Guerrilla Games is an Amsterdam-based first-party developer for Sony Interactive Entertainment, best known for its Killzone franchise of first- and third-person shooters, and the open-world RPG Horizon Zero Dawn. The studio was founded in 2000 under the name Lost Boys Games, a merger of several small Dutch developers under one banner.
Perhaps more than any other studio under their umbrella, Guerrilla had the most to prove to its funds-provider and eventual owner Sony. The studio quickly became the talk of the gaming industry with the announcement of Killzone exclusively on the PlayStation 2. Killzone shocked pretty much everyone with its then-groundbreaking graphics and gaming publications were quick to hype the game as the "Halo Killer" bound to crush Microsoft's flagship game; it didn't help the studio that Sony contributed to the game's massive hype, which according to Guerrilla was never meant to be designed specifically against Halo.
Surely enough, Killzone failed to meet expectations and received only mildly positive reviews at best (in contrast to Halo 2, which received universal acclaim). Despite this, Killzone was a relative commercial success and the game spawned a dedicated fanbase from then on. Within a year of Killzone's release, Sony acquired Guerrilla Games, and the studio began to work on a sequel.
In 2009, after years of anticipation and doubt, Guerrilla finally released the long-awaited Killzone 2. Killzone 2, despite a minor controversy, received universal acclaim and was more or less Guerrilla's definitive Breakthrough Hit; it holds an average score of 91/100 on Meta Critic, making it one of Sony's most acclaimed games of all time. It was also very commercially successful, selling over a million copies in two months. Guerrilla followed up with two sequels, Killzone 3 in 2011 and Killzone Shadow Fall in 2013, the latter being one of the then-newly released PS4's launch titles.
After almost a decade working on Killzone, Guerrilla unveiled their first IP in 11 years, Horizon Zero Dawn. Released in 2017, Horizon quickly became a smash hit, winning acclaim and gaining high sales within days. Its success helped bringing Guerrilla's reputation to the same levels as its sister-studios Naughty Dog and SCE Santa Monica Studio.
Ever since 2016, Guerrilla formed a strong relationship with Kojima Productions. See also Guerrilla Cambridge, which was their sister-studio until its closure in 2017 and was best known for creating MediEvil.
Video games developed by Guerilla Games:
- Shellshock: Nam '67 (2004)
- Killzone (2004)
- Killzone Liberation (2006)
- Killzone 2 (2009)
- Killzone 3 (2011)
- Killzone: Mercenary (2013; developed by Guerrilla Cambridge)
- Killzone Shadow Fall (2013)
- RIGS: Mechanized Combat League (2017; developed by Guerrilla Cambridge)
- Horizon Zero Dawn (2017)
- Death Stranding (2019; co-developed with Kojima Productions)
- Horizon Forbidden West (2021)
Tropes that apply to Guerrilla Games and its games:
- Breakthrough Hit: Zig-zagged with the first Killzone, which wasn't quite the success it was hyped to be, but nevertheless proved to be ambitious and commercially successful to have Guerrilla be acquired by Sony. Played straight with Killzone 2, which was a massive critical darling and remains their highest-rated game and most beloved Killzone entry, and Horizon Zero Dawn, which gave them an unprecedented amount of recognition even from outlets and players that considered Killzone to be mediocre.
- Death World: Helghan from the Killzone games, and the After the End earth in Horizon Zero Dawn.
- Everything Trying to Kill You: As hinted above, their games are set in worlds where everything wants you dead and the enemies are usually aggressive and unforgiving.
- Grey-and-Gray Morality: Their games rarely depict one side of a conflict as the absolute moral victor.
- Mohs Scale of Sci-Fi Hardness: Usually on the hard end of Science Fiction.
- Nintendo Hard: Their Killzone games are noted to be fairly challenging in comparison to other first-person shooters.
- Scenery Porn: In spades. If there is one thing Guerrilla Games will always received praise for is their incredible production values and stunning art direction that always pushes Sony's consoles to their limits. Their work is so good that Killzone Shadow Fall, a game released during the launch of the PS4 in 2013 is still considered on par with some game releases launching near the end of the console's cycle.
- War Is Hell: All of their games deal with that, particularly the Killzone series in which it is one of the games' most notable themes. They also dip their hands in Forever War. In fact, even the events of their 2017 hit Horizon Zero Dawn stem from malfunctioned weapons meant to futuristic warfare.
- World Building: Guerilla Games absolutely loves creating dense, fascinating settings with elaborate historical events and a thick atmosphere. By Horizon, the studio became well-known for their believable and meticulous settings.