Update: In an email sent to PlaySation LifeStyle, Sony has clarified the post and mentioned Game Director Mathijs de Jonge was referring to everything being put aside for Horizon: Zero Dawn, and not referring to active projects, but more on concept ideas.
Original Story: Guerrilla Games released Killzone: Shadow Fall as a PS4 launch title, and many expected that the Killzone series would take the PS4 by storm as it did with the PlayStation 3. However, not long after the game’s release, the developer said they had closed the Killzone chapter of their lives, and then about a year after that, they surprised everyone at E3 with Horizon: Zero Dawn. How did a studio go from Killzone, a dark and gritty sci-fi war to a brightly colored sci-fi game about survival? It turns out that they canceled another concept to do so, and the studio voted to work on Horizon over any other project. Game Director Mathijs de Jonge explained the process in a video interview on Game Informer.
We started out with a smaller team to look into exploring what those concepts would mean if we were to develop them. At some point we took two forward, worked on those prototypes for like, half a year or so. And we did some testing with some external people from Sony that are not in our office, and internally as well, and it was kind of 50/50 at some points.
We actually put all the feedback that we got into an Excel sheet. And we had these two graphs: What excites you most and what do you think is the most risky one? The project that [stood] out on both charts was Horizon.
While it’s speculated that this second project idea was another Killzone title, Guerrilla Games is keeping mum on what this prototype was.
Managing Director Hulst added in that the entire team was excited to jump on board the game. He admitted that the combat could be considered similar, but they think it’s a fresh take on what they’ve done before.
It was certainly not the least risky, but definitely the one where everybody that saw the original pitch, they said, well, we gotta make this. This is maybe incredibly risky but it’s something that is so radically different and so inspiring that it actually took me very little time to convince the team to jump behind it. We wanted to make [Horizon] straight away.
We really love making fluid, awesome combat–and we’re trying to do that again. We’re really into making fantastic science-fiction worlds–and we’re doing that again. There are a ton of similarities, but I think more importantly this is really fresh.
Hulst also mentioned that while Killzone is beautiful in a “gritty” way, Horizon: Zero Dawn is “beautiful in kind of a majestic way.”
It’s always possible that the studio will come back to Killzone some day, or even that canceled concept, but until then, we have Horizon: Zero Dawn to look forward to. Horizon: Zero Dawn will release on February 28, 2017.