Written by: Thomas King
CAUTION: This is just one gamers opinion, after having been a gamer for 23 years, all of the evidence and with the advent of their newest IP…this is my conclusion. That being said, let us have a constructive and difficult conversation.
Naughty Dog has been the undisputed champion of Sony, and quite possibly of all gaming for nearly a decade now. This company has created some of the most influential and highest rated games of the modern era. There has always been one constant though, regardless of the efforts of the rest of Sony’s stable, nobody has been able to touch their greatness. With the beginning of 2017 we may have just been witness to the rise of another legendary developer – Guerrilla Games.
In 2017 , Guerrilla Games blessed us with the amazing game: Horizon: Zero Dawn. The open world game pit our protagonist Aloy against an army of robot dinosaurs and vicious humans alike. The world that was crafted for us was a unique experience that had us all fully immersed and lost in time. We all know just how great this game was, critics and players alike found it to be such a huge departure from what Guerrilla had previously made. That is what we should really be focusing on here, Killzone was a series that was on the opposite side of the spectrum. An FPS that focused on single player, but was largely pushed to be the multiplayer competition to Halo and Call of Duty. There were many differing opinions on Killzone, personally I thought it was a very good series that was very enjoyable yet, never reached its full potential.
Guerrilla had been tasked with making this game for years, on many different consoles and something was never exactly right about it. It was made clear by both Sony and the developer that Guerrilla was done with Killzone. In a Playstation Lifestyle article it was stated that Guerilla had even put aside multiple other projects and ideas to pursue Horizon.
By all accounts, I would say that Guerrilla made the right decision. Horizon was given the full on Sony golden boy treatment, massive marketing pushes, Shuhei Yoshida had taken it as a public lover, the two biggest Sony fanboys (Colin Moriarty & Greg Miller) announced it the next great Sony series and at PSX 2016 it was given the biggest corner next to Gran Turismo and even allowed the bots to roam free during all press events. The full court press was on and it was evident from the beginning that this game would bring a fresh new dominating face to the PS4 platform. Four months after its initial release and enjoying a beautifully comfortable score of 89 on Metacritic, it is clear that Horizon is here to stay. The story was incredible, open world was immersive and full of life, combat was varied and solid, yet still has room to improve despite its already high level of achievements. Let’s not dwell on the precision and greatness of Horizon because this is not a review, let us talk about how Guerrilla’s approach to game development has completely changed.
Buckle up kids because this is about to turn into technological soft core porn very quickly. The Decima Engine is the reason GG (Guerilla Games) WILL be the next legendary developer. A few quick tech facts about Decima before we get into the meat of it all. Decima was a gaming engine created in 2013 and is capable of developing artificial intelligence, physics, logics and worlds within development. Its most astonishing factor is that it can develop games in HDR, 4K and VR – Decima is capable of creating a breadth of varying games across a multitude of genres and methods. They have used it in the creation of Killzone: Shadowfall, Until Dawn, RIGS and Horizon. This demonstrates that not only did Guerrilla finally make a new engine, but they have clearly become a developer that can change the landscape of gaming with just a couple years of development. Guerrilla has not made a new engine since the first iteration of Killzone all the way back in the lovely year of 2004. Just a quick bit of random and unrelated gaming trivia for you all, 2004 was the last time NBA Live was relevant…ok and we are back to reality. Decima is a game changing engine that can properly pull off the open world of Horizon while allowing for intense battles in first and third person.
You know you have built something impressive when industry rockstar Hideo Kojima is utilizing your engine to develop the first game he will release since removing the tumor formerly know as Konami. Kojima has even been throwing high praise at it, in an interview with Kotaku on December 11 th 2016 he was quoted as speaking of Decima as “enables us to go to not only Mars, but even to Jupiter.” The announcement of Kojima using the Decima engine was made at an on stage interview at PSX and at this interview it was made abundantly clear that he had the choice of and developer in Sony’s lineup, the important aspect of that should be the fact that he decided to go with GG instead of Naughty Dog.
This decision speaks volumes about the leaps and bounds GG has taken over the past This upward movement by Guerrilla is the type of move that takes someone from great into legendary status. Most of the games that have been brought to life using the Decima engine have all been received as great or better games, showing off the prowess and growth of a company in such a short time and it is clear that they are only getting better. This to me, is proof that Guerrilla is making great strides at becoming the next Naughty Dog, and mark my words, you are hearing it here first: the next game to come out of Guerrilla Games studio will be a perfect 10.
The full push from Sony and moving up from a decade long franchise, along with praise and use of your new engine by an icon can only mean that you have entered a space of pure genius perfection. Guerrilla Games will be the next dominant studio to come out of Sony’s stable and they may even change the course of gaming history as we know it.