Killzone is a series of first-person shooters set in a couple of post-nuclear colonies on Alpha Centauri.

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Violence: Players wield a variety of real-world and futuristic military weapons to kill enemies. There is a fair amount of blood, particularly upon violent impact.  Killzone: Shadow Fall includes one scene of torture with an electric prod. Mass genocide (of enemies) is committed at the end of Killzone 3, though it is not visually explicit. Killzone 2 includes one scene wherein an injured soldier commits suicide by gun.

Strong Language: The frequency varies from game to game, but strong language is present in all Killzone games. Killzone 3 includes the gendered slur “b**ch” in addition to more general cursing. Killzone 2 contains a particularly large amount of strong language.

Player Interaction: Most of the games have or have had multiplayer components.


Killzone: Mercenary has no mid-level savepoints; if players leave the game and return during a mission, they will have to start the level over. Most other games autosave at certain points.

Story & Themes

Killzone takes place in a post-nuclear setting. Humans have left Sol and colonized the two planets of Alpha Centauri, Helghan and Vekta (though Earth is also still in the picture). While Vekta is a lush and hospitable place, Helghan is the opposite; however, Helghan is rich in resources. Helghan’s residents, who were forced off Vekta centuries ago, have mutated, and can no longer live without gas masks and air processing tanks. They are faster and stronger than normal humans and are no longer considered human. The Helghast despise humanity because of their shared history. The series takes place during an ongoing war between the Helghast and the Interplanetary Strategic Alliance (ISA).

The first game features ISA captain Jan Templar fighting the Helghast with the help of a half-Helghast spy named Hakha. One of the ISA’s generals is a traitor, and Templar must defeat one of his own to ward off the oncoming invasion.

Killzone 2 features a different protagonist, Sergeant “Sev” Sevchenko, on a mission to take Helghan. The inhospitable planet itself is used to attack the ISA forces through the power of nature. Sev’s squad appears to be successful, having killed the Helghast leader—though he’s lost good men—when a huge Helghast fleet shows up to take out the remaining ISA forces at the end of the game.

Killzone 3 again features Sev. He and several members of the ISA forces have been marooned on Helghan, and he is attempting to rescue them. There is political upheaveal in the Helghast government, partly because no party has thus far been unsuccessful in locating the ISA survivors. Meanwhile, Sev discovers that the Helghast have created a powerful explosive weapon that they intend to use on Earth. A weapons manufacturer named Stahl ends up being the winner of the political battle, and sets out to destroy Earth; Sev, rather than allowing him to do so, detonates Stahl’s cruiser. The ensuing blast envelops Helghan, leaving virtually nothing behind.

The newest game in the series, Killzone: Shadow Fall, picks up where Killzone 3 left off. It’s been 30 years, however, and the protagonist is now Lucas Kellen, an orphaned Vektan soldier. Vekta has opened its borders to Helghast refugees, but tensions are boiling over. The game was one of the first games released for the PlayStation 4.

Killzone: Mercenary is a PS Vita exclusive game. It takes place shortly after the events of the first game, but it features a different protagonist. The game is something of a spin-off title, since Guerilla Games wasn’t the primary developer.

Killzone’s main theme is humanity’s willingness to go to war with itself. The games also delve somewhat into racial tensions between the Helghan and Vekta.

The Creators

 Guerilla Games


There was some controversy over the trailer for Killzone 2 when it became clear that what was shown was not gameplay footage, but rather a rendering of what the game could look like on the PS3.

Conversation Starters

  • Do you think the Helghast have the right to be angry at Vekta, even if what happened happened hundreds of years ago?
  • Do you think genocide is ever a legitimate option?
  • Players must take the part of a soldier in this ongoing war, but what if you could play a diplomat or politician? Would you do things differently? How would you try to solve the problems between Vekta and Helghast?

This article was written by

Keezy is a gamer, illustrator, and designer. Her background is in teaching and tutoring kids from ages 9 to 19, and she's led workshops for young women in STEM. She is also holds a certificate in teaching English. Her first memory of gaming is when her dad taught her to play the first Warcraft when she was five. You can find her at Key of Zee and on Twitter @KeezyBees.