Before he was telling everyone to f***k off in Succession, Brian Cox was inspiring the Helghast army in Killzone’s opening cinematic. Joris de Man’s soaring score set the tone to it all, weaving strings and percussion into a marching stampede before the game’s main menu lit up the screen. It’s the perfect introduction to Guerilla Games’ bleak, gray, and brutal world of galactic warfare. Yet, despite intriguing lore and a sci-fi approach unlike other PS2 shooters of the time, Killzone’s premise couldn’t be fully realized. Sequels came and went, but the first game always retained something special. I need it back in my life, whether that’s in the form of PS Plus emulation magic or, ideally, a polished PS5 remake.
You might be scratching your head for a moment, because there is actually a Killzone remake out there. A remastered version of the PS2 shooter did appear in the Killzone Trilogy bundle, which was released in November 2012. It did manifest as a separate download on the PlayStation Store, but either way you look at it, it is only available for PS3 owners still to this day.
The remaster didn’t necessarily overhaul the game massively, though. Players were treated to a 720P resolution bump and trophy support, but nothing extensive. Yet, despite the franchise initially soldiering on with a prospering Sony relationship, Guerilla Games has left it in the past to focus on the popular Horizon series.
Killzone: Shadow Fall was the last major entry in the series, but there’s been radio silence since its debut in 2013. But I’m not looking for a sequel to a franchise that is unknown to most modern day PS5 players under the age of 20. The right way to reestablish Killzone is to go back to the start. Let’s call it the ‘Tony Hawk Method’. That’s because Activision called upon Vicarious Visions to do the Pro Skater franchise’s first two games justice, relaunching them for a whole new generation of players. Well, that’s until Activision carted the studio off to be another cog in the Call of Duty machine.
But the same methodology is right for Killzone. The first entry already has the foundations of an excellent shooter. The lore of Helghan and the Helghast race is fascinating, as it depicts a subspecies of humans that are far more technologically advanced, physically stronger, and fiercely intelligent. As they aren’t exactly aliens or otherworldly beings, it keeps the action on par with other boots-on-the-ground shooters. This is warfare as harrowing and as chilling as it comes, and even mankind’s biggest scientific advancements can’t help our band of heroes fend off the Helghast’s galactic takeover.
This is all bolstered by the game’s superb art direction, which leans on Cold War era architecture and brutalist design work to enrich each level of the campaign or its multiplayer maps. Oh, man did I spend hours battling AI bots and my brother in the game’s multiplayer. There’s a lost art in the simplicity of good split-screen multiplayer these days, and Killzone had it nailed down.
Within these constructs is the gameplay itself, which is fully deserving of a current-day makeover. At the time of release, I was able to overcome its sluggish movement because of the astounding sound design. Each blast of a LS13 Shotgun felt like I was being punched in the chest. Every weapon sang with exquisite designs to admire. Had the game become more iconic, I don’t doubt that more people would look back on specific weapons fondly like they do in the same vein as the Energy Sword from Xbox’s FPS crown holder, Halo.
And that’s the major obstacle that has always plagued the Killzone series as a whole, let alone the debut entry. It was a victim of immense hype, echoing the type of celebration many were hoping to afford Starfield last year. The expectation of it defeating Halo spread like wildfire at the time, but that promise never actually came from the mouths of Guerilla Games.
There’s still life to be found for Killzone, though. The recent The Last of Us 2 Remaster pays homage to the franchise, adorning Ellie with a Helghast logo tee that can be worn through the game, alongside other prized Sony franchises. It is a surprising inclusion, but it is a positive sign that Killzone isn’t completely forgotten, and one day, I hope we’ll see it return as a new PS5 game to get excited about.
Will that be any time soon? Probably not. But you can check out The Loadout team’s predictions for the rumored, upcoming State of Play to see which PS5 announcements we expect for the near future.