PlayStation Studios Spotlight: Guerrilla Games

By Kes Eylers-Stephenson,
Guerrilla Games is one of PlayStation Studios' newest stars. This is the one-stop shop for all things Guerrilla Games: history, projects, recent news, and a rating.

Update Log:
17/02/22 — Full overhaul of history, projects, and news
If you want to see where Guerrilla Games ranks amongst the other Sony first-party developers and find out more information about the other teams, check out our PlayStation Studios Hub Page.

Guerrilla Games overview

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Originally starting out as Lost Boys in 2000, Guerrilla Games is a Dutch studio that was bought by Sony in 2005. As Lost Boys, the team developed Dizzy's Candy Quest and Rhino Rumble in 2001, as well as Black Belt Challenge and Invader in 2002, for the Game Boy Advance. The team became Guerrilla Games and moved to console development for 2004's Shellshock: 'Nam 67 for PC, PS2, and Xbox.

However, it was really the success of Killzone (also released in 2004 for PS2) that persuaded Sony Interactive Entertainment to acquire the lowland developers. The FPS was set in a dystopian future where the Earth had splintered into two factions: the Vektan-based Interplanetary Strategic Alliance (ISA) and the Helghan Empire from Helghast. The isometric twin-stick shooter Killzone: Liberation came to PSP in 2006 and became famed as one of the best games for the system. Guerrilla Games became a Killzone machine, pumping out then-spectacular-looking Killzone 2 in 2009 after a few years away from console development, before releasing Killzone 3 in 2011 on PS3. The PS4 era kicked off with the underrated Killzone: Shadow Fall in 2013 that really highlighted a new era of graphics.

Also released in 2013, we here at TT think that the PS Vita game Killzone: Mercenary is one of the best handheld games ever made, developed by a subsidiary studio, Guerrilla Cambridge. This team was called SCE Studio Cambridge from 1997 until 2012, when it was rebranded into a Guerrilla sister studio, and had developed many games across PlayStation platforms. This subsidiary team would go on to develop the very good RIGS: Mechanised Combat League for PlayStation VR in 2016 before being closed after years of instability in 2017.

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Guerrilla Games proper would go on to develop a new franchise called Horizon. It started on PS4 with Horizon Zero Dawn in 2017. It was a really strong debut for the Dutch team as the maker of a third-person open-world game after years of first-person shooters. In Horizon Zero Dawn dystopia returns. This time, there is fallout from societal stupidity in a post-post-apocalypse where humanity has been rebooted after an extinction event. As Aloy, a clone of a genius scientist from the "Old World," you will fight big robot dinosaurs and try and get a terraforming process back on track in order to save Earth. We gave it an impressive 10/10 in our Horizon Zero Dawn review, praising it for its world-building, story, stunning visuals, and free-flowing combat. The game is regarded as an essential PS4 title by us here at TT, and indeed by many others. A huge expansion was released in 2017, called The Frozen Wilds. The sequel is called Forbidden West and was released for PS5 and PS4 in 2022.

The team is also incredibly involved in the tech side of PlayStation Studios with the in-house Decima engine, as well as development outreach. Guerrilla worked with Kojima on Death Stranding for release in 2019, and it would seem that Kojima Productions repaid the favour by helping with Horizon Forbidden West. Guerrilla also helped get Housemarque up and running with Returnal for release on PS5 in 2021. Amsterdam has even become the home of a second Polyphony Digital team so it can be close to Guerilla Games.

Guerrilla's previous project: Horizon Forbidden West (2022)

horizon forbidden west

It took five years to develop and release, but the sequel to Horizon Zero Dawn was worth the wait. In our Horizon Forbidden West review Kes praised to game to the high heavens for its good looks and deep story, with its atmosphere proving to be exceptional on PS5. The combat was fun, fluid, fast-paced, with the satisfaction of taking down huge animal-themed robots still proving to be a highlight. The open-world occasionally veered into the over-saturated territory that Zero Dawn struggled with too, and a few narrative beats didn't hit the mark, but everything else was there. This is roughly on the critical mark too, with OpenCritic giving it an 89 overall score and saying 94% of critics would recommend it.

Guerrilla's current project: Horizon Call of the Mountain

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Horizon is expanding into PS VR2 territory with Horizon Call of the Mountain. Fellow PlayStation studio Firesprite is leading development, with Guerrilla joining for the latter stages of development for a supposed release of 2022. The only further news about the project is that it will allegedly "change what AAA means for VR."

Guerrilla in 2022

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Guerrilla released its tentpole PlayStation title Horizon Forbidden West on February 18th, 2022. Outside of the sequel, things have been slow. The closest we have come to interesting industry news was the hiring of talented devs from the first-person shooter scene back in 2019. This suggests a potential tactical shooter is in the pipeline after Horizon, returning the studio back to its Killzone roots for a project. Perhaps a re-emergence of that IP is in the works?

This was backed by a later report of job listings that required a developer familiar with online systems and live service titles. However, the news of Guerrilla hiring a member of staff to deal with external Horizon projects has shaken up the works by suggesting the IP is now being expanded on, with Guerrilla at the centre. One such rumour suggests that the aforementioned multiplayer project could be Horizon themed.

Where does Guerrilla rank?

Guerrilla Games had an immense impact during the PS4 generation and has kick-started the PS5's life with another bang with Horizon Forbidden West. Killzone is in the back pocket, the team is leading the charge on new IP with Horizon going from strength to strength, and it has helped Kojima Productions, Polyphony Digital, and Housmarque. By the Old Ones, the studio even produced Hermen Hulst — Head of PlayStation Studios. Guerrilla is an epicentre for PlayStation in Europe, which can't be overstated. This studio is at the top of the Gold pile for us, there is no doubt. However, it hasn't yet made an outright generation-defining game that is clearly out of this world like our two Platinum Studios: Naughty Dog and Insomniac. The team is, no doubt, becoming iconic and we won't be able to hold them back from the top tier for long if Horizon Forbidden West becomes a huge hit and Call of the Mountain is indeed revolutionary for VR. We can't wait for more!


Great games already notched for the studio and primed to make more

If you want to see where Guerrilla Games ranks amongst the other Sony first-party developers and find out more information about the other teams, check out our PlayStation Studios Hub Page.
Kes Eylers-Stephenson
Written by Kes Eylers-Stephenson
Editor Kes is our resident expert in PlayStation and other gaming news. He writes about exclusives like The Last of Us and God of War, PS Plus news, and his favourite games — The Witcher, Assassin’s Creed, and explosive racers — before an evening swim.
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