The Rise and Fall of Killzone

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The summer of 2003 abounded with talk of Ford’s supposed “Ferrari Killer,” the 2004 GT40. A faster, quicker-to-brake counterpart to the Ferrari 360 Modena, the Ford’s high-performance race car certainly dressed to impress. But a Ford was still a Ford matched against Ferrari. At the same time, another killer of a premiere brand lurked in the shadows, awaiting its chance to pounce on the competition. Sony’s Killzone played terminator in this scenario, its prey the game-changing Halo: Combat Evolved from Bungie and Microsoft.

Months of rumors about the so-called Halo killer generated enough hype to reach a fever pitch before Sony even formally unveiled its new first-person shooter. Premature reports described the game as the perfect cross between Halo and SOCOM; claims of advanced technology, spectacular graphics, and destructible environments heightened the anticipation tenfold. More importantly, PlayStation faithful were thrilled with the prospect of its purported online multiplayer capabilities.

Killzone’s official announcement amplified the anticipation, yet its eventual deployment fell short of the unrealistic expectations. This would ostensibly become the status quo for Killzone going forward—marketing cycles that promised generation-defining experiences but arguably amounted to shooters of the slightly above average variety. In this way, Sony’s flagship FPS series never competed with that of Microsoft’s in a traditional sense. It carved out its own niche, with six adventures launching across a nine-year period. But in the end, Killzone was still Killzone matched against Halo. And it hardly helped that the former battled false advertising claims on more than one occasion.

This is the rise and fall of Killzone.

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