Earlier this week, eagle-eyed observers spotted that Sony first-party studio Guerrilla Games was busy recruiting new staff. Notably, the intake included Chris Lee, alumni of Ubisoft’s Rainbow Six Siege team, and Simon Larouche, a returning member of the Guerrilla team after a nine-year hiatus.
Perhaps the biggest takeaway is that they’re both working on what is described as “Secret Game is Secret” on their resumes. And given that they’re obviously both hugely experienced in multiplayer games, the extrapolations are beginning to run rampant, and I’m going to join in.
Guerrilla Games is a developer that’s seen significant expansion over the past 18 months. Fueled by the success of the brilliant Horizon Zero Dawn last year, they’ve increased their staff count to over 400 and moved to a temporary office while their old facility is upgraded.
The future is looking bright for them, clearly, and perhaps Sony is looking at having the studio take on more than a single project. If that’s the case, it would appear that a multiplayer title, possibly with the same games as a service style design as Rainbow Six Siege is the intention.
The obvious candidate is the Killzone series, Guerrilla’s long-standing IP that was put on the backburner to develop Horizon Zero Dawn. It’s a series that’s always been marked by solid shooting games, albeit not ones that ever set the industry on fire. Perhaps for that reason, its return to the industry spotlight won’t have many gamers excited.
I’m on the opposite end of the spectrum. Perhaps partly because I played it well after the onslaught of lukewarm review scores, I actually thoroughly enjoyed Killzone: Shadow Fall. Where most critics praised only its spectacular graphics, I found much more to enjoy than just gawping at its beauty.
For one thing, there’s some superb world-building in Shadow Fall. You’d be hard pressed to find a cooler setting than its futuristic urban metropolis of planet Vetka. The Wall, which separates Vektans from refugee Helghans creates a striking juxtaposition. One side, a clean and prosperous nation, the other a frightening dystopia riddled by poverty.
I won’t go into the plot, or spend too much time detailing what you can discover for yourself elsewhere, but the long and the short of it is that Killzone has both compelling lore and an intriguing setting. What’s more, the gunplay and controls are really solid, as are the stealth sequences. Truly, it’s much better than it’s remembered as being, and it deserves another shot.
In fact, I’d love to see it as another launch title for a hypothetical PlayStation 5, and I think that’s actually a likely scenario, too. Consider that if there’s one-time gamers are likely to snap up content, it’s during the launch window of a new console. We’ve seen countless titles record commercial success unmatched by their critical reception in the past, purely as a result of being positioned as a launch title.
A new Killzone title could well benefit from such a strategy. Ironically, the franchise was actually born out of Sony’s desire to add a first-person shooter in the wake of Microsoft’s successes with Halo. Perhaps they’ve never quite let go of that, and Killzone is getting a revival in the shape of something that more closely resembles the persistent world shooters or games as a service that has since become hugely popular.
Or perhaps we’re getting ahead of ourselves, we’ll just have to wait and see.