Paris is burning. The sky behind the Eiffel Tower glows an ominous orange through a haze of billowing smoke. Sparks and ash and scraps of paper float through the dark streets of the city, where cars and offices stand eerily abandoned.
A manhole opens. For a moment, nothing happens. And then a zed, a naked genetic freak sheathed in slimy grey skin, pops out of the hole like a horrorshow jack-in-the-box. The zed has the mind of a child. It doesn't know much, but it knows it wants to kill.
The zed manages two steps from the manhole before a stream of bullets blast it off its feet. More bullets tear into it in midair, splattering blood across the street and unburdening its gut of a generous helping of internal organs. Everyone in the dark conference room at Tripwire Interactive laughs or oohs as they watch the most complicated gore system in gaming—a gore system they've been building for Killing Floor 2 for the past two years—eviscerate the zed in a way they've never quite seen before.
Since shipping World War II FPS Red Orchestra 2 in 2011, Tripwire has dedicated itself to the sticky art of digital dismemberment for the sequel to 2009's co-op wave-based shooter. They want each and every exploded brain, severed leg and bloody gutshot to look unique. Bill Munk, creative director and senior animator at Tripwire, has a saying: Red Orchestra is realism. Killing Floor is coolism.
"Killing Floor is a simple game," says Munk. "You have weapons. You see something that looks messed up. And you kill it. You get money for doing it and you buy better weapons. Rinse and repeat. The more enjoyable that small little loop is, the more successful the game is."
Munk is one of Tripwire's co-founders. He couldn't hide his enthusiasm for games if he tried; over dinner, he gushes about how he played a borrowed copy of Metal Gear Solid in his college dorm for an entire weekend, substituting caffeine for sleep. When Munk talks about Killing Floor 2, most of his sentences end with "as sick as possible."
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