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StA-14 Battle Rifle
Still in service after fifty years, the StA-14 combines the ruggedness and reliability of the assault rifle with the accuracy and range of the sniper rifle. A symbol for the enduring nature of Helghast military ingenuity, it is considered an honor to wield this classic weapon into battle.
- Fires heavy-grain 7.62x51mm HSO rounds
- Distinct range advantage over StA-52 LAR
- Quicker target acquisition than StA-74 PSR
- Perfect for a defensive role from cover
Designing a Future Classic
The accepted classification of weapon types in most present-day military services runs the gamut from pistol, through submachine gun, assault rifle and sniper rifle, to support weapons like the machine gun. But there's an older, lesser-known weapon type that sits between the assault rifle and the sniper rifle. Known as the battle rifle, this saber-toothed forebear of the common assault rifle is much larger, and fires heavier bullets with a bigger charge.
In Killzone 2, the role of the battle rifle was assigned to the StA-14. Intended as a forerunner to other 'Stahl Arms' weapons in the franchise - notably the StA-52 LAR and the brand-new StA-74 PSR sniper rifle - it quickly became obvious that designing the StA-14 was going to be something of a paradox.
"The brief called for a rifle that would seem slightly out of place in a modern military outfit, and more suitable for police or National Guard issue," weapons guru and Senior Visual Artist Roy Postma recalls. "The key to giving the rifle a vintage appearance was to take the new StA-74 PSR, and strip away all the futuristic, modern and specialist touches."
Being specialist sniper features, the scope and cheek pad were first to go. Next, the weapon's 'furniture' - all the hardwearing plastic around the frame - was simplified. "The StA-74 PSR had a modern sniper stock designed to absorb recoil, so we replaced it with a plain stock on the older rifle," Roy adds.
Still not satisfied, Roy turned his attention to the barrel of the weapon. "The StA-74 PSR chambers an enormous round, similar to the 50-caliber weapons of today. But the StA-14 requires a smaller muzzle to accommodate the 7.62mm rounds normally used in military rifles of this type," Roy says. "So, the StA-14 lost the modern muzzle brake and flash suppressor of the sniper rifle, receiving an older-style flash suppression system in return."
Making such design decisions wasn't always a smooth and straightforward process. "I remember handling a weapon that featured a wood-effect Bakelite grip and thinking that it would be particularly effective on the StA-14. Alas, when we put it in-game, it was too difficult to differentiate between actual wood and our faux-wood imitation. Real wood obviously would've been unsuitable for a Helghast design, so we had to remove the Bakelite grip and replace it with the simplified black plastic furniture that you see in the final design."
In the end, creating a predecessor to an existing weapon proved to be every bit as challenging as developing a brand-new weapon from scratch. The final results, however, were well worth the effort. As the pictures above demonstrate, the StA-14 really looks like a classic weapon while retaining the hallmarks of a Helghast design.
In the Field
The StA-14 is a semi-automatic rotating bolt rifle, requiring a pull of the trigger and a short reload pause for each round fired out of its eight-round drum clip. The design of the weapon prioritizes range and accuracy over rate of fire, making it more suited for defensive roles from cover.
If you team up with one or two assault rifle wielders who can provide suppressive fire, the StA-14 becomes particularly devastating. At range, the weapon has a distinct advantage over the M82 or StA-52, although it requires a steady hand. Against snipers, it allows you to snap off flurries of shots, even while relocating. The StA-14 also requires much less time to acquire and service a target than a dedicated sniper rifle.
Be warned, though: In situations where carefully picking your shots is not an option, the StA-14 can become a liability. It doesn't provide the volume of fire required for effective suppression, so it's not suitable for assaulting. Additionally, it lacks the magazine size to defend a position against groups of fast-moving enemies - especially when there are no natural choke points to hold them up...