Long before loot boxes and horse armour, there was a different kind of gaming scandal engaging forum goers: was the Killzone 2 reveal trailer real or not? E3 2005 was a different time for the industry, with Sony’s hubris about to bite it in the buttocks, and the whispers behind-the-scenes were that the PlayStation 3 was a bit of an over-engineered mess. But we’re all suckers for pretty graphics, and Guerrilla Games really brought out the big guns with the first footage of the sequel to its sci-fi series.
Naturally, none of it was real.
To be fair to Guerrilla, it had no idea Sony was even going to show the clip on-stage – it was created as an internal target render, designed to showcase what the Dutch studio believed it could achieve on next-gen hardware. In fact, at the time, Killzone 2 wasn’t even planned for the PS3 – it was going to be a PS2 title. But that didn't stop the Japanese giant from introducing the target render as real-time footage.
“We were watching this back home, going, ‘No!’” producer Angie Smets told NoClip in a brilliant new Horizon: Zero Dawn documentary. “What did he just say? It’s not true! Then we figured, nobody will believe that, because it's obvious that it’s all [pre]-rendered. Then we went online, and we found that lots of people believed it.”
Fortunately, the firm eventually came good with Killzone 2, arguably surpassing the target render with the final product in 2009. And the developer’s gone on to become one of the most technically proficient outlets in the industry, continuously pushing the envelope – as evidenced by its new Decima Engine, which is being leveraged by Death Stranding.
It’s nice to know the truth at last, though, eh? The mid-2000s must have been a crazy time at Sony headquarters.