I joined Guerrilla Games in Amsterdam in 2009 to work on a then-unannounced Killzone 3.
The game was a joy to work on, with a very strong direction towards intense action and with a very senior team fresh off the previous game knowing what needed to be done in what actually turned out to be quite an ambitious time-frame.
Large AAA productions involve a lot of people who contribute to the game and the level, the work you see below is the hard work of an entire team.
“The sniper mission stands out as one of the most intense sequences in recent memory. This game is chock full of fantastic moments.”
In this mission, the ISA are trying to evacuate the planet Helghan and work their way through intense fighting in the Pyrrhus City ruins.
I was placed on Pyrrhus Evac to completely re-script the on-foot sections from scratch as the last of many owners. My biggest contribution was probably the sniper section in which the player has to cover a unit on the ground firstly from MGs, but then from other snipers. Together with those sections, I also maintained the scripting of the opening on-rails APC drive until we shipped.
“Even the more standard levels that stick mostly to running and gunning do a good job of giving context to your actions and keeping intensity levels high. For instance, you fight your way through a junkyard that funnels you through its corridors in conventional fashion, but then pits you against hovering security drones that deliver death surprisingly quickly, all while a couple of Helghast snipers take aim.”
In this mission, Sev and Rico have just escaped Stahl Arms and make their way through a scrapyard while heading to the Orbital Elevator in the distance.
I took the first half of the Scrapyard level from paper design to blockout through bug-fixing to shipping.
I began with paper designs which I then blocked out in Maya. I set up entities and mark-up for AI and our cover system, and went through scripting passes where I added enemies, objectives and placeholder dialog. I then iterated based on review feedback and internal playtests, before the level went to Environment Art. After this I integrated the changes, fixed things which had broken and finally, fixed bugs that came in. At some points, I even care-took the second half of the level as well, fixing bugs and solving integration issues which came up. As external playtests and final Director-reviews took place I addressed feedback coming from those while also polishing the level until we shipped.
“[...] there are those final few minutes, technically another on-rails shooter section but completely at odds with everything else you've played over the last eight hours.”
In the final moments of the game, Sev and Rico hijack a space fighter and shoot down a bunch of ships and a huge cruiser all in the name of stopping Stahl from destroying Earth.
I don't remember any more if it was in the Brief for the level or if it was something I did for fun, but I prototyped a Space Chase sequence by mounting the player on an MG, attaching a fake cockpit model, and animating the MG on a spline around a grey 3D Orbital Elevator model. Somehow it worked and got everybody excited, although I remember wanting to take it a step further from being on-rails when Halo: Reach showed off their fully-controllable space ship level.
While I scripted and animated this to a second pass quality, the animation-heavy nature of the level meant that multiple animators then ended up taking it to completion.