Let's get one thing straight: we loved Killzone 2. It scored an impressive 9/10 in our review. So good was Sony's PlayStation 3 exclusive FPS that we called it "the best looking game ever made - a jaw dropping graphical showcase from start to finish". High praise indeed. But that doesn't mean we want developer Guerrilla to rest on its laurels for the inevitable follow-up. And just to give it a head start, just in case it's suffering an unwelcome mental block or a bout of burnout, we thought we'd knock our heads together and lend the developer some help. Hence, our Top 10: Ideas that'll make Killzone 3 a masterpiece feature. Read on, and let us know what ideas you've got for Killzone 3. Oh, and be warned, there are spoilers ahead.
10. Native 1080p resolution
Let's be honest, Sony hasn't realised its 1080p promise. We can count on two hands the number of games that display in 1080p resolution natively. Most of them have been downloadable PlayStation Network games (WipeOut HD etc). Indeed, bar GT5: Prologue, we can't think of single triple-A PS3 game that's in a higher resolution than 720p (upscaling doesn't count). How amazing, then, would it be to show off that massive new 1080p TV with Killzone 3? There's nothing quite like blowing away your mates with four figure resolutions. Yes it'll push the PS3 to breaking point, but that's kind of the point, isn't it?
9. Expectation busting graphics
Killzone 2 is the best looking game ever made. Period. But it won't hang on to that coveted title forever. With Mass Effect 2, God of War III, Uncharted 2 and Heavy Rain all approaching in the next 12 months or so, the graphical bar will be raised once again. And that's not even taking into consideration the inevitable Gears of War 3, Grand Theft Auto V and Crytek's next game, all titles that will in all probability come out before Guerrilla's follow-up. So, when Killzone 3 does come out there will be an onus on Guerrilla to once again push boundaries, and an expectation from gamers that it'll once again make the best-looking game ever made. And we're not just talking about the simple aesthetic here, either. We're talking about physics, hit animations, weapon reloads, particle effects, AI, lighting, all those massively important cogs in the realism wheel. As it was with Killzone 2, so it will be with Killzone 3: it's about providing as realistic a representation of sci-fi war as possible. No-one ever said making triple-A games was easy.
8. Multi-planet carnage
Some people criticised Killzone 2's campaign for not being varied enough. That's not entirely fair. After the halfway point, the levels started to switch up, as did the relentless pace, and the scenery drastically changed. But the action was still confined to a single planet. In Killzone 3, we want the action to take us to multiple planets. We want the conflict to take in not only Earth and Helghan, but massive fleet space ships in between. Killzone was set on colony planet Vekta. Killzone 2 took the fight to the Helghast home planet, Helghan. In Killzone 3 we foresee a somewhat inevitable visit to Earth as humanity makes its final stand against the Helghast onslaught. But why limit it to such familiar territory? There's a whole galaxy to explore. It would provide an opportunity for Guerrilla to make Killzone 3 as varied a game as possible, while keeping that unmistakeable, gritty warfare experience Killzone 2 perfected.
7. A third faction
Well why not? The introduction of a third faction would certainly add spice to the ISA versus Helghast conflict, one that's raged for three games now. It's about time we saw something different, not only in terms of plot but also in terms of enemy type. The Helghast are great, don't get us wrong. We love them in fact. But a dramatic invasion from a mysterious force wouldn't rub us the wrong way. In fact, it gets us very excited indeed. Whose side are they on? What technology do they bring? What weapons have they got? What colour are their eyes? And here's another idea, just for fun. Why not make them playable? Ooooh.
6. Genre-bending ideas
If there's one thing we're hoping Guerrilla does with Killzone 3, it's come up with some ideas that have never been seen or experienced in first-person shooter games before. One of the criticisms from some quarters of Killzone 2 was that it did nothing new, that it relied too much on tried and trusted FPS conventions and, as a result, didn't feel fresh enough. We didn't completely subscribe to that theory, but we reckon Guerrilla will be aware of what's been said, and will be keen to silence the critics. We have no idea what it'll do to take the FPS genre into such uncharted territory - we're not games developers! But we do know the pressure's on Guerrilla to come up with the odd genre-bending idea. Over to you lads.
5. Fully destructible environments
A natural evolution of the series would be to make everything that you'd want to be able to destroy, destructible. Yes, we know this would probably be pushing the PlayStation 3 to its outer limits, but that's what we want. If Guerrilla demonstrated one thing with Killzone 2, it was its ability to get more graphically out of Sony's "next-gen" powerhouse than perhaps any other studio in the world. In Killzone 3, instead of being able to tear apart a column, exposing electrical cabling underneath, we want to raze it to the ground, and bring down the building in the process. Hear a Helghast soldier skulking about on the floor above, dust falling in front of your eyes as his heavy boots pound the floorboards? Shoot him through the ceiling. Hear the chatter of two Helghast behind the wall you're hugging? Blow a hole through it and their skin. Other games already do this. There's no reason why Killzone 3 can't too.
4. Big open levels
Killzone 2 wowed with its realistic portrayal of gritty urban warfare: fighting constrained by city streets, dark alleys and the very homes of the locals. For Killzone 3 we'd love to see bigger levels that allow you to spread your creative wings and flex those little grey cells. We're not talking open world here - other first-person shooters, like Far Cry 2 and Crysis, do an admirable job of that. Nor are we talking about dumping the claustrophobic feel of city warfare Killzone 2 so superbly simulated. We're talking about choice and variation. Instead of entering a new area, finding cover, fighting till everything's dead, then rinsing and repeating, we'd love Killzone 3 to allow us to utilise more than our trigger fingers and unquestioned hand eye coordination when dealing with the enemy. How about scouting enemy positions? How about setting up diversions? How about carefully coordinated flanking and pincer attacks? How about stealth missions? How about spotting a holed up Helghast half a mile away and sniping him in between the eyes? It's all possible, and it would make Killzone 3 even better than Killzone 2.
3. A genuine moral dilemma
The potential is there, hidden underneath Killzone's expletive-ridden dialogue and juvenile machismo, for Guerrilla to make a statement of some intelligence with its universe. Think about it. The Helghast are an enemy of the ISA's own making. They are a people driven to the brink by their harsh surroundings. Their dictator leader might simply have been a man misunderstood, a man trying to do what's best for his people. With the ISA now in tatters and the Helghast still fighting for their lives, Killzone 3 presents an opportunity missed with Killzone 2. How about posing proper moral dilemmas? How about asking the player to make difficult decisions in between headshots? How about forcing the player to answer questions with no obvious right or wrong answers? How about letting the player decide what side he or she fights for? The ISA Helghan conflict is a virtual metaphor for much of the real world's current disputes, but you'd never know it. With Killzone 3, Guerrilla can change that.
2. A Helghast campaign
That's right, we said a Helghast campaign. Let's be honest, the ISA and its soldiers aren't the most memorable of characters. It's not like you really care for them. And, actually, it's the Helghast, with their emotive red eyes, gas mask-altered cockney voices and incredibly realistic hit animations and AI that steal the show. So what we really want is more of them, not the generic marine Sev and the ISA. What we really want is a Helghast campaign that shows things from their point of view: an existence dogged by hardship and endless conflict, and reveals the uncomfortable truth behind their origin. This campaign, along with an ISA campaign, could be weaved into each other, perhaps even meeting at some point towards the end. Think Halo 2 but better.
We can't think of any one thing that would make the core Killzone experience better than co-operative play. We're not just talking about two-player split-screen here, either. We want a full-on four-player co-op campaign, playable online over PlayStation Network. Imagine being able to co-ordinate flanking attacks against the Helghast, or indeed against the ISA, with your mates via a headset - two players could lay down suppressive fire while the others inch their way towards the enemy's vulnerable sides. Imagine having two players driving two separate vehicles, the other two manning weapons. Imagine a Gears of War 2 Horde-inspired mode, except with 16 players working together to survive the waves of Helghast? Co-op play would open up Killzone 3's options immeasurably. Make it happen Guerrilla, and we'll love you forever.
What ideas have you got for Killzone 3? Let us know in the comments section below.