When you read this, the first previews from the Killzone 2 press events held on November 4 and November 11 should be up. To give you an impression of what the events were like for the developers at Guerrilla, we caught up with Production Assistant Rudine Bijlsma, who organized the whole thing.
“Even though we’d been looking forward to them for a long time, some of us were also a little stressed out over the press events, because we wanted them to be just right” Rudine says. “Thankfully, the whole thing went off without a hitch — due in no small part to the tremendous organizational efforts of Sony and the Guerrilla Games support department.”
In the weeks before the events, crates full of demo pods and promotional materials poured into the Guerrilla HQ in Amsterdam, where they quickly filled up the lobby (and nearly blocked off access to the vending machines). By the time November 4 rolled around, the halls and the stairwell had been completely covered in Helghast flags and motivational posters. “The Killzone 2 promotional materials were awesome,” Rudine says. “The studio took on an uncanny resemblance to a Helghast academy. It was almost scary.”
The events themselves started out with Managing Director Hermen Hulst giving a presentation of Killzone 2’s unique features. His speech was backed by gameplay footage showcasing some of the most explosive and beautiful firefights in the game. “It certainly seemed to make an impact on the attending journalists,” Rudine recalls. “If some had looked slightly jet-lagged when they walked in, they were all wide awake now.”
Next came the studio tour. Some developers had to talk fast to explain all the different technical and artistic design choices within the allotted time. “[Development Director] Arjan [Brussee] managed to walk his guests through the entire G-buffer layout of the deferred rendering engine in under five minutes,” Rudine laughs. “I’m sure I saw some game journalists drop their pens and scramble for their voice recorders!”
Meanwhile, other developers used the interviews as an opportunity to provide their guests with a little hands-on experience. “[Sound Director] Mario [Lavin], for example, took a group of journalists into the sound booth with him,” Rudine recalls. “He taught them how the noise produced by cracking a walnut can be used to simulate the sound of a breaking skull.”
At the end of the tour, the journalists were offered to play the Killzone 2 single-player missions and multiplayer modes on demo pods. For the occasion, even the monumental garden house behind the Guerrilla studio – the oldest garden house in the city of Amsterdam – had been carefully converted into a demo room. “That actually proved to be more popular than we had anticipated,” Rudine admits. “By dinner time, we were still trying to pry some journalists away from the demo pods.”
Overall though, the events were a success for the developers at Guerrilla. “Everyone really went the extra mile,” Rudine says. “People looked their best, the studio looked awesome, the demo code didn’t crash at inopportune moments – and to top it all off, we got to send the journalists home with a cool press kit containing playable preview code and a limited edition Killzone 2 concept art booklet.”