Sony's big shtick at its PS4 press event was this impression that the new console is a "super-charged PC" built with developer feedback in mind. Guerrilla reveals to CVG that - as a first-party studio - it was part of the consultation process and had a sizeable input in the final system specs."This was the first time we did this with PlayStation, where you get the entire group of core developers together and consistently give very deep, profound feedback on everything system-related, and that's really awesome," ter Heide said.
"The guys who made it are no longer in an ivory tower in Tokyo, [the development has been] shared with us and not just with us, but with Evolution, Santa Monica, Naughty Dog, everybody and together we've built the machine.
"I think because it's so embedded in the work that we do, we who make games on a daily basis, it's a gamer's machine. That's the end result of it. I think Mark Cerny said at one point [in the PS4 conference] that it's a machine by gamers, for gamers, and I really think that's the essence of it. They've made sure that all the focus is just on how we can make the games as good as possible."The console's power is only one aspect of the PlayStation 4 that Guerrilla helped design. The new controller, the DualShock 4, was also the result of a collaboration between Guerrilla and other development teams. Each team told Sony exactly what it was looking for from Sony in terms of the genres they were most familiar with working on.
Evolution Studios offered feedback on the motion control aspects with racing games in mind, while Guerrilla asked for the controller to be more suited to FPS gaming. "It's a great controller for an FPS," ter Heide says.
"We've been having these discussions about putting a headset jack in there because everybody should be able to go online and have a chat, and they put it in there and it's awesome. It sounds like a lot of really simple features that we've put in there but they make all the difference because it's in one comprehensive package."For example, there are little tweaks to the indentation on the sticks, where you have your thumbs on them, we've slightly raised them so there's a little bit more precision. They're slight changes but they make a huge difference."
Hulst agrees: "I think it's a big step forward from what we have [on PS3]. It feels incredibly accurate, in your hands it feels solid, it feels really high quality with the materials that have been used, it feels like you're in control and particularly with that feeling of being a Shadow Marshal, this big hero guy with extra capabilities, it's very suitable. And like we said earlier, we've been feeding back on what it should be for so long that I think we have what we wanted to have. It's very suitable for Killzone."
While talking to the two, one thing is clear - Sony has turned to Guerrilla to be a key software provider for both home console and handheld, as well as its new approach to peer-developed hardware.
"The number of hours of feedback we've given on [the controller] to get it exactly to what we want - with the outward curving triggers, the indentations - and from all these different studios doing the same thing, it's a lot of detailed stuff, making games but also making hardware for games," Hulst says.
"And that's great, because since we've worked on it so long and given feedback on it, that's the reason we're quite confident today as a group of developers, because we know where it was and the path it's taken so we know that once it's in the hands of users, of people who love core gaming experiences, that it'll work well."