Other than the 3D, are there any visual elements that you expect to make players go, "Oh, wow!"?
Rudy: In Killzone 3 you’re exploring more of Helghan, the home planet of the Helghast. I think people will particularly go “oh, wow” when they experience the scale and variety of environments - especially when they see how the environments can look both familiar and alien at the same time. The game is more epic as well, with awesome set pieces.
Personally, I hope people will be wowed by our cut-scenes because that was definitely a “wow” moment for me. The entire combined length of the cut-scenes is over 70 minutes and I loved the camera work. It is all done in-engine, so we are using the same characters and assets for both the game and the cut-scenes. I was happy to see that the characters held up in close-ups, especially since I didn’t expect there to be so many. It was also exciting to see Stahl and Orlock being portrayed by Macolm McDowell and Ray Winstone, respectively.
How long have you been in production on the game? At what point was ZBrush brought in?
Rudy: The production of Killzone 3 took about two years. Before production started, we had some time where groups of people did research on technology and gameplay, as well as holding brainstorming sessions for all kinds of ideas. The nice thing was that the entire company participated in these groups. For character art, we started with ZBrush right away.
One of the selling points for 3 is that it's also a 3D title. Did that present special challenges for you? If so, how did you overcome them?
Rudy: Actually, the idea for making the game in 3D came when designers were working on the co-op version. The game had to be drawn twice for that, and that’s exactly what you need for 3D as well. Of course, making your game 3D means you have to sort out a lot of things, since the development of 3D is still in an early stage for both hardware and software.
For me, it didn’t involve special workflows or things I needed to be aware of. In general I believe it’s the camera layout, the environment and the effects that combine to make 3D such a thrill ride. The game itself does not depend solely on 3D; it’s just a cool option that’s available for the lucky ones that own a 3D-capable TV.
Jan-Bart: From an art point of view, it’s not any more complicated than a 2D game. Basically all games are 3D. We just render them out to 2D images. Adding a second camera to render games stereoscopically is mainly an engine feature. There is some impact on performance as you’re rendering every object twice, so the most challenging aspect was making sure the entire game didn’t buckle under the weight of all that extra content it had to render. But our technical artists did a really good job in wrangling the performance so it stays at 30 frames per second.