There’s a certain beauty to chaos. Some games encourage you to work together for the sake of winning but others – like the original Killing Floor – wanted you to be overwhelmed and outright destroyed. Surviving meant an exceptional amount of skill but dying? Dying meant hilarity and Tripwire Interactive has attempted to further build on this aspect with Killing Floor 2. Along with adding new areas, new weapons and new bosses, Killing Floor 2 wants you to experience failure in an even more grandiose fashion. And the good news is that PC and Linux gamers can do just that now that the game is in Steam Early Access.
GamingBolt had the opportunity to speak to Tripwire Interactive VP Alan Wilson about the game, how the studio has evolved since the release of the first game, future content, working on the PlayStation 4 and much more.
"We loved some - many - of the mods for KF1. Hopefully we've succeeded in making it much easier for the community to add new content to KF2. Left the hooks there in the code for them."
Rashid K. Sayed: Tripwire Interactive has expanded significantly since the launch of the original Killing Floor. How has the methodology and ethos of the studio evolved in that period?
Alan Wilson: We’ve gotten a lot more organized and disciplined. We nearly killed ourselves with the launch of RO2 in 2011 and realized we had to pull in more production management, for a start. But the ethos around creativity and collaborative design hasn’t changed. Perhaps how we apply it has, though.
Rashid K. Sayed: Looking back on the original Killing Floor, what do you think stood out most about it, especially at a time when Left 4 Dead 2 was released?
Alan Wilson: Internally, we joked about it being a game where people “got to blow shit up and look cool while doing it.” It was about tuning that wave mechanic just right so that the players would ramp up to those moments when they are just barely in control, followed by moments of (relative) calm to recover in if you survived. And a part of it was that it was always fun. It’s actually a game where it is almost as much fun to lose, to watch the chaos and mayhem when things go wrong. When you hear people rolling about laughing when it’s all gone horribly wrong and they just wiped out, you know you’ve got something right.
Rashid K. Sayed: How satisfied were you with the mods created for the original Killing Floor? How will Killing Floor 2 expand on mod creation and what will players be capable of tinkering around with?
Alan Wilson: We loved some – many – of the mods for KF1. Hopefully we’ve succeeded in making it much easier for the community to add new content to KF2. Left the hooks there in the code for them. So not just mapping, but character creation, gear – all sorts of things. Go for it.
Rashid K. Sayed: Tell us about the destructibility in the game and how it will figure into players’ strategies this time around?
Alan Wilson: There are a few pieces to discuss. Light is a big one – bullets, grenades, Sirens can all destroy lights, making an area much darker. We’ll be exploring this in future maps! Then there’s the opportunity for destructible walls, windows and so on, opening up new routes for the Zeds. Doors welded shut are now “destructible” in that they don’t magically re-create themselves each wave – choose carefully how you use up doors. They are a valuable resource.
"The base issue was getting Unreal Engine 3 running on the platform. A lot of the base work had been done before, that we could pick up - but we've had to do a lot of engine-level work to get it all functioning."
Rashid K. Sayed: Could you tell us more about some of the weapons in Killing Floor 2? We’re especially curious about ideas for new weapons that could emerge somewhere down the line.
Alan Wilson: No – that would spoil the surprise!
Rashid K. Sayed: Many projects these days, such as The Forest and Wasteland 2, are being updated to Unity 5 years into their development. Given Killing Floor 2’s Unreal Engine 3 base, do you see yourselves shifting to Unreal Engine 4 somewhere down the line?
Alan Wilson: Put simply – no. We’ve invested more than 6 years of studio time into the engine as it now stands. No reason to shift!
Rashid K. Sayed: On that note, we’ve seen projects like The Vanishing of Ethan Carter shift to Unreal Engine 4 specifically for its PS4 release. Could that happen with Killing Floor 2?
Alan Wilson: Again, no. Same reason!
Rashid K. Sayed: There are currently 3 non-linear maps for Early Access users. When can users expect more maps and what kind of content timeline have you planned for supporting Killing Floor in the coming year?
Alan Wilson: We’re not going to go promising on the timeline, but there’s plenty more to come – and it’ll start soon. Certainly more maps, perks, weapons to come over the next few months.
Rashid K. Sayed: Compared to developing on the PC, what are your thoughts on bringing Killing Floor 2 to the PS4? Was there a significant difference in architecture that took getting used to?
Alan Wilson: The base issue was getting Unreal Engine 3 running on the platform. A lot of the base work had been done before, that we could pick up – but we’ve had to do a lot of engine-level work to get it all functioning. Once we get past all of that, its “just” shifting from CP with mouse and keyboard, to a console with controller – and all the design changes that drives for the new platform.
Rashid K. Sayed: Killing Floor 2 is currently a console exclusive on the PS4. Is there a specific reason why the game won’t launch on the Xbox One?
Alan Wilson: Oh, it most likely will. Just that Sony were far easier to work with, had been on the ball for a long time, helping us along. And Microsoft didn’t. So it goes to PS4 first (and exclusively).
"Well, having only one target does make things much simpler. We only have to test on one machine. On the PC, we build multiple min-spec machines and test on them. "
Rashid K. Sayed: Having said that, what are your thoughts on bringing Killing Floor 2 to the Xbox One somewhere down the line?
Alan Wilson: Highly probable.
Rashid K. Sayed: The game is currently in Steam Early access. How do you think this will shape the final retail launch of the PC version? Furthermore, do you have a release date locked in for the PS4 and PC versions?
Alan Wilson: As we’ve said all along, really – balance, the fine nuance and detail of the gameplay. We’re already (3 days in) getting a ton of useful feedback. So, no, the release date isn’t locked in. When it’s ready!
Rashid K. Sayed: Will Killing Floor 2 run at 1080p and 60fps on the PS4?
Alan Wilson: It’s a TARGET. Will we achieve it? Don’t know – but we’ve already got the game running on a pretty broad spectrum of hardware on the PC.
Rashid K. Sayed: On the PS4, Killing Floor 2 is being developed with only one GPU specification. How does this help in optimization and performance?
Alan Wilson: Well, having only one target does make things much simpler. We only have to test on one machine. On the PC, we build multiple min-spec machines and test on them. And on mid-range machines, with all flavours of CPU and GPU mixes. Makes testing MUCH more complex!
Rashid K. Sayed: Is there anything else you want to tell us before we let you go?
Alan Wilson: I could just tell you to go buy the game, but that would be too obvious. Oh, wait…