What is the history of the Killzone series? Also, tell us a bit more about Killzone 3, specifically.
Rudy Massar: We actually have a very extensive Killzone history with a 350-year timespan, that you can consult on the Killzone website.
Killzone started life as a project called “Marines”, which was conceived somewhere in 2000. By the time of its release in 2004, it had morphed into the hard sci-fi shooter we know today. The graphical quality, gritty-looking environments and iconic Helghast enemies were something that appealed to many people, so a sequel was forthcoming. After the release of Killzone, Guerrilla started preparing two new projects: one was the PSP-based Killzone: Liberation, while Killzone 2 was all about the new Playstation 3 platform.
Jan-Bart van Beek: Marines was really based on the sort of colonial marines that featured in the “Aliens” series and we really wanted to make such a gritty military science fiction game. Over time it started to evolve into what Killzone is today. The main thing that changed was our decision to go with The Helghast as the main adversary. What we had in mind was to do a sort of “World War 2 in Space” theme. Once we had that theme things started to click very quickly and Killzone became what it is today.
Rudy: The difference between the earlier Killzone titles and Killzone 3 is that you were previously fighting in a fairly even-sided war, whereas in Killzone 3 it’s all about surviving. It is no longer a matter of winning a war – the only struggle now is to get off the Helghast home planet in one piece.
For Killzone 3 we wanted to explore more of planet Helghan and bring back some of the ideas we had for previous Killzone titles such as jetpacks, arctic landscapes and weird jungles. We also thought it would be interesting to show how differently the ecosystem on Helghan has evolved from Earth’s. The jungle, for instance, is teeming with strange insect-like plants out to attack you.
Could you begin by telling us about Guerrilla Games and your background?
Rudy: Guerrilla was founded in 2000 and acquired by Sony Computer Entertainment in 2005. Recently the company moved from a 17th century canal mansion to the completely renovated former Bank of Amsterdam (built in 1932). Guerrilla now employs 150 developers encompassing 20 different nationalities.
After being hired as a freelancer a few times, I joined Guerrilla in 2005. Before that, I worked at the Willem de Kooning Academy, an art academy in Rotterdam, as a 3D-instructor and Freelance Artist. During that time, I also worked as a 3D artist at an agency for photographers.
Could you provide us with a short bio?
Rudy: My first brush with 3D software was back in 1994, when I got access to an SGI workstation running Wavefront Explorer at my school’s Media lab. It quickly led to a job at the Willem de Kooning academy, where I worked as a 3D instructor with a freelance career on the side. After being hired for various projects, I joined Guerrilla in 2005.
Jan-Bart: I originally studied photography and was the first student to graduate from the Royal Academy for the Visual Arts (in The Hague) using 3D software instead of using a camera. After working in advertising for a while, I wanted to get my teeth into a really large project. I guess I got what I bargained for as Killzone has dominated my life for the last decade, but it’s been an amazing experience seeing Guerrilla and Killzone evolve from a small studio with a small project to a world-class game studio creating Sony’s flagship FPS title.