Killing Floor 2 Coming to Steam Early Access with Massive Evisceration and Trauma
Back in January, a mishap with the Steam Stats page lead to behind-the-scenes look at several non-public games being played by developers and testers. Many of them wound up being legit, such as Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate HD and BattleBlock Theater; and now you can add Killing Floor 2 to the list. Today, PC Gamer announced that Killing Floor 2 is indeed real, providing an exclusive first look at the co-op FPS, zed-slaying gorefest.
The original Killing Floor started as mod for Unreal Tournament 2004 in 2005, eventually getting a retail release in 2009. As of 2014, Killing Floor has sold nearly 2.5 million copies. Tripwire Interactive president and co-founder John Gibson explains that "[Killing Floor 2] is the first time we've been able to develop a game from start to finish with what I would call a reasonable size staff and a reasonable size budget." A lot of that budget has been put toward developing the most complicated gore system in gaming, which Tripwire calls MEAT, for Massive Evisceration and Trauma. Each zed has 95 death animations divided between five kill zones: head, neck, chest, stomach, and limbs. Tripwire is also "using some really clever tricks to modify textures in the level in real time," allowing the studio to literally paint textures with blood at almost no additional rendering cost and leaving it for the entire match. In addition, Tripwire hired a mocap expert to capture "3,000 motion capture clips for the zeds, and melee attacks, and gun reloads."
Of course, it wouldn't be a Killing Floor game if there weren't perks (KF's version of classes), and the sequel is expanding upon that in a big way. Whereas the first game had a level cap of six, the sequel's level cap is a whopping 25. Raising the cap has allowed Tripwire to provide players with more variety, choices, and reasons to keep playing. Two skills unlock every five levels, of which only one can be equipped from each pair. Not surprisingly, there's a tradeoff to every selection, with PC Gamer listing one such example: "The Commando has to choose between a damage boost and a skill that shows his entire team the zeds' health bars." The number of perks has also increased from seven to ten, at least for the time being. Each perk has four primary weapons that can be purchased, along with "backup melee weapons and 'sidegrades' that won't ruin game balance."
If the new level cap, perks, and skills weren't enough, Tripwire has also reworked how difficulty settings work. In the first game, higher difficulties simply meant zeds moved faster and could soak up more damage. In the sequel, "zeds become more aggressive and gain new abilities." Perhaps best of all, Tripwire hasn't forgotten its roots: the mod community. Art director David Hensley explains that, "Every system that we make we're looking at how to make it extensible to modders." This means that not only will Killing Floor 2 support Steam Workshop for mods, but Tripwire will also release a mod SDK. Everything from gore effects to new attacks will be moddable.
A release date has not been stated, but Tripwire has made it clear that it wants the feedback of the fans still playing Killing Floor so many years after release, so it will be coming to Steam Early Access first. PC Gamer also announced that the US print edition #254 (July 2014) will include a free Steam code for a Killing Floor 2 "Dosh" character skin, which will be immediately redeemable, but obviously not available until the game releases.