- "What will you sacrifice for peace?"
Killzone Shadow Fall is a 2013 first-person shooter video game developed by Guerrilla Games and published by Sony Computer Entertainment for the PlayStation 4. It is the sixth game of the Killzone series and the fourth game of the series for home consoles. Killzone Shadow Fall was released on 15 November 2013 as a launch title for PlayStation 4 in North America and 29 November 2013 in Europe. Taking place 30 years after the events of Killzone 3, Shadow Fall follows a new set of characters, putting players in the role of Lucas Kellan, a Shadow Marshal, who is investigating a rising threat in the continuing war between Vekta and the Helghast.
- "Killzone Shadow Fall is set in a near future, thirty years after the events of KIllzone 3. The world is a very different place; two rival factions known as the Helghast and the Vektans live side by side in a futuristic city, divided by a vast wall. Tensions are high, and the cold war they are embroiled in is about to go hot. In the midst of all this stands a Shadow Marshal, you. The most special of the special forces, tasked with maintaining the delicate balance. From responding to bold attacks to quiet infiltrations or all-out combat, you will be required to adapt and think on your feet as you have to face a variety of escalating events that could destroy your home world."
- —Game description
Following the Petrusite detonation that rendered the planet Helghan irrevocably uninhabitable in Killzone 3 (an event now referred to as "The Terracide"), an uneasy truce was formed and the ISA grants refuge to the Helghast survivors on the planet Vekta, allowing them to colonize half the planet dubbed New Helghan. Due to the resentment they bear over the previous war, both Vektans and Helghast are unable to seek peaceful coexistence, and a massive security fortification called The Wall is constructed to separate the two civilizations from each other. Both sides routinely perform covert operations against each other in the hope of finishing the war each claims the other started.
The game's events follow Shadow Marshal Lucas Kellan, who is tasked with keeping the peace between the two sides, and protecting his people from any threat the Helghast may cause, including terrorist attacks performed by the Black Hand.
This page contains story elements that may spoil the experience for you.
Watch out while reading this, or don't at all, until you know what's coming.
The game begins in the year 2370, several years after the construction of "The Wall", during the forced relocation of Vektans out of New Helghan. Michael Kellan and his 5-year-old son, Lucas, attempt to sneak through New Helghan to The Wall. Along the way, they meet Thomas Sinclair, a Shadow Marshal, who aids them in making it through to safety. Just as the group makes it to The Wall, Helghast forces spot them and kill Michael. After Sinclair dispatches the remaining forces, he promises Lucas that he will look after him. A brief cutscene plays, showing Lucas rising through the ranks of the Shadow Marshal Academy, eventually becoming a full-fledged Shadow Marshal and working under Sinclair's command.
20 years later, tensions between the Vektans and Helghast have reached a boiling point. Kellan, who let himself be captured by the Helghast as part of an investigation, is being brought across The Wall as part of a prisoner exchange for a Helghast agent named Echo. After the exchange, Kellan is ordered to return to the Helghan side of The Wall in order to retrieve classified data. Kellan recovers the classified information and makes a bold escape out of the area. Using the recovered data, Sinclair sends Kellan to the ISC Cassandra, a classified research ship, to destroy evidence of a bio-tech weapon being created by head scientist Dr. Hillary Massar and send the "Cassandra" into the nearby sun. Once on the station, Kellan encounters Echo, who escapes with Massar in tow; while Kellan makes it off the ship just as it drifts into the sun.
Upon arriving at VSA Headquarters, a massive explosion rips through the building, killing several civilians and soldiers. Through the confusion, Kellan meets up with Sinclair; just as a broadcast comes through from Vladko Tyran, leader of "The Black Hand", a paramilitary terrorist group claiming responsibility for the attack. As a result of the terrorism, all Helghast citizens residing on the Vektan side of The Wall are deported to New Helghan. Sinclair sends Kellan under-cover with the rest of the refugees in order to locate Tyran. Eventually he finds Tyran and learns that he is working for Jorhan Stahl (having survived the events of Killzone 3), who plans to use Massar's bio-tech weapon that has been altered to target Vektans. Shortly after, Kellan is taken captive.
Kellan is approached by Echo in his cell. He informs her that Stahl plans to use Massar's bio-tech weapon to kill Vektans and half-breeds alike, including Echo. Echo, who is revealed to be Lady Hera Visari's daughter, is displeased with Visari for being in league with Stahl and planning to ignite another war. She helps Kellan escape his cell and returns him to the Vektan side of The Wall in order to convince the VSA to stand down. Upon his return, Sinclair ignores Kellan's pleas to stand down, outraged that he is siding with Echo. Instead, Sinclair informs him that the VSA have tracked Massar to a massive mining spire in orbit over the planet Helghan, and dispatches him to recover the doctor. Kellan infiltrates the main spire and finds Massar. She states that the bio-weapon is now with Stahl, being prepped for its final test. Sinclair orders Kellan to take Massar into custody, but Echo arrives and kills Massar as Kellan watches on. Now viewed as a traitor by Sinclair, Kellan teams up with Echo, and the two descend to Helghan to stop Stahl.
Once the duo arrive on the destroyed surface of Helghan and head to Stahl's base, they confront and defeat Tyran. Kellan then radios Sinclair, warning him to abort the ISA assault on Stahl, but Sinclair ignores him. As the ISA begin their attack on Stahl's base, Stahl activates Massar's weapon, destroying all of the ISA ships. Echo and Kellan are separated in the chaos. Finally, Kellan reaches Stahl himself, strapped to a life support system due to his advanced age (and presumably due to Petrusite exposure). Stahl claims that the Terracide happened because the weak had to be destroyed, and that it is Vekta's turn to share the same fate, but is suddenly shot dead by Sinclair, who enters the room and also shoots Kellan. As Kellan dies, Sinclair states that with the newly reacquired weapon, they can end the Helghast threat forever. Sinclair then apologizes to Kellan before killing him.
A mid-credits scene lets the player take control of Echo, sneaking into Vekta City to assassinate Sinclair during a speech he gives to the Vektans, calling for war against the Helghast. Echo comes to a perch overlooking the ceremony, lines up her shot with a sniper rifle and quietly says "For Kellan..." before pulling the trigger, killing Sinclair and preventing a new war from beginning.
There are now only four classes; Scout, Assault, Support, and Insurgent. There are also ten multiplayer (not including DLC) maps currently available, with more promised to be released over subsequent months for no additional cost.
A $20 online season pass is also available. It will contain a co-op expansion pack, three new map packs, and two additional multiplayer expansion packs. The wave-based co-op mode is a four-player game type set across four new cooperative levels, and featuring a unique leveling system and new unlocks. The trio of map packs, each of which introduces two new levels, will also be part of the cooperative survival mode. An OWL combat drone skin and unique multiplayer Spotlight move" are also included.
There are two DLC packs confirmed: One is Insurgent DLC Pack that includes a new mode, a new class, as well as a few new weapons, new trophies and challenges, and more OWL/Drone skins. And the other is Intercept DLC that includes a four-player cooperative multiplayer game playing as the VSA against the Helghast Army featuring a survival like game-mode with a new class known as the Medic.
The multiplayer uses a system where you choose to play from different Warzones, created by the developers or the community. While basic ones are available, anyone can create their own with custom rules, putting the warzone up for anyone to view and join. As of now the options are fairly limited, mostly involving turning off or limiting aspects of the basic Warzone game mode.
Shadow Fall currently features ten multiplayer maps: The Divide, The Spire, The Park, The Station, The Wall, The Penthouse, The Factory, The Forest, The Remains, and The Slums. Two maps named The Cruiser and The Hanger were added as free DLC. Later, a map named Canyon was added as free DLC.
Killzone Shadow Fall was seen, by Guerrilla Games, as an opportunity to revitalize the franchise, since it was established early in development that they would be working on a new platform. The main point during development was to give players more options on how to proceed, particularly during the single-player mode. According to Guerrilla Games, the original size of Killzone Shadow Fall was 290GB because the game has no assets designed for lower spec systems.
The demo of Killzone: Shadow Fall shown during PlayStation 4's announcement only used 4GB of memory – not the full 8GB GDDR5 RAM available to developers in the final hardware, Guerrilla has revealed. According to the studio, 3072MB (3GB) of PS4's 8GB were dedicated to video resources powering the demo, with 1,536MB used for system resources. A further 128MB were shared between the two.Of the 3GB reserved for video memory, 1,321 MB were used by non-streaming textures. According to Guerrilla, the demo featured 8200 physics objects, 500 particle systems and real-time reflections - which include "a lot of Guerrilla secret sauce".
Guerrilla's decision to stick with 4GB suggest that the developer may not have been aware of Sony's decision to include 8GB in final retail hardware – something Just Add Water CEO Stewart Gilray told VideoGamer.com had been kept secret from third-party developers until the console's announcement. "We were told [PS4] was 4GB originally," Gilray told us, "and we first knew it had 8GBs when Mark said at the event's stage, 'And it has 8GB of memory.' We'd had kits at that point for a good while."
Two actors were confirmed on July 9, 2013: Homeland star David Harewood will be playing Vektan Security Agency director Sinclair, and True Blood's Jamie Gray Hyder will be playing Echo, an intelligence operative for the Helghast.
Killzone Shadow Fall ended development and "went gold" on 21 October 2013.
The game was released on November 15, 2013 (North America) and November 29, 2013 (Europe) alongside the PlayStation 4's release. Many retailers released it several days early, along with most PS4 launch titles.
Reception and sales
It was met with average to good critical reception. It was mostly praised for its visuals and multiplayer mode, but criticism was directed at the game's story and AI problems. Many complaints involved the zero gravity sections of the campaign and the game's over-all lack of innovation for a next-gen launch title.
Destructoid's Dale North rewarded it a 9/10: "I like Killzone Shadow Fall for its change of direction from previous series games, as well as its change of pace over other first-person shooters. Guerrilla has tried a few new things this time around, and should be commended as such. I welcome the almost sandbox-ish level approach, and the stealth segments did a nice job of breaking up the standard shooting action. It's really nice when gameplay concepts win out over big set pieces and cinematic events. Oh, and it's beautiful. A stunner. Killzone Shadow Fall is the game that will make you happy to own a PS4."
GameZone's Matt Liebl gave Killzone Shadow Fall a 7/10, stating "The PlayStation 4 represents the new generation of gaming, but it seems Guerilla Games may have been stuck in the past with Shadow Fall. There just aren't enough "next-gen" moments worthy of being the poster child for the PS4.'".
Killzone Shadow Fall received several awards after its release, including the 'Best PS4 Shooter' and 'Best PS4 Graphics' on IGN. It also received the People's Choice awards on both categories.
Polygon gave a harsh review, with game score of 5/10. Arthur Gies praised the visuals but said the game is filled with "shooter cliches" and is marred by poor execution. "Shadow Fall looks like the future, but it's stuck in the past," Gies said. "In a launch lineup crowded with shooters, Killzone Shadow Fall sits at the bottom."
- By the end of the demo when it reveals the Helghast part of the City, the screens on some of the buildings shows a looping video of Scolar Visari from the first Killzone's intro cinematic.
- The Helghast in Shadow Fall are now no longer exclusively sporting British accents, since recent gameplay footage shows that some now have American accents. It is possible that the developers realised that it would have been unrealistic that the Helghast who were exiled from Vekta couldn't all be British.
- This is the first Killzone Game to offer weapon's customization similar to many tactical shooters.
- This is the first game in the series where the current player character is killed in their game.
- The game briefly appears in the film 22 Jump Street. It is played by two college students in their room.
- It is the first game in the main series in which Joris de Man did not compose the soundtrack.
- A modified version of the Shadow Fall Engine is used and utilized in interactive survival horror game Until Dawn.
- 2013-09-11, Killzone: Shadow Fall Removes Jetpacks, XP From Multiplayer. IGN, accessed on 2013-09-24
- Guerrilla Game’s Lead Designer Eric Boltjes Talks Killzone: Shadow Fall DLC and Development
- The PS4 is so powerful that Killzone Shadow Fall was originally 290GB
- Killzone: Shadow Fall Has Gone Gold
- North, Dale. (13 November 2013). "Review: Killzone: Shadow Fall". Destructoid.
- Liebel, Matt. (27 December 2013). [https://www.gamezone.com/reviews/killzone-shadow-fall-review-through-the-eyes-of-a-newcomer/ "Killzone: Shadow Fall review: through the eyes of a newcomer". GameZone
- Gies, Arthur. (13 November 2013). "KILLZONE: SHADOW FALL REVIEW: STALEMATE". Polygon.
- 2013-10-18, Killzone Shadow Fall. Gametrailers, accessed on 2013-10-22