Killzone: Mercenary

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Killzone: Mercenary
European Cover Art
Developer(s) Guerrilla Cambridge
Publisher(s) Sony Computer Entertainment
Composer(s) Walter Christian Mair
Series Killzone
Engine Modified in-house engine, Havok (game physics)
Platform(s) PlayStation Vita
Release date(s)
  • EU 4 September 2013
  • JP 5 September 2013
  • UK 6 September 2013
  • NA 10 September 2013
Genre(s) First-person shooter
Mode(s) Single-player, online multiplayer
Distribution Download, PlayStation Vita card
In-game screenshot of the singleplayer campaign mode, depicting the HUD layout.

Killzone: Mercenary is a first-person shooter video game for the PlayStation Vita, released in September 2013. Developed by Guerrilla Cambridge, it is the second hand-held title in the Killzone series of video games, and fifth overall. It is the first installment to not be developed by Guerrilla Games directly. It is also the first game in the series not to have Joris de Man as composer of the soundtrack, instead leaving Walter Christian Mair as composer.

Taking place throughout key events and locations of the first three installments of the Killzone franchise, Mercenary follows the story of Arran Danner, a mercenary hired by the ISA.

Mercenary was met with positive critical reception for its quality as a portable-console first person shooter following the mixed-to-negative reception given to previous FPS titles Resistance: Burning Skies and Call of Duty: Black Ops – Declassified. Praise was given out to the game's controls and visuals, while criticism was aimed at its story and campaign length.



Killzone: Mercenary takes place on the planets Vekta and Helghan, locked in an interstellar war. The game is set in between Killzone 2 and Killzone 3 and revisits many of the key events of Killzone, Killzone: Liberation, and Killzone 2 from the perspective of Arran Danner, a mercenary hired to execute operations for the ISA. He is supplied by mysterious weapons dealer Blackjack, and is aided at times by his boss Anders Benoit.


The game starts with Danner, Benoit, and his partner Ivanov arriving in the Vektan city of Diortem on a mission to rescue ISA Admiral Alex Grey from Helghast forces. Danner and Ivanov fight their way through a skyscraper where she is being held. They witness Helghast Colonel Kratek attempting to execute her, but manage to extract her safely. The two then make their way to a downed Helghan cruiser attempting to escape with stolen ISA weapons technology, and Ivanov sacrifices himself to destroy the ship.

Several years later the theater of war shifts to Helghan, the Helghast home planet. Danner disables the Arc Cannon system in order to open a window for invading ISA forces. He then attempts to rescue the Vektan Ambassador and his family, however they are killed in the crossfire save for their son Justus, while a Helghast scientist and defector named Savic escapes in the chaos.

Danner cuts through a nearby city in search of Savic, rescuing him from the Helghast. Savic reveals that he had created a weaponized virus capable of wiping out the entire population of either planet, and fled due to his conscience. He rendered it inert before defecting, with the key to reactivating it lying inside Justus.

After extracting Justus and Savic to safety, Danner moves to a nearby reactor complex to cut the power to the remaining air defenses. However as he destroys the reactors, Benoit cuts him off and leaves him for dead. Kratek overhears this and retrieves Danner, revealing Grey was planning to use the virus to finally wipe out the entire Helghast population.

Kratek has Danner return to the Embassy with a Helghast commando team and obtain the codes to the virus' vault from Savic, who was being held prisoner there. He can then choose to leave Savic or execute him.

Danner then boards the mobile facility where the virus is held, destroying the virus and obtaining a sample for Kratek, killing Grey in the process. However, the explosives used to destroy the virus also cause the ship to veer off course. Blackjack, Danner's arms dealer, reveals that Benoit intends to take over the private military company that hired Danner and monopolize the industry. He also informs Danner that Kratek intended to betray him as well and seize the completed virus for himself.

Danner finds Justus on the ship, as Gray had brought him along to complete the virus. He escapes through Kratek's forces and makes his way to the flight deck, where he sees Benoit killing Kratek with the intention of seizing the virus and selling it on the black market. As the Helghan capital of Pyrrhus is destroyed in a nuclear blast, Danner kills Benoit and several of his mercenaries after a protracted fight.

Blackjack erases Danner and Justus' identities as they flee to safety. In the closing sequence, he remarks that he profited off the sale of anti-radiation medication in the wake of the nuclear detonation.


For the first time in a Killzone campaign, players will be fighting alongside Helghast forces as well as ISA specialists, carrying out missions that regular soldiers cannot. As a mercenary, players are free to decide which tactics and load outs they will use to fulfill their contract; employers will reward players with money if successfully completed.[1] The game utilizes the PS Vita's touch screen and rear touch panel.[2]


At Gamescom 2012, it was revealed that the title is Killzone: Mercenary.[1] The game utilizes a modified version of the Killzone 3 rendering engine, allowing volumetric lighting and smoke, high-res environment textures, gleaming metal, and realistic-looking shadows.[3] It is slated for a September 2013 release.[1] Unlike the previous Killzone installments, Mercenary was not developed by Guerrilla Games, but instead, their sister studio, Guerrilla Cambridge (formerly SCE Cambridge Studio).[4] In comparison to previous installments, Mercenary will apparently offer "the series’ biggest weapon loadout yet". Due to the larger weapon loadout, it accommodates a wider variety of play styles than in past Killzone games. Because of the refined damage model, the weapons apparently "feel slightly more powerful" than those in previous installments.[3]

Sign-ups for the multiplayer closed beta began on 12 July 2013. Candidates had until 17 July to sign-up. The beta will provide players with a diverse range of weapons, grenades, armor, and special VAN-Guard devices enabling them to customize their multiplayer load-out slots. This customization supports the tactical element of the game; allowing players to go in like a tank, or take a more precise approach and assassinate enemies stealthily.[5]

The digital copy of the retail release game spans 2.7GB, to match with the constraints of the PS Vita game card; on top of this, a post-release day one v1.01 patch adds another 1.2GB worth of contents to the game, bringing the total game size to 4GB at release.[6][7]


Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings 77.09%[8]
Metacritic 78/100[9]
Review scores
Publication Score
Edge 6/10[11]
Eurogamer 8/10[14]
Famitsu 9/8/9/8 [34/40][13]
IGN 8.0/10[10]
Joystiq 3.5/5 stars[12]
Official PlayStation Magazine (UK) 7/10[15]
Push Square 8/10[16]

Killzone: Mercenary has received generally positive reviews[17] with an aggregate Metacritic score of 78/100.[9] It managed to highly exceed the first two PS Vita first person shooters, Call of Duty: Black Ops Declassified and Resistance: Burning Skies, which both received fairly negative reviews. The game sold 11,053 copies in Japan within the first week of release. IGN called it "the best portable shooter ever made". TheSixthAxis stated "there’s no other experience like this on a device as small as this".[18][19] It received the 1st Place 2013 PlayStation Vita Game of the Year Award.


  1. ^ a b c Hulst, Herman (14 August 2012). "Watch the GamesCom Trailer for Killzone: Mercenary". PlayStation.Blog. Sony Computer Entertainment America. Retrieved 14 August 2012. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b Shuman, Sid (8 March 2013). "Killzone: Mercenary: Cash is King". PlayStation.Blog. Sony Computer Entertainment America. Retrieved 9 March 2013. 
  4. ^ Zuylen, Victor (24 December 2012). "Happy Holidays from Guerrilla Games!". PlayStation.Blog. Sony Computer Entertainment America. Retrieved 24 December 2012. 
  5. ^ Green, Mark (12 July 2013). "Killzone: Mercenary Closed Multiplayer Beta: Sign-Ups Now Live". PlayStation.Blog. Sony Computer Entertainment America. Retrieved 12 July 2013. 
  6. ^ KILLZONE: MERCENARY, Sony Entertainment Network Japan. Retrieved 5 September 2013. Quote: "『KILLZONE: MERCENARY』パッチ1.01による大容量アップデートに関するご注意。本タイトルにおきましては、本編のデータ容量の他に1.2GB以上のアップデートパッチの配信を予定しています。本編データ、セーブデータ、パッチを含めると4GBを超えることを予定しておりますので、ダウンロード版の本編をお遊びいただくには、8GB以上のメモリーカードが必要です。ダウンロード容量:2728MB"
  7. ^ 2013-09-04, Killzone: Mercenary Has a 1.1GB Day One Patch, IGN
  8. ^ "Killzone: Mercenary". GameRankings. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 4 September 2013. 
  9. ^ a b "Killzone: Mercenary Critic Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 4 September 2013. 
  10. ^ 2013-09-05, Killzone: Mercenary Review, IGN
  11. ^ "Killzone: Mercenary Review". Edge Online. Future Publishing. 4 September 2013. Retrieved 4 September 2013. 
  12. ^ Cavalli, Earnest (4 September 2013). "Killzone Mercenary review: Hired gun". Retrieved 6 September 2013. 
  13. ^ 2013-08-28, Killzone: Mercenary & Puppeteer score big in Famitsu, this week’s scores here, VG247
  14. ^ 2013-09-04, Killzone: Mercenary - Test, Eurogamer
  15. ^ 2013-09-04, Killzone: Mercenary PS Vita review – stunning Vekta graphics can’t save Guerrilla’s missed opportunity, Official PlayStation Magazine UK
  16. ^ Barker, Sammy (4 September 2013). "Killzone: Mercenary Review". Push Square. Nlife. Retrieved 4 September 2013. 
  17. ^ 2013-09-04, Killzone: Mercenary reviews drop – get all the scores, VG247
  18. ^ 2013-09-11, Media Create Sales: 9/2/13 – 9/8/13, Gematsu
  19. ^ 2013-09-11, 「うたの☆プリンスさまっ♪MUSIC2」6万8000本,「スプリンターセル ブラックリスト」合計2万7000本などが登場した「週間販売ランキング+」, 4gamer

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