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Killzone 3 is a 2011 first-person shooter for the PlayStation 3, developed by Guerrilla Games and published by Sony Computer Entertainment. It is the fourth installment in the Killzone series, the first game in the series to be presented in 3D and the first to include motion controls using the PlayStation Move. It was released worldwide in February 2011.
The game begins in medias res from the point of view of (presumably) two Helghast soldiers who have arrived at Stahl Arms Corporation, Jorhan Stahl's weapons factory. The two are taken to an execution room where the captured Jason Narville's execution is about to be broadcast by Stahl across Helghan. As the two soldiers are about to execute Narville, they reveal themselves as Tomas "Sev" Sevchenko and Rico Velasquez and the scene cuts back six months earlier, immediately following the events of Killzone 2.
Sev and Rico regroup with Captain Jason Narville outside Scolar Visari's palace and they begin their evacuation towards the remaining ISA ships on Helghan, facing heavy resistance from organised Helghast troops led by Admiral Orlock, whose plan is well received by most of the senate except for Jorhan Stahl, the chairman of Stahl Arms, the largest weapons manufacturer on Helghan. From the outset, the animosity between the two parties is made apparent. Rico separates from the group to rescue a squad who have encountered heavy resistance. All the ISA ships depart or are destroyed by the Helghast, leaving Sev and the rest of the ISA forces marooned on Helghan.
Jumping six months forward, the Helghast senate express their disappointment with Orlock's search for the remaining ISA forces, having initially promised that they would be dead within the hour . As a result, Stahl refuses to hand over his weapon prototype to the military, citing the Admiral as incompetent. Stahl organizes his private army to hunt down the ISA who are hiding in a Helghast jungle. Narville dispatches Sev along with a soldier named Kowalski to retrieve a satellite uplink in order to contact the Vektan government. Upon doing so, Earth Command informs Sev and Narville that the ISA has surrendered and that they are to surrender. The Helghast soon track the ISA in the jungle, ending with their capture.
Rico and his men, who have been separated from the main group for six months, are able to rescue Sev, who convinces them to save Narville and the rest of the captured ISA forces. They track them to Stahl's base and discover a horrifying new weapon using irradiated Petrusite, a compound that causes victims to explode. Disguised as Narville's executioners, Sev and Rico rescue Narville in addition to freeing some of their men held as prisoners of war and used as test subjects for Stahl's new weapons. On their way out, Rico and Sev discover Stahl's plan to destroy Earth and the ISA chase Stahl's cruiser to the Helghast orbital elevator.
Embarrassed by Stahl's failure to execute Narville, Stahl is ordered to turn over his new weapons to the Helghast military by Orlock, who has now become Helghan's dictator (Autarch). He is made to meet with Orlock at the space station where he plans to kill Stahl. The remaining ISA soldiers arrive at the orbital elevator and ride up to the space station to stop Stahl from attacking Earth. Stahl turns on Orlock, murdering him after a brief fight, and makes preparations to bombard Earth. The remaining ISA forces hijack two fighters and Sev manages to shoot down Stahl's cruiser. Unwilling to let Stahl escape the cruiser, he drops a nuke on the falling cruiser, releasing massive amounts of Petrusite into Helghan's atmosphere. The Petrusite engulfs the entire planet and wipes out everything on its surface. Jammer then reports that Helghan has gone dark and Sev contemplates on the many lives on the planet obliterated by the Petrusite.
In a mid-credits scene, two Helghast soldiers are searching through some ruins when they come across an escape pod. Though the occupant's identity is not revealed, both soldiers bow and say, "Welcome home sir.", heavily implying that Stahl survived and managed to escape his cruiser before it was destroyed.
The gameplay strongly resembles that of Killzone 2 albeit with several tweaks and changes. Similar to the first Killzone, the game takes place in various harsh environments such as Arctic landscapes, a lethal alien jungle, nuclear wastelands as well as space battles rather than only the city-scape environments which were present in Killzone 2. Another notable new feature is the ability to use jet packs in the game, which were also used in Killzone: Liberation, however, these new jet packs will be used in a different manner than that of those in Killzone: Liberation.
The game also features a revamped close combat melee system (called Brutal Melee) which includes new brutal melee attacks as well as the ability to string together multiple attacks in a combo. A new weapon called the WASP has also been added, which acts as a multi-firing rocket launcher.
Killzone 3 supports offline split-screen co-operation for two players, a feature not present in Killzone 2. With this mode, two players can play the campaign of Killzone 3 offline. This is the only mode that supports offline split-screen multiplayer in Killzone 3. There is also an offline multiplayer mode named 'BotZone' in which players can play against computer bots.
Online multiplayer of Killzone 3 supports three different game modes: Guerilla Warfare, Warzone, and Operations. "Guerilla Warfare" is a classic team death match style game that supports up to 16 players per map for each map that supports this mode. "Warzone", returning from Killzone 2's multiplayer, is an objective based game (seven objectives: "Body Count", "Capture and Hold", "Search and Retrieve", and two rounds of "Assassination" and "Search and Destory" respectively) that supports up to 24 players per map for each map that supports this mode. "Operations" is a new game mode that features cinematic scenes and supports up to 16 players per map for each map that supports this mode. In Operations, the ISA and the Helghast battle for control of specific objectives - the ISA on the offensive and the Helghast on defense. The best players are featured throughout the match in cutscenes depicting their successes.
There are a total of eight multiplayer maps on disk, including Corinth Highway, Pyrrhus Crater, Bilgarsk Boulevard, Turbine Concourse SE-6, Frozen Dam, Akmir Snowdrift, Mawlr Graveyard, and Kaznan Jungle. Guerilla Warfare is supported on the Pyrrhus Crater, Bilgarsk Boulevard, Frozen Dam, Akmir Snowdrift, and Kaznan Jungle maps. Warzone is supported on all maps except the Kaznan Jungle map. Operations is supported on the Frozen Dam, Akmir Snowdrift, and Mawlr Graveyard maps.
A new feature to Killzone multiplayer for Killzone 3 is the ability to use vehicle-like mechanisms: the jet packs and Exos (each available on one game disc map respectively). The jet packs are exclusive to the Turbine Concourse SE-6 map while the Exos, as well as the WASP rocket launcher created by the Engineer, are only available on the Corinth Highway map. Another new feature is the ability to use Mortar Beacons, which can be used if a Tactician captures a tactical spawn point from which the Mortar Beacons are found. Mortar Beacons are featured on the Corinth Highway, Pyrrhus Crater, Bilgarsk Boulevard, Frozen Dam, and Mawlr Graveyard maps. Miniguns can be created by the Engineer on the Pyrrhus Crater, Bilgarsk Boulevard, and Turbine Concourse SE-6 maps. A snowstorm is featured on the Akmir Snowdrift map and a crusher (which the player can control) is featured in the Mawlr Graveyard.
There are a total of five classes for players to choose from: Marksman, Engineer, Field Medic, Tactician, and Infiltrator. Each have their own special abilities and weapons, such as disguise for the Infiltrator or cloaking for the Marksman. Unlike Killzone 2, players may choose any class from the start, however, they must earn Unlock Points to upgrade the abilities and to gain more weapons for each class (Unlock Points are awarded by ranking up). Each class's abilities can be upgraded twice, and they can unlock two additional primary weapons, one or two additional secondary weapons, and/or one heavy weapon (e.g. rocket launcher) depending on class. Other abilities, such as armor or silent footsteps, are earned based on obtaining a certain rank in multiplayer and can be used on any class. Ribbons (e.g. Faster Reload, Faster Aim, Double XP, etc.) are earned in-game based upon a certain achievement required by the ribbon and only apply to that game and must be re-earned each game.
The points system has also been updated where one kill equals 100 points, as opposed to one kill equaling 1 point in Killzone 2. Other updates to the points system include Assist kills (25 points), destroying Bots (50 points), Explosive kills (150 points), objective based points (e.g. 600 points for completely assassinating the assassination target in Assassination), Double and Triple kills and kill streaks (3, 5, 10, etc.).
The first downloadable content (DLC) for Killzone 3 is the "Retro Map Pack: Reclaimed Territory" which consists of two of the most popular maps from Killzone 2. The maps are the "Salamun Market" and "Blood Gracht" maps, which have been updated for Killzone 3. Saluman Market features the Warzone game mode (as well as Exos and placements for the WASP to be constructed by the Engineer) while Blood Gracht features the Guerilla Warfare game mode. This pack was made available to purchase from the PlayStation Network on February 22, 2011. The map pack was also available as a pre-order bonus from various retailers and could be obtained from 7-Eleven's promotion of Killzone 3 for 10 Slurpee rewards points. It was also included in the Helghast Edition. The map pack includes seven trophies; two map specific trophies for each map respectively, and three non-map specific trophies. Edge and Schick are offering specially packaged shaving gel and razors for three PS3 exclusives; Gran Turismo 5, inFamous 2, and Killzone 3. The special Killzone 3 packages include a redeemable voucher for the Retro Map Pack or three Unlock Points.
On February 24, 2011, the second DLC map pack, "Steel Rain", was announced. Steel Rain features the maps "Junkyard" and "Stahl Arms" which feature the game modes Guerilla Warfare and Warzone respectively. The Junkyard also features both the Exos and Jetpacks and Stahl Arms features a placement for a minigun to be constructed by the Engineer. Steel Rain was released in Europe on April 6, 2011 and in North America on April 12, 2011 (free for PlayStation Plus subscribers for one month). This map pack includes seven trophies: two map specific trophies for each map respectively, and three non-map specific trophies.
The game was officially unveiled to the public by Sony Computer Entertainment on May 24, 2010 through the PlayStation.Blog. The game was first leaked to the public on May 21, 2010 through an early release copy of the June issue of gaming magazine GamePro alongside a leaked screenshot. Rumors about a sequel to the Killzone series have been around since just shortly after the release of Killzone 2. It was not until March 20, 2010 that Sony officially confirmed that they were working on Killzone 3. President of Sony Computer Entertainment America, Jack Tretton, confirmed its development in an interview with GameTrailers, but at that point of time could not yet say when the game would be officially announced.
Guerrilla's managing director, Herman Hulst, has stated Killzone 3 will use close to 100% of the PS3's power. The rumors of the intervention of Naughty Dog in the development were denied by Guerrilla: "Guerrilla is working on Killzone 3's graphics engine all on its own, confirming Naughty Dog has no hand in its development". The first teaser trailer for the game was released on June 3, 2010 and features the new brutal melee combat system. The cinematic trailer shows Sev battling a Helghast ending with him taking the Helghast's helmet and putting it on himself. The single player demo reveals that this is part of the game as Sev and Rico dress as Helghast to infiltrate a Helghast facility at Stahl Arms.
On June 11, 2010 on Killzone.com and the US PlayStation Blog, Guerrilla Games released a pre-E3 gameplay video. Guerrilla said the gameplay video is made of gameplay footage pulled straight from the game's fourth mission called "Frozen Shores." It featured the new brutal melee system, the jet packs, the new weapon (the WASP missile launcher), and it featured Sev, as well as Rico, with Sev's hair a bit longer than in Killzone 2. At E3 2010, it was confirmed that Killzone 3 would support the PlayStation Move and would be released in February 2011. A pre-alpha code gameplay video was also shown at E3 in 3D; a special screen was lowered and the audience had 3D glasses available to them. The E3 gameplay video featured the jet packs as well as the player riding on a craft using a turret.
Guerrilla Games game director, Mathijs de Jonge, has been chatting about the merits of swearing in games, and with Killzone 3 he feels the studio have got just the right amount. "In Killzone 2 we ended up with too much of it, Killzone 3 swearing 'a lot more impactful'." he told Edge. Tommy de Roos, principal programmer at Guerrilla Games, who headed development for Move with Killzone 3, has said that he thinks "Most FPS games will be played with motion control in a few years."
Killzone 3 takes up a full dual-layer Blu-ray disc.
According to Guerilla Games, Killzone 3's story is more light-hearted compared to its predecessor, which Guerrilla felt suffered from an overly serious and dark story which was one of the major complaints of the original, though they mentioned that it would not be too light-hearted as it is still a war. In addition, Guerrilla Games hired an external writer to focus on only writing the storyline so as to give a fresh perspective to the story as well as hiring a lot more Hollywood actors to elevate the level of storytelling within the dialogue of the game (such as Malcolm McDowell voicing Jorhan Stahl and Ray Winstone voicing Admiral Orlock).
Guerrilla Games also mentioned that the game's story will be an integral part of the game with dialogue and character development being greatly improved from its predecessor. In addition, Guerrilla Games also stated that they are curtailing the swearing in Killzone 3, which many felt was unnecessary in the dialogue of Killzone 2. They mentioned that the dialogue in the game should be focused on advancing the story rather than "gratuitous" swearing.
The Killzone 3 Multiplayer Closed Beta began on October 12, 2010 for select participants of the Killzone community.
The Killzone 3 Multiplayer Open Beta began on October 25, 2010 (with a download patch for version 2.02; updated again to 2.04). A limited 5,000 PlayStation Plus subscribers from SCEA and 10,000 PlayStation Plus subscribers from SCEE could gain access to the beta by downloading the Killzone 3 XMB theme (released on October 13 and 19, 2010 for SCEE and SCEA respectively). Selected participants were notified by email with a redeem code to access the beta. This beta was to test gameplay only and did not support PlayStation Move or 3D capabilities.
The official Twitter page for Killzone selected 300 twitter subscribers (150 from SCEE and SCEA territories respectively) to participate in the open beta between October 19 and October 22, 2010. On November 7, 2010, the beta was expanded inviting 5,000 more PlayStation Plus subscribers from SCEE and SCEA territories. Instead of email distribution, these redeem codes were sent out via PlayStation Network messages. This beta ended prior to the end of 2010.
On January 21, 2011, it was announced that the Killzone 3 Multiplayer Open Beta will be available for download on the PlayStation Network on February 2 in North America and February 3 in Europe through February 14, 2011. On February 1, however, it was announced that the North American open beta was delayed until February 3 and "to make it up", Sony ran a sweepstakes to giveaway 60 Killzone 3 Limited Helghast Editions (not sold in stores) to US players who participated in the open beta from February 4 through February 6. The Beta offered early access to the 'Frozen Dam' multiplayer level, including all three online multiplayer modes - Guerrilla Warfare, Warzone and Operations - as well as the offline multiplayer mode, Botzone.
On February 7, 2011, update patch 1.01 was released for the multiplayer open beta (with update patch 1.02 on February 15). On February 9, 2011, it was reported that over 58 million kills have been made, 10% of that being Brutal Melee kills, with 350,000 games already played.
Due to the high response of the first Killzone 3 Limited Helghast Edition sweepstakes giveaway, Sony ran another sweepstakes, giving away 60 more Limited Helghast Editions from February 11 through February 13, 2011 in the US (five Canadian participants were also chosen during this time in addition to the 60 for the US).
The Killzone 3 single player demo was released in North America on February 15 and in Europe on February 16, 2011 (with early access for PlayStation Plus members on February 8 and February 9 in North America and Europe respectively). It's available as two separate downloads from the PlayStation Store: one in 2D and one in 3D. The 2D version features splitscreen co-op, which is not supported in the 3D demo. Both versions of the demo are PlayStation Move-enabled and both versions of the demo take place on a modified version of the "Icy Incursion" level.
Killzone 3 includes a mode that supports Sony's plunge into 3D gaming. The Killzone 3 3D mode is optional and requires a 3D ready TV. The first impressions of the 3D showed some glitches; with three-dimensional visual effects, the game became blurry, imprecise, and disorienting. In alpha version, 3D sacrificed things like sharpness, speed, a feeling of orientation and a lot more aliasing. Jagged edges as well as some ghosting of interface elements are reported to occur.
At E3 2010, it was revealed that Killzone 3 was built with 3D support from the ground up. In praise of the game's 3D capabilities, GameTrailers awarded the title Best 3D Graphics of E3 2010, although officially, it did not have any nominations at E3 2010. The E3 2010 trailer resolution is half the horizontal resolution of the 2D game, with the whole image (including HUD) scaled up using the PS3 hardware scaler and render the vision of a single eye.
Release and marketing
Killzone 3 was released on February 22, 2011 in North America, February 23 in Europe, and February 25 in the United Kingdom.
7-Eleven offered exclusive downloadable content for Killzone 3 in exchange for Slurpee purchases in stores in the U.S. which ran from February 2011 to the end of March 2011. 7-Eleven also featured Killzone 3 themed Slurpee cups, in addition to an exclusive Killzone flavor, "Battle Fuel" (a chilling orange flavor). Each Slurpee cup beared a unique code, allowing a download for Killzone 3 content (and other Slurpee rewards), such as content for PlayStation Home (the Helghast "Capture Trooper" and "Jason Narville I.S.A." costumes and a "Slurpee Machine"), the Retro Map Pack, the "Unlock and Load Pack", two PS3 XMB Themes (standard and Dynamic), a PC wallpaper, and an exclusive behind-the-scenes video.
All early copies of Killzone 3 (including both the standalone and Helghast Editions) include a redeemable voucher for the SOCOM 4 multiplayer beta.
Walmart hosted a midnight launch event. The first 20 players who purchased Killzone 3 received a limited edition Killzone 3 poster and a voucher for the Retro Map Pack. Select Walmart stores also hosted tournaments where players could win a copy of Killzone 3, a limited edition Cloaking Helghast Marksman action figure, and collectible Killzone 3 bags. GameStop also had a midnight launch event.
A limited edition Killzone 3 PS3 bundle was released on February 22, 2011 in North America, which includes a 160GB PS3 and a copy of Killzone 3 for $299.99 USD.
Alongside the standard edition of the game, there are several other versions of the game exclusive to certain countries and/or regions around the world. All of the special edition versions of the game are sold in limited quantities and contain a copy of the game as standard or special packaging.
The Helghast Edition is exclusive to North America, Europe and Australia. The Helghast Edition for North America comes with an authentic "Helghast Helmet" replica (which opens to reveal an art book, a copy of Killzone 3, and the Super Voucher in the Killzone 3 game case) and a "Cloaking Helghast Marksman" action figure (6.5” tall with multiple articulation points and will not be sold at retail; created by DC Unlimited). The art book is a 100-page hardbound art book featuring imagery from the Killzone universe. The Helghast Edition for Europe and Australia includes all of the content of the North American version, however, the Super Voucher is replaced with the PSN Voucher and the copy of Killzone 3 is in a SteelBook Collector's Edition case.
Both the Super Voucher and the PSN Voucher include all of the same content. Both vouchers include the Killzone 3 soundtrack (composed by Joris de Man and released on PSN on March 8, 2011), bonus video content giving a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the game, an exclusive PS3 dynamic theme, the Retro Map Pack ("Salamun Market" and "Blood Gracht" maps from Killzone 2), double XP for the first 24 hours of multiplayer gameplay, and full access to all weapons and abilities during the first 24 hours of multiplayer gameplay (the 24 hours begins upon redemption of voucher and counts down regardless of player being online or offline).
The Collector’s Edition is exclusive to Europe and Australia. The Collector's Edition of Killzone 3 came in a SteelBook case packaging, which is also included in the Killzone 3 Helghast Edition for Europe and Australia. The limited Collector's Edition was available only through pre-order. It included a PSN voucher code to access the Retro Map Pack, a Killzone 3 dynamic theme, and the Killzone 3 soundtrack. It also included another PSN voucher as a pre-order bonus, which either unlocked all weapons and abilities, gave double XP (both for first 24 hours of multiplayer gameplay), or 3 Unlock Points to use on any weapon or ability.
In the Netherlands, players could purchase the Collector's Edition for the price of the standard edition if they pre-ordered from Game Mania stores.
The Killzone 3 Limited Helghast Edition is not sold in stores and is exclusive to North America. Only 1000 have been made, 125 of which were given away in the multiplayer open beta from February 4 through February 6 and February 11 through February 13, 2011. The Limited Helghast Edition contains all the same elements as the retail version of the Helghast Edition, but features a Helghast Helmet replica with illuminated LED eyes, simulating Helghasts’ glowing mask.
On March 10, 2011, ACIDplanet.com announced a sweepstakes that ran from March 10, 2011 through April 21, 2011. In this "Killzone 3 Remix Contest", players could remix the track "Stahl Arms Battle" from the Killzone 3 soundtrack. At the end of the contest, Joris de Man chose one grand prize winner who received the Killzone 3 Limited Helghast Edition as well as Vegas Pro software, ACID Pro software, Twenty Loop Libraries, and a Sony MP3 Walkman. Second place runner ups received a copy of Killzone 3, ACID Music Studio software, and Ten Loop Libraries.
On March 24, 2011, Guerilla announced the "March for Helghan II Sweepstakes" where they gave away 10 Limited Helghast Editions each day (170 total) from March 25 through April 10. Players simply needed to play the Killzone 3 multiplayer for a chance to win.
The download packs contained in the Super Voucher (excluding the soundtrack) were also available as pre-order bonuses for the Standard Edition of Killzone 3 from select retailers in North America. Europe and Australia did not receive pre-order bonuses from select retailers, but instead, they have the Collector's Edition which contains the pre-order bonus content of North America.
GameStop offered the "Guerilla Pack" which contained a voucher unlocking all multiplayer weapons and abilities for the first 24 hours of multiplayer gameplay. Best Buy offered the "Fast Starter Pack" which contained a voucher allowing players to rank up faster as they earn double XP for the first 24 hours of multiplayer gameplay. Amazon.com offered the "Unlock and Load Pack" which contained a voucher allowing instant access to 3 Unlock Points to use on the weapon or ability of the players choice. If players pre-ordered Killzone 3 from Amazon.com via PlayStation Home, they also received an exclusive "Helghast Jetpack" for their Home avatar in addition to the "Unlock and Load Pack". GameStop, Best Buy, and Amazon.com each offered the Retro Map Pack with their respective pre-order bonus. Other participating retailers offered the Retro Map Pack and the Killzone 3 PS3 Dynamic Theme.
From January 27, 2011 until February 24, 2011, in the PlayStation 3's social gaming network PlayStation Home, the "Central Plaza" (North American Home's central meeting point) was redesigned as "the last remaining ISA stronghold" in celebration of Killzone 3 (European users could also access the Central Plaza; a special ISA Dropship was available in the Home Square, Europe's central meeting point, that teleported users to the Central Plaza). There was a mini-game in the Central Plaza called "Killzone Plaza Defender" which was a Killzone-themed first-person shooter mini-game where players shoot down enemy Helghast airships, ground vehicles, and infantry units or assist gunners by collecting and delivering ammunition, repair kits, and first aid. The mini-game had three waves for users to complete, each with three challenges (such as simply completing each wave, assisting other players in each wave, completing Wave 1 with full health, completing Wave 2 with a certain accuracy, and completing Wave 3 with a perfect score) with an unlockable I.S.A. uniform (Rico's uniform, plus a helmet) for the users Home avatar. Completing all of the challenges for all three waves granted three Unlock Points, which could be redeemed for new weapons and abilities in the Killzone 3 multiplayer. Users could also pre-order Killzone 3 from Amazon.com at a special kiosk in the Central Plaza (or from the "Killzone Plaza Defender"'s menu screen). Pre-ordering by this means granted users an exclusive "Helghast Jetpack" for their Home avatar in addition to the other pre-order bonus from Amazon.com (pre-order was unavailable for European users). In addition, users could also obtain a "Helghast Capture Trooper" and "Jason Narville I.S.A." costume for their Home avatar as well as a Slurpee Machine for their personal spaces from the 7-Eleven promotion for 2 Slurpee points each.
On March 30, 2011, it was announced that a novelization of Killzone 3, titled Killzone: Ascendancy and written by Sam Bradbury, is now available from Penguin Books in paperback format and from Amazon.com in Kindle format. According to the PlayStation.Blog post, "the author delved deep into the game’s story to answer...questions" about the game, such as what drives Sev and Rico's actions.
Before Killzone 3's release, Guerrilla Games already had a 'lot of ideas' for the next installment. In an interview with PlayStation Official Magazine (UK), Mathijs de Jonge stated that "We're looking at new projects, there's a lot of ideas already floating around the company to put in a new Killzone."