Killzone Shadow Fall Q&A: The Black Hand

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Killzone Shadow Fall Q&A: The Black Hand

Following our recent Guerrilla Dossier on the Black Hand, we’ve asked Art Director Roy Postma and Assistant Art Director Dan Calvert to tell us more about the creation and design of the radical Helghast subfaction from Killzone Shadow Fall.

The Black Hand - Q&A with Roy Postma and Dan Calvert

Click here to see the full gallery

Why do the Black Hand look so different from any of the foes seen before in the Killzone universe?

Dan Calvert: We’re dealing with the universe-changing consequences of the demise of planet Helghan, plus the jump in time between Killzone 3 and Killzone Shadow Fall. We’d already started to see the Helghast fragment in Killzone 3 after Scolar Visari’s death, and the loss of their home and a vast part of their population only furthered this. The Helghast maintain their identity and their ideals, but their goals are now splintered. The Black Hand are the most divergent Helghast subfaction we see in Shadow Fall; they’re not a regular army, and they don’t use conventional warfare tactics. They’re infiltrators, not invaders.

Roy Postma: From a design standpoint, increasing the diversity between the characters was a clear choice we made from the start. Instead of constraining ourselves to the Helghast military, we expanded the range of enemies to different groups, from security to the military to special ops and the Black Hand. This allowed us to create a unique and distinct basis for each group, which we finished off with the typical Helghast details to ensure no-one would mistake them for friendly forces.

The Black Hand - Q&A with Roy Postma and Dan Calvert The Black Hand - Q&A with Roy Postma and Dan Calvert

How are you differentiating the Black Hand from regular Helghast troops, design-wise?

Roy Postma: The Black Hand are a good example of the setting of our new world, where Vektans and Helghast live next to each other with only a wall dividing them. Their costumes are a crossover of design elements from both main factions, combined into a whole new look. Like Dan said, the Black Hand are not an official army – they’re not equipped like regular soldiers. They hide and live among civilians until they’re activated, so the basis for their costumes is Vektan civilian street wear.

When Black Hand operatives get called into action they will pull up their hoods with the red combat goggles to hide their identity, and gear up with surplus Helghast military gear smuggled over the wall. The most noticeable elements in their equipment are the straps they wrap around themselves. On these straps they’ve fastened cloaking projectors, similar to the ones used by Helghast snipers. The Black Hand use older models, which means they need a lot of projectors strapped around their bodies, but this renders their combat gear practically invisible to the naked eye. It lets them to blend in and get close to their targets before they spring into action.

The Black Hand - Q&A with Roy Postma and Dan CalvertThe Black Hand - Q&A with Roy Postma and Dan Calvert

Dan Calvert:There’s an interesting design tension between the conflicting Helghan and Vektan elements of the Black Hand costumes, and it allowed us to do world-building for both cultures. We wanted to make sure that the characters were recognizably Helghan, but as with the rest of Shadow Fall we also wanted to open up the Killzone universe and show you more of what’s out there.

At its core, the identity of the Black Hand is defined though chaos. Their goals are to unsettle the Vektan populace with random attacks. Chaos is their manifesto, so it’s something we express through their character design – the mismatched clothing, the haphazard gear and bags, the loosely attached projector straps that flail around as they move – none of this is detail for its own sake, it’s there to show exactly how these guys are different in character from your typical Helghan infantryman.

How has developing for a next-generation platform enhanced the character design and authoring process?

Dan Calvert: There were a couple of important things that we wouldn’t have been able to achieve on older consoles, and if we’d lost these they would have really compromised our vision for the Black Hand. Having all those loose-fitting elements move naturally, respond to the motion of the character, and collide with one another would have been impossible without the advances in our simulation and character rigging.

In addition, we’ve become a lot better at cloth and civilian-style clothing – instead of sculpting the character’s clothes out of digital clay, we now cut and sew digital clothing patterns and then precompute how they would hang on the character to get the most natural folds and seams possible. We’ve also improved our ability to render cloth-like materials and simulate in-game cloth behavior.

The Black Hand - Q&A with Roy Postma and Dan Calvert

Thanks Roy and Dan! Check out the gallery below for concept images for the Black Hand operatives, and keep an eye on and PlayStation.Blog for new Guerrilla Dossiers coming soon!

Comments are closed.


  • Please tell me you guys got rid of the input lag or “intended weight” to the guns when aiming. It totally breaks the game, I hate that deadzone feeling!

  • sounds good. Looking forward to this (already reserved)

  • This game keeps getting better and better. Absolutely beautiful too! Thanks!

  • Looks awesome.. Dayone together with my PS4 :)

    and Thanks for the wallpapers ;)

  • So the Black Hand assassinate the Archduke of Vekta thus plunging the planet into a World War? I see where all of this is going. I always though there was more of a WWII influence behind this, but Guerrilla has tipped their hat and revealed the truth.

    Whatever you do, make sure to kill the young soldier from Vekta who is an aspiring artist. If not, he’ll grow up to become a ruthless dictator.

  • Comment #1 by D-Squad3

    This is Killzone, not some other FPS. If you don’t like the feel of it, piss off to another game. Leave Killzone for the KZ fans. Thanks.

  • @1 – I’m actually hoping they added the weight back from Killzone 2. It helped make the game unique and gave us something to master. A lot of shooters are getting so similar in how the weapons handle that I have been getting increasingly bored with them like I’m playing a map pack of the same game over and over.

  • Looking forward to this day 1!

  • comment #1
    uuh… thats one of the things that makes killzone, killzone and not just another shooter.

  • I agree with ViolentGene, ArchAngeL-777, jonny2010 and probably most Killzone fans!
    I love the weight, feels very different from just some twitch shooter and makes it unique and feels satisfying to shoot.

  • @1
    Go back to Call of Duty, this is Killzone, not some wet nose diaper wearing shooter.

    I want a lot of things from KZ2, back including its weighty weapons. KZ3 just didn’t feel right.


  • @ 11 KazeEternal

    There will be Spawn Grenades!!

  • One thing that I really HATE about Killzone is how the bad guys are so awesome and the good guys are boring and sucks completely (… Rico, I hate you most…).
    Its really funny how I play the games really wishing for the Helghans to win the war.

  • @ 7

    Totally agree, I can’t stand games that don’t have a weighty feel to the weapons and movement.

  • Looks awesome!

  • @1, There is no deadzone, but aim acceleration is low, there no floatiness to the controls, and auto-aim is not there. I’ve played the multiplayer at PAX.

  • Nice that’s what I like to see. The Killzone universe growing! Please fill us in with the happenings between Killzone 3 and Shadow Fall. There are a lot of people who don’t seem to believe that Killzone has a huge back story to it simply because they haven’t taken the time to read through the official website.

    I think you guys need to give an in game/ on disc primer to those who are curious! :)

  • @KazeEternal The spawn beacon is available! Haven’t you watched any videos on Shadow Fall from PAX? Don’t make me point you to LetMeGoogleThatForYou… :P

    Also, I just need to point out to people that are looking for a Killzone Shadow Fall group that is a mix between casual and competitive gaming to hit RebelAllianceClan(dot)com . Check out some of the intel, and if you’re truly interested in getting on Shadow Fall in two months with us, hit the application page!

  • Thanks for the Wallpapers! This one is coming home day one along with my ps4.

  • o.0 i wish this was coming to PS3

  • I really dig the Killzone universe,i hope there will be a beta for this fingers crossed. I completely beat 2 & 3 and i have to get the PS Vita games as well. The Killzone universe is unique yet different from the other fps that’s what makes it superb!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Have to admit, those black hand shoes are pretty stylish.

    Love the design on the future Helgan soldiers.

  • The black hand is the name organization that is anti-Jews made in 1930 until 1935.Now we know it as jihad.

  • I wasn’t trying to sound racist as i am Arabic, but i know how things will go on the internet.

  • Looks cool, I’m going to have a lot of fun playing this game, as i did with all the killzones.

  • I preorderd mine at Best Buy, but it seems that it was pushed back till Oct 21, 2013. Anyone have this same issue or did they pushed back the released date?

  • Sorry, tired as hell. I take that comment back. :/

  • @1
    There won’t be any deadzone. The PS4 controller has had some improvements.

  • They look soooo cool I rather be helghast in the story mode they’re just too cool can’t wait for this game

  • Looking foward to get this game :)

  • Those are some fantastic pics…thanks for them.Shadow Fall is the game that is pushing me towards to buy a PS4….Guerrilla never disappoints….eager to see if Shadow Fall can be better than KZ3….also I wouldn’t mind a delay lol…it would give me more time to reach the last lvl on KZ3 online.

  • @ 6 ViolentGene – Well said….who knows Killzone knows that its above every FPS out there…they dont need to change a thing.

    @ 21 T-8k8O_ – Me too.

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