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Guerrilla Admits Killzone 2 Shots 'Touched Up' (Updated with Rollover Comparision)

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The latest batch of screenshots from Guerrilla Games' Killzone 2 (PS3) were "only the tiniest bit touched up," claims Guerrilla QA manager Seb Downie.

"There was a little bit of colour-correction done and some minor polish, but nothing major," Downie posted on the official PlayStation forum. "Still very close to reality and it looks better in motion in my opinion. "

Some changes are certainly evident when comparing select scenes from the E3 2007 gameplay trailer to the released screenshots, as demonstrated in this image gallery. However, it is unknown if the difference is due to progress with the game's visuals, post-processing, or a combination of those two factors.

Some form of post-capture image manipulation on screenshots is actually rather common within the games industry, where a variety of factors can cause an image to appear less than optimal, especially several months before release. However, few developers go out of their way to admit the practice.

Downie's admission no doubt cements Killzone 2 as having some of the most-criticized media in the history of gaming. The debut trailer for Killzone 2, shown during Sony's E3 2005 press conference, generated an unbelievable amount of debate as to whether it was real-time or pre-rendered.

The issue was considered settled when, two years later, Guerrilla demonstrated a real-time version of the game that looked impressive, but lacked some of the polish of the earlier movie.

Mouse over the image below for comparison--the first image being the released screenshot, the second a grab from the trailer.

















Chris Faylor was previously a games journalist creating content at Shacknews.

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From The Chatty
  • reply
    December 10, 2007 10:38 AM

    Aren't all promotional screenshots run through a blender of post-production work?

    This is why, in this day and age of youtube/gametrailers/theshack, that screenshots shouldn't be released, as they are always not representative of the game whatsoever. Show us raw alpha/beta/final gameplay and label it as such. I find that to be far more interesting than a static screenshot that 90% of the time is PS'd.

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      December 10, 2007 10:43 AM

      That doesn't sell, unfortunately.

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      December 10, 2007 10:45 AM

      I think its really really really common to touch up screenshots. When you grab a screenshot off say the Xbox, the contrast and brightness is all out of whack so you have to change that to give people an accurate representation of what it will look like. But doing more than that is very common.

    • reply
      December 10, 2007 10:47 AM

      Yes, pretty much all screenshots are touched up in some way. This is a non-story. Move along.

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        December 10, 2007 10:49 AM

        Here is the example.

        http://kotaku.com/gaming/killzone-2/guerilla-confirms-killzone-2-screens-were-touched-up-331733.php

        Would you say this is average for the amount of touch up work most screenshots receive?

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          December 10, 2007 11:03 AM

          Hard to tell without a proper before-after, they may just have added a colored light there between the trailer was made and the screenshot taken.

          Needs higher resolution and proper before-after shots to make a good call.

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        December 10, 2007 10:49 AM

        it is? I don't think gamers feel the same way as people in production. I don't care if the contrast/gamma issues have to be addressed but doing anything else in photoshop is basically lying.

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          December 10, 2007 10:58 AM

          I hate screenshot touch-up (and never do it with shots I release), but I can understand why it happens. Or at least I can understand one slightly optimistic version of why I hope it happens.

          The complete bullshit reliance on screenshots to tell if a game is good or not is totally over the top. Games move all the time and are interactive. A screenshot is a still image which just sits there.

          When things are moving, and you are interacting with them, your brain inevitably fills in a ton more information than what is there frame by frame. Given that that is 100% true, I can see why publishers would want to touch up screenshots to help fill in that gap. The problem is when people go further than that and paint in things that aren't even there, create moments which aren't representational of the game, etc. Plussing up a screenshot go match what your minds eye remembers from when you were actually playing the moving, interactive version of that moment is still super morally questionable, but it's more acceptable to me than outright fabrication.

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            December 10, 2007 11:05 AM

            I recall the unreal tournament 3 pre-release shots, with their uber detailed vehicle effects. Now I only played the demo, but I didn't see any of that. The vehicles just glide along like every other game, none of that scraping across the ground nonsense with sparks. The stupid part is without that junk the game still looks good.

            I don't understand why devs are so edgy about screenshots. It's not like I won't buy a game simply because they had AA turned down or something.

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              December 10, 2007 11:12 AM

              Based on the comments on this site alone (let alone cesspools like GameFAQs or GameSpot's forum) when a less than amazing screenshot is released, I think it's perfectly understandable why devs and publishers obsess over trying to let only immaculate screenshots out.

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        December 10, 2007 10:50 AM

        Oblivion's weren't. Check pre-release and compare, some of them look worse than it does in game (save for that shot of the table....too many items pre-release)

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          December 10, 2007 11:34 AM

          They probably were, you just didn't notice it.

          Shots are pretty much always posed, cropped or gamma corrected. It's really, really hard to get perfect in-game screens. And even harder to get tons of them. You just run out of ideas eventually.

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            December 10, 2007 11:47 AM

            Noticed? Just go download them, type "Oblivion" into google image search and you can still find the shots. I originally thought "is this what we were shown?" after playing and when you compare the two it's exactly the same. You can even recognize locations in some shots.

            Besides, edited out areas or cropping is not the same as a complete fabrication. Look at the comparison shots from earlier in this thread. Thats not acceptable.

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            December 10, 2007 11:52 AM

            oh that is a good point. Screenshots are often posted with characters frozen in an animation and placed. Or get everyone in a multiplayer level and then drive their vehicles over to an area and sit there and wait for a the bombing run to happen and then they all start firing into the air and someone takes screenshots to make it look like an amazing battle is taking place.

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              December 10, 2007 3:15 PM

              Not only that, they set the game to run at insane resolutions, with LOTS of filtering. Remember the 4K lines+ screengrabs from Doom3?

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        December 10, 2007 12:04 PM

        That certainly doesn't make it ok.

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        December 10, 2007 12:31 PM

        I disagree. There are some touch ups that are pretty minor and there are touch ups that totally change the look. The latter is an issue. Just because you are in the biz now instead of just reporting it doesn't mean that you can excuse behaviour that's obviously a little sleezy.

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          December 10, 2007 12:41 PM

          I agree with this... the difference between these two shots is striking

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            December 10, 2007 12:45 PM

            I felt the same way about Halo3's E3 video and the game.

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              December 10, 2007 1:22 PM

              Halo 3, to me, looks better than the media that preceded it. Halo 2, on the otherhand, played to a very similar beat, where it looked much better and seemed to promise more things than what finally landed in our hands.

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              December 10, 2007 1:29 PM

              This video?

              http://ca.youtube.com/watch?v=wXrYSEOg3Ro

              What is misleading in that video? Everything in there could be done in game and a lot of it was.

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                December 10, 2007 5:19 PM

                All do respect but I disagree. The games graphics looked nothing like that movie. What about all the high res shots they released? The game didn't even run at 720p resolution.

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                  December 10, 2007 5:24 PM

                  What I've seen of the game is certainly comparable to what's shown there. I don't really see how you could argue otherwise.

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                    December 10, 2007 5:29 PM

                    Sorry but I don't think the final games graphics came close to that video but perhaps it's just me. I was extremely disappointed when they started releasing screenshots of the game (and then later when I played it.)

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                      December 10, 2007 5:53 PM

                      i think this definitely falls on it just being you. It's a halo game, no doubt, they didn't reinvent the wheel on this one, but if you take the ps3 glasses off and look at the video, which doesnt even show in game action in it at all, as well as the underwhelming E3 presence, and you ACTUALLY play the game, especially in hi def, on a flat panel, and you would most likely think its a damn good looking game. Crysis? no. Arguably not as WOWOMGBBQ as gears. But at the very least its very solid, polished, with great use of land, sea, and air gameplay. And i didn't even like halo 2.


                      and I will be the first to admit it if Killzone is good, even great looking. WHEN IT COMES OUT,

                      • reply
                        December 11, 2007 4:16 AM

                        Please look at my profile -- I'm the opposite of any fanboy on here. I own all 3 systems that are out now -- I've played Halo3 in High Def, on my LCD, and thought it didn't look anything like E3 video (the game didn't even run in an "HD" resolution.). I don't have on PS3 glasses, I just don't hate on it like everyone else does these days. It's kind of like the Duke Nukem jokes -- after 1000 times over and over it just gets old.

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            December 10, 2007 12:53 PM

            striking? It's just a bit of boosted colour and contrast. Something you could do in photoshop in 30 seconds. We're also comparing a compressed avi screengrab to a (modified) high quality screenshot. The compression for the avi alone probably distorts the look of the game more than the actual touch up work.

            This wouldn't even be a story if it was for a less notorious game.

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              December 10, 2007 1:09 PM

              That's not true. That image is very different. The lighting, the color, the sharpness, the quality of the shadows. If you think that's 30 seconds PS work then you really DKWTF.

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                December 10, 2007 1:10 PM

                it's at a different angle, they aren't the same shots and one is retouched, they are3 totally different shots of the same location. god this is stupid.

                • reply
                  December 10, 2007 1:15 PM

                  Oh come on, turn of the PS3 fanboy mode. Are you saying that the scene could change that much in the game? It's a valid comparison of game vs. marketing. If that was Halo people would be screaming for blood.

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                    December 10, 2007 1:17 PM

                    Do you think the Halo3 E3 video was representative of the final game?

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                      December 10, 2007 1:20 PM

                      Which one? Also, I did say that ALL screens (and I guess videos) should have qualifiers.

                  • reply
                    December 10, 2007 1:18 PM

                    The screen shots are retouched, just like 99% of promotional screen shots. The difference is that they admitted it. And many changes could be due to development time. When they showed the version people are comparing here they had just got the game up and running, this was the first time they had a level playable - it stands to reason they'd make some improvementsin the months since then, considering there's over 200 people working on the game. These shots should not be viewed as "before and after" comparisons, because that's not what they are.

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                      December 10, 2007 1:21 PM

                      There's a huge difference between cropping and some gamma correction and changing the whole look. If you can't see that then there is no point even discussing this.

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                        December 10, 2007 1:22 PM

                        THEY AREN'T THE SAME SHOTS. YOU HAVE NO BEFORE IMAGE TO COMPARE BY.

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                          December 10, 2007 1:29 PM

                          As much as he can't say whether or not they are capable of altering old shots or not, you are not in a position, unless you work for guerilla, to say that these aren't the original shots. I could easilly show you how they did what they did with the very same pictures. It's not hard, and at the end of the day, they admitted to some manipulation already. When the game finally comes out, that's when you can say if you were right all along, or jump on the bandwagon tearing it apart for being a disappointment.

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                            December 10, 2007 1:31 PM

                            look at the viewable space on the back wall behind the railing. That's not photoshop. It's at the different angle.

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                              December 10, 2007 1:36 PM

                              I can't tell you that it isn't a new angle, all I can tell you is that working with layers and cropping, resizing, and creative erasing/smudging, I can very easilly do change a screenshot composition in slight way where you think its a new shot. that's all I can say, and for what it's worth, the first 2 shots are different shots, but the last 4 are highly debatable.

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                              December 10, 2007 1:39 PM

                              Have you seen the video on youtube of the guy who changes a picture of an ugly fat girl into an attractive pinup, all with photoshop? Believe nothing you see or read unless it's in front of you playing, Photoshop can change any visual media, especially with CS3 now accepting animation and video natively within it.

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                                December 10, 2007 1:54 PM

                                Ockham's Razor

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                                  December 10, 2007 2:07 PM

                                  It's actually Occam's Razor and I don't see how your explanation is any different than my assertion that it's obviously a touched up screenshot of the same area. Do we know what it looks like in game now? It's a lot more valid to assume that the original game shot is closer to the final product than the bullshot.

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                        December 10, 2007 1:26 PM

                        i am with you on this. this is beyond retouching, and into straight up image manipulation. But for those that don't know photoshop, and how easy it is to realistically alter something and cover your tracks, the pictures are at least doing what the designers intended, which is give hope that the final game will be as pretty as advertised. I just don't think it will be, but I will gladly buy it if it lives up to the hype.

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      December 10, 2007 10:53 AM

      Yep ive worked at other major developers who do this... it was even part of my job for a while:)

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      December 10, 2007 1:21 PM

      [deleted]

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      December 10, 2007 2:18 PM

      I don't know why is this is surprising to anybody. They already basically lied to everyone when they released the first trailer of Killzone 2. Remember how unbelievably amazing that looked, and the entire internet was flipping out about how the PS3 was going to be the next coming of Jesus, the PS3 fanboys had a field day with it. A little bit later its admitted that it was mostly CGI, and the actual game did not look that good. Then some screenshots come out, and they look nowhere near as good as the original trailer, and now the company admits to doing some post-processing work on the screenshots that are being released now, which means they've been doing the same on all the other screenshots.

      Basically it boils down to this: Kill Zone 2 is nothing special, its going to be just another entry in what has become a completely saturated FPS market, and it will probably be a solid, great looking game, but thats about it. The screenshots being released might be photoshoped, but does that really matter? Most companies touch up their shots to begin with (Halo 3 even does it in game when you take the screenshot, right then and there).

      I think it is important to note however, that if a story like this had come out about Bungie and Halo 3, the PS3 fanboys would have been out en mass force trolling the crap out of everything and crying bloody murder because of it.

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      December 10, 2007 2:31 PM

      [deleted]

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        December 10, 2007 2:35 PM

        Don't you mean M$?

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        December 10, 2007 3:18 PM

        Actually, this situation did exist before, it was just called Halo 2, and we didn't know we had been had till we got to the non-ending 5 hours later and collectively said "Hey!? where's the rest of that shit that was in the trailer?" "And wasn't this supposed to look better?"

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