Emperor Scolari Visari has been assassinated by Master Sgt. Rico Velasquez and Colonel Jan Templar was killed at the hands of Colonel Mael Radec, just before the devastating destruction of the massive fleet cruiser known as the ‘The New Sun’. The formidable Colonel Mael Radec and his men would eventually take their own lives in battle, refusing to the die at the hands of the ISA, while Master Sgt. Rico Velasquez, Sergeant Thomas ‘Sev’ Sevchenko and Captain Jason Narville would fend off the diabolical military might of Jorhan Brimve Stahl, with the help of Jammer and other brave ISA soldiers.
Fast-forwarding thirty years into the future and Master Sgt. Rico Velasquez and Sergeant Thomas ‘Sev’ Sevchenko are said to be in hidding after the destruction of planet Helghan. Eventually a new form of advanced guerrilla warfare (pun intended) is now introduced under the moniker of the Shadow Marshall program. This program is not entirely new as the first Shadow Marshall, Luger (A female operative and love interest of the late Colonel Jan Templar) was introduced in the original title, however the program has made impressive advances, introducing players to the director of the Shadow Marshall program, Thomas Sinclair. Hell bent on thwarting any plans and hopes of the Helghast nation with implicit resolve, Sinclair would take extreme measures into his own hands.
Ultimately, as destiny would have it, Thomas Sinclair would indirectly meet with Emperor Scolari Visari’s grand daughter, Echo (real name unknown), a well-trained Helghast assassin.
As a brief look back at the events of the series and as fans of the military power struggles resting on the shoulders of Killzone, we have recently asked the question, what is next for the famed franchise? As many of you know, developer Guerrilla Cambridge, the talented team which brought us arguably the best handheld shooter to date in the form of Killzone Mercenary, has this holiday launched their first VR title, RIGS for the PlayStation VR. Parent company Guerrilla Games is also fine-tuning their ambitious new RPG adventure, Horizon Zero Dawn before its official launch on February 28, 2017.
While Guerrilla Games has been mute about anything Killzone related and full speed ahead with Horizon Zero Dawn, we have asked ourselves many questions on the potential possibilities for the famed shooter. One question many fans throughout the net have speculated on was whether Killlzone would be completely handed off to Guerrilla Cambridge. An idea that certainly could stick based on their impressive work on Killzone Mercenary.
In an interview with GameInformer Guerrilla Games managing director, Herman Hulst stated, “There are a lot of guys who have sent me proposals to do stuff with Killzone, but we’re very focused and committed to doing stuff with Horizon Zero Dawn at the moment”.
Guerrillla Cambridge however, certainly has more time on their hands these days to get some form of Killzone discussion rolling right along. Of course, nowadays with most new titles offering an online multiplayer component like RIGS, there is a community responsibility making sure that careful detail is being allocated to properly keep the said game running smoothly and with scheduled updates. So, Guerrilla Cambridge are still very much responsible for making a franchise out of RIGS yet.
With this in mind are we to believe that Guerrilla simply does not have a covert team brainstorming the future of the Killzone series? Of course they do, or at least our itchy trigger refuses to think otherwise. If in fact the next Killzone is in the works, in some form, where are the strengths being appropriately aligned.
Upon learning that for Horizon Zero Dawn, Guerrilla Games would be commissioning the story telling talents of American writer John Gonzalez who has written for games as reputable as Fallout: New Vegas, as well as for Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor, any narrative concerns for Guerrilla’s first attempt at the RPG genre were put to rest. That being said, narrative-wise this is one area where the Killzone series could use a leg up.
When it comes to any Killzone title, whether you like the series or not, the industry is always compelled to marvel at the games technical prowess. Guerrilla Game can certainly make pretty games and Killzone Shadow Fall was no exception. In fact, the technical influence of Killzone Shadow Fall can be seen in games such as Until Dawn, the upcoming Horizon Zero Dawn, as well as Hideo Kojima’s upcoming title, Death Stranding, which utilizes Guerrilla Games Decima engine. But lets call it the Killzone engine for now.
Believing there are multiple routes to take with the Killlzone series, our hopes lie with the best rode possible, which ever road that is? The Battlefield series is best known for its bombastic massive map battles, while Call of Duty is the quick twitch shooter king, with Titanfall 2 making a strong argument begging to differ (If only EA learns how not to sabotage a great shooter). DOOM has certainly turned heads with its return and impressive arena style combat and we would be remise if we did not mention the thrilling rides of Gears of War 4 and Destiny. From action-packed campaigns to wall running while jetpacking around maps, scaling vantage kill positions, to sliding in an out of cover performing brilliant online kills, or tackling massive bosses together with friends, developer are seemingly covering all their shooter bases.
Where does Killzone fit in all of this?
From the position of a standout campaign, sometimes looking to the past offers great value. Ever since the original Killzone I have speculated about the whereabouts of Shadow Marshall Luger and the half breed double agent, Hakha. I have even played with the idea of Colonel Mael Radec not really being dead, or cloned, as he was such a menacing Darth Vader like character, why kill this type of character so early in the series, I will never know. Is there a story to tell about the unknown events supporting the thirty year separation between Killzone 3 and Killzone Shadow Fall. Could Echo’s history and future experience be the angle necessary to create a memorable narrative. Did Echo live on planet Helghan and if so what was it like for her, just before the planet was crippled by the Terracide event.
During the events of Killzone Shadow Fall Dr. Hilary Massar identified the fact that Echo was only half Helghan. Maybe an understanding of who her father is could shed more light by introducing fully fleshed out and newer characters. What part does Master Sgt. Rico Velasquez and Sergeant Thomas ‘Sev’ Sevchenko play in all of this and where is Captain Jason Narville and Jammer?
Looking at the past, one of the many things the original title did well was allow players to engage objectives from various perspectives. You could be aggressive as Rico weilding the heavy gatling gun, which doubled as a rocket launcher, you could play as the clean cut class A type soldier Jan Templar, or be a stealth assassin Shadow Marshall as Luger. You could also play as Hakha the double agent. Not that we want this to be a consideration for the next Killzone, yet pulling the strengths of the series and integrating them into a seamless and cohesive affair does scream massive amounts of promise. For example, Killzone Shadow Fall was almost an impolite approach to the series after having been on the action-packed rollercoaster ride campaigns of each game in the series before Shadow Fall.
However, Shadow Fall embraced a tactically-minded warfare from a slower more methodical approach. Somehow bringing the two together could make for a more dynamic experience. If Guerrilla Games or Guerrilla Cambridge decides to shake things up just a bit with Killzone, it will be necessary to look at how to make the series impressively unique. For most shooter the core experience is founded on a decent campaign and a highly invested community driven multiplayer.
However, looking at the Killzone universe and you discover a wealth of intriguing untold timeline sequences directly tied to the brief campaign stories we have experienced. Beginning in 2055 with the Terra Era, we then come to the ‘Early Vektan Era’, then the ‘Platinum Era’, the ‘First Extrasolar War’ and eventually to the Second Extrasolar War’, taking place after the Helghast Era, which began in 2319. Over 300 years of untapped potential. In essence, the Killzone lore is far bigger than the brief tales told with each iteration. One way of separating Killzone from the mundane approach of most shooter could be to slightly change up the formula.
What if Killzone went the way of an ambitious RPG shooter, while supporting all of the previous games strong points and of course still supporting a healthy competitive multiplayer offering? From this angle and as we have seen from many great RPG’s, character development does quite well in maintaining the strong narrative. The series has all the tools to manage such an approach and the last time I checked writer John Gonzalez is still on the Guerrilla Games payroll. Maybe wishful thinking but Killzone as an improved FPS Action-RPG could be a considerable possibility.
When asked whether they were closing the book on the Killzone series, Guerrilla Games managing director Herman Hulst stated, “Killzone is very key and core to Guerrilla and we have a ton of love for the franchise, in a way its conclusive but were leaving it open to the future, I mean who am I to say we will never do anything with it, there is just too much in it to make a definitive statement on it”.
We are excited about the possibilities of another Killzone lurking somewhere on the development tables at Guerrilla, but what do you think? Let us know your opinion on the future of Killzone in the comments below.