With Killzone 3 revealed (somewhat prematurely) this week, announcements, details and our old friends rumour and speculation have been flying around like nobody's business - but the gushings of journalists can only ever reveal so much.
So while we were at the announcement event in Amsterdam, we took the chance to have a chat to senior producer Steven Ter Heide for some cold, hard facts, an insight into the creative process, and to see if he's been listening to the fans.
As it turns out, that fan feedback is very much at the top of the agenda, alongside a certain control issue. Read on to find out more, and don't forget to check out our Killzone 3 hands-on preview while you're at it.
Eurogamer: Killzone 2 was a huge launch, with tremendous pressure from the press and community. Did you learn anything from it? Will the launch of 3 be similar?
Steven Ter Heide: Well, hopefully not exactly the same! Last time we had that infamous trailer - this time we're doing things properly - showing proper gameplay footage. We have a very vocal community, there's a lot of buzz around the internet. We keep a very close ear to the ground, to see what's out there and see what people think. We implemented a lot of the feedback from the community for Killzone 2, in the patches we applied for things like the controller lag. We're fixing those kind of things even further for Killzone 3 - we feel that responsiveness is a big issue. We can't really judge that on the pre-alpha code because the framerate's not up there, but response is important.
There's a lot of work going on to make sure the controls more responsive, as well as the button layout itself - we've got a lot of new features, like the jetpack, and obviously you need a button to control that. We also need to rethink the button layout, because that was also one of the complaints which people levelled at Killzone 2. People were used to a certain set-up, and Killzone 2 was different. So people were asking for something they were more comfortable with, for more options to configure it.
I think some of the other criticisms had to do with how seamlessly the game played - so any streaming hiccups during gameplay we want to get rid of completely - so much so that we want to completely get rid of any loading screens at all, even between the levels. So you can start up the game and play it right through to the end and never see a loading screen. You can see already, even in this build, that a lot of those problems, the little frame drops, are pretty much gone.
Another criticism was story, we need to improve on that end - we're working with a lot of Hollywood talent.
Eurogamer: There seems to be much less swearing this time!
Steven Ter Heide: (laughs) Yes! Our sound director is here today, we said to him, 'go through the entire database, and anything that's got 'sh**' or 'f***' in it, just get rid of it, we don't want to hear it ever again!
Eurogamer: Still an 18 though?
Steven Ter Heide: Yes, definitely. That's a lot to do with the violence though. Things like the brutal melee system, we're firmly aiming for an 18. But we feel that the dialogue which is in there shouldn't be gratuitous. It should be about advancing the story, natural responses. It shouldn't be this sort of off the scale swearing.
We've toned it down a little bit to make sure that the story comes across in the way we wanted it to come across. That's definitely one of the points we took on board from Killzone 2.