind I will be getting this!!!!!!!!

  • Christian399 What’s with this rumor that the PS4 OS uses 3.5 GB RAM? That sounds excessive and would be better used for games. Someone from Sony should probably comment before the FUD gets out of hand.

    This is not true that is the Xbone that uses 3.5 GB of RAM not the PS4 the PS4 uses about 1 GB of RAM.

    I have this game all paid up at my Game Stop with my PS4 this game is going to be off the hook.

  • please explain this eurogamer is saying PS4 has only 5.5 gbs of ram to developers … wasent 7gb? 3.5gb to OS is a waste games is the focus. Thats less for games than xbox one… what the hell. ?????

  • @ Overtaker. Eurogamer printed it, other sites are picking up on it now:

    They seem pretty convinced that this is the case. Seems ridiculous if its true. No need for such a bloated OS footprint.

  • Overtaker you right, I’m also going to get Killzone Shadowfall day one.

    I had a ton of fun playing Killzone 3 in both the campaign and the multiplayer.

    This game is way better than call of duty in my opinion.

    I know they putting a lot of work into this game.

    I would never buy a 3rd party game over a game like this.

    Sony 1st party games have so much quality.

  • Killzone: Shadow Fall looks fantastic and I plan to buy it at launch……I hope. If this crap about the OS using 3.5GB of RAM is true, I will be cancelling my launch edition PS4 with Amazon. I will buy a new PC and stick with my PS3 instead. I want my PS4 to play games not Facebook, Tweet, and whatever other garbage social crap there is! Just because Microsoft is a bunch of idiots with Xbox One RAM allocation doesn’t mean you folks and Sony should get all cute! Remember, you said the PS4 was about games.

  • Sinclair looks bad a22 cant wait to play as him good cast so far

  • I would like play like a Helghast, If Echo is a playable character and I can be able to chose sides at Multiplayer, then I’ll buy the game.

    But if the campaign is Only ISA scum, then forget it GG I dont wanna to buy this game.

  • Christian399

    3.5 GB for OS…..oh no…..cancelling the preorder :(

  • HOLD ON, hold on – lets put this RAM news in perspective.

    This new talk about the RAM in the PS4 is all meaningless. Killzone at E3 was running on 4.6GB RAM without an issue?! So who the hell cares what is going on on the interior of the console?

    Ultimately, I’m sure SONY is playing it safe and reserving 3.5 GB until they have their ENTIRE SYSTEM AND GUI SET IN STONE AND USER TESTED! Imagine them launching a console that reserved 1GB for the system and giving 7BG to developers and having to expand into the game RAM to expand system features?! It would literally stop consoles from being able to execute code.

    They have to take it slow at the beginning of the cycle to make sure they have the available resources to give all of us the bells and whistles we deserve and compete on other console feature sets. The last thing we want is what happened on the ps3 with no team speak because there was no more memory available on the system.

    Over time, I’m sure we will see RAM allocations go up as they fully realize the OS, but they have to have the resources reserved at the start just in case there is something which needs to be added, removed, or expanded upon.

    AM I RIGHT?! Anything else would be suicidal!

  • Nice…its always great to see some concept art….me as a drawing lover,I love to look at them….well Shadow Fall is a must buy no doubt about it….I wont be getting PS4 soon since there is no need for it..but I’ll buy Shadow Fall even without having the PS4….then when I buy a PS4 I’ll have Shadow Fall ready.But I’m very concerned about Shadow Fall and its changes….be warned Guerrilla…KZ3 is the best FPS ever…I really hope you guys follow the KZ3 steps with Shadow Fall.

  • Nice interview – loved the little extra details on the game.

  • Generic shooter #983,734,093

    Crappy generic shooters, ain’t nobody got time fo dat


    How come shooters, especially FPS are all the same?

  • PlayStation 4 reserves 3.5GB of its 8GB GDDR5 memory for the operating system, leaving 4.5GB of space for game code, is it true?

  • shooters are poopie

    sucks that shooters are ruining the video game industry so badly

  • It’s great to see non-white male characters in the lead. This, to me, is part of “next gen” culture.

    That being said, and I’ve asked multiple times, are there any GLBT characters in the game? playable or not?

    On the tech side, we’re all dying to know if KZ4 supports 3D and/more Move support out-of-the-box.

    A direct answer on both of these fronts, or at least a “we aren’t talking about that right now”, instead of being flatly ignored would be preferred.

  • sony give peace to our minds ! this is serious… this is a GAMING console like you said and saw that all of us was loving that, look at your pre-orders on the roof ! PS4 is by far winning this “pre launch” because of that.

    Now you want to give the OS 3.5 GIGAS ? WTF this 2.5gb may not be needed now (or is) but in 3 years SURE will ! please give the OS 1 gb is enough, just leave cross chat the rest can be off, or take it all leve 7.5gb to the games THATS WHAT MATTER.

  • PrimeroIncognito

    plaztiksyke on July 26th, 2013 at 2:58 pm said: “Are there any GLBT characters in the game?”

    Why do you keep asking this? Does it really matter? What are you expecting? Maybe you want the characters in the game to say something like:

    “Damn, this war is really taking a toll on me. brother. My wounds are killing me. I miss my family. I miss home. I can’t believe I’m about to say this, but damn it, I’m afraid of getting killed out here. I know it sounds bad, but maybe I was wrong. I thought I was cut out for this, but I guess I’m really not after all. I’m not sure if I can do it anymore, man. By the way, I’m a tranny.”


    “Get down! Get down! Dammit! We’re taking heavy fire! Keep your heads down guys! We’ll make it through this! Ah, @#$%! I think we just lost Dave! Damn!!! Why!?!?!? Now I’ll never get to see him in that cute pink leotard ever again! Noooooo!!!!”

    Seriously, how else would you even know they’re LGBT unless something obvious like that was stated? Why don’t you just use your imagination and pretend they’re all LGBT?And maybe they already are, but, as it should be in the military, nobody gives a damn because IT DOESN’T MATTER!

  • Yeah, please get this RAM rumor under control. We want this to be about gaming, not random stuff like facebook. Keep the recording stuff if it doesn’t take too much RAM, but I don’t need to be able to switch between apps super fast on the fly. If I want to watch something, I’ll quit my game and go to the app myself. Don’t need to be super lazy like what the Xbox One is allowing people to do. Gotta do at least something if I’m gonna sit down and game afterwards.

  • “The central pillar behind our costume design is functionality & practicality.”

    So we put the sniper character in this vivid red hood. Because you know wearing bright red is really practical and functional when you’re a sniper.

    Reminds me of Sev running around in a t-shirt in the snow in KZ3.

  • Why do people like FPS? FPS are garbage. FPS are for stupid people who don’t know how to play video games and don’t have any good taste. FPS (Play As a Gun Games PAAGG) are LCDGs (Lowest Common Denominator Games).

    I really wish they would stop making FPS since FPS are baby’s first video game.

  • “You mean you have to use your hands?”
    “That’s like a baby’s toy!”
    -Back to the Future 2

    I dont care if I have to use my hands, nor if it’s another FPS. This is #1 pre-order for me.
    There are no good RPG or other genre games out there today. Hopefully that changes soon with PS4.

  • Already have it pre-ordered and paid for. Enough with the teasing and info dumps. Give us launch dates! Then you can spoonfeed us other info. LAUNCH DATES!

  • I love KZ and I am sure this will be the best yet!

  • lol @ 28, all 3 of those films happen to be playing on TV today.

    But i cant get enough KZ!!! One of the best shooters ive played. :)

  • NO MORE CRAPPY FPS!!!!!!!!!!!!


  • and @ neuropunk, shooters will always be shooters, they wont be leaving anytime soon. People enjoy playing games with high paced shootouts cause it simulates something that you could never do in real life, with guns you could never get a hold of (whether they be a far-fetched laser rifle, or flat out an illegal firearm)

    And i don’t find it comical that you bash on peoples intellect based on the games they play. Your comments are not amusing.

  • I am a huge fan of killzone. it is the second reason i am buying a ps4, the first is infamous: second son haha

  • @FuzzyManPeach

    all shooters are the same. so generic and samey.

    My comments are not meant to be amusing. The real thing that is not amusing: the FPS genre. So boring and stupid. Bare bones “games” (not sure they have enough gameplay and content to actually be called “games”), that are all samey.

    I think western developers are mentally retarded because pretty much the only thing they are capable of are mindless unimaginative shooters. Western video game developers are untalented morons, for the most part.

  • @FuzzyManPeach
    all shooters are the same. so generic and samey.
    My comments are not meant to be amusing. The real thing that is not amusing: the FPS genre. So boring and stupid. Bare bones “games” (not sure they have enough gameplay and content to actually be called “games”), that are all samey.
    I think western developers are mentally retarded because pretty much the only thing they are capable of are mindless unimaginative shooters. Western video game developers are untalented, for the most part. If you like FPS it shows that you have bad taste.

  • @FuzzyManPeach
    all shooters are the same. so generic and samey.
    My comments are not meant to be amusing. The real thing that is not amusing: the FPS genre. So boring and stupid. Bare bones “games” (not sure they have enough gameplay and content to actually be called “games”), that are all samey.

  • xFuzylilManPeach

    @ neuro, well with the”pewpew” you could of fooled me.
    But shooters all have the basic premise of look, aim, shoot, in a nut shell, without that they wouldn’t be deemed a “shooter.” its the extra elements that game developers add and tweak along with the FPS experience that make them worth while.
    For one example (to stay related to this post), your awesome little robot buddies you can deploy along side you in KZ:SF, they add change to your battlefield experience and add tactic to how you deal with enemies. instead of just aiming a shooting.
    I do agree with you in a way though, some shooters are to generic of the whole “look, aim, shoot” core of all FPS’s.

    But not KZ, they have pumped up the FPS experience to a whole other level, even since the first KZ on PS2 and im sure many others on this site would agree.

  • LoL a girl in KZ HaHa week

  • xFuzylilManPeach

    Im almost 100% sure IXxHIJACKERxXI = neuropunk… THAT my friend, is weak.

    Notice how i spelt it :) WEAK, not WEEK. Buddy-Guy.

  • @40 FuzzyManPeach

    I am not sexist and I am not a gangsta cholo, so I do not use things like “xXx” in names. Also, I know how to spell.

    Weak/week theory you got there!

  • xFuzylilManPeach

    How does adding an X in your PSN make you a sexist or a “gangster cholo?” Your logic is strange.

    And again, could of fooled me, you both are complaining little b***hes who have only negative things to say about KZ. Maybe you two should be friends??? Awwwwwe, what a match that would be :)

    And i hope you continue your constant spamming of comments and get banned :) haha i believe in you, you can SOOO do it!

    But i digress from all of this, KZ:SF is going to be off the hook! I will have this for my PS4 without a doubt!

  • Really like KZ series, also KZ3 multi is very addicting.

    FPS are generic ? Did you play Battlefield3 ? Maybe Killzone3?
    These are AAA titles dude, you should play, get some fun, and stop being hater !

  • My PS4 wishlist:

    #1 Battlefield4
    #2 Assassin’s Creed4
    #3 Killzone Shadow Fall
    #4 Watch Dogs
    #5 may be Infamous 2nd Son

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