Crytek on Crysis
Far Cry was something of a defining moment for the first-person shooter genre, breaking the action out of the dark corridors of futuristic space craft, and thrusting the player into the lush tropics of French Polynesia. With developer Crytek now enlisted by EA, and working on their next title - Crysis - we sat down with Bernd Diemer (Senior Games Designer) and Dennis Schwarz (Game Designer) to get the lowdown.
We can all see from the downloadable gameplay footage that the graphics and physics are the best seen on PC yet. What element of the game represents the biggest innovation? What will we never have seen before?
Personally, my favorite is the ability to pick up and throw almost every object in the game, including the North Koreans. It puts the player right into the game world when you can see your characters touch and interact with the environment.
The large amount of physicalized items and breakable objects, the advanced lighting and rendering technologies and the highly sophisticated animation system are among the most innovative features in Crysis. Our true-to-life facial animations and the highly destructible environment will set new standards for next-gen games.
Which of the gameplay features or elements is going to make the gaming community sit up and take notice?
The Muscular Nano Suit with its versatile modes and the real-time customization of weapons will give players the ability to adjust their personal play style dynamically throughout the game. Every player will be able to experience Crysis in the way he wants, be it using stealth and sneaking through the undergrowth or charging the enemy head-on with guns blazing.
The story of the game seems to be similar to its spiritual predecessor (Far Cry) in as its two armed groups show up on an island, start getting into a bit of a ruckus, and then decide they're better off teaming up and shooting at the monsters instead. What can we expect in terms of plot and character development?
We spend a lot of time and effort on the story and character development to make sure it is true to our vision. For example, the Aliens took us almost a year to get exactly right. You can expect to be amazed.
Very shiny visuals + advanced physics = wish I had a better computer. What hardware will we all need to get a decent performance from Crysis?
We are currently optimizing and the final system specs are not released yet. As a rule of thumb, everybody with a PC not older than two years when Crysis is released can play the game. For the full Crysis experience you will need a DirectX10 capable setup.
In addition to the new video card, should we be ordering ourselves a faster nervous system? The brick-wall style difficulty curve towards the end of Far Cry was a little frustrating to some - how fast are we going to have to be to competently make it through? How many gaming hours can we hope for?
There will be a difficulty setting to fit every gamer's nervous system! We have put a lot of effort in ramping the difficulty without losing the suspense and tension of stealth approaches and the feeling of intense combat.
How is the multiplayer shaping up? Will we get to freeze some puny human ass as a great big ice spitting flea, as shown in the game footage? How about co-op play?
Multiplayer is shaping up very nicely; we have daily matches in the company. It is always a great moment for the team when we are playing the game we're working on. You will be able to freeze other players and vehicles with captured Alien weapons. There are no plans for a co-op mode right now.
Are the maps as open and as free roaming as Far Cry? The ability to flank an opponent's camp by a full in-game kilometre was fantastic - will we enjoy such freedom of movement here?
The game provides the player the choice to find his own way to accomplish mission objectives. There is always at least one direct action way and one stealth way, often allowing the player to attack from the flanks or even behind, if he takes the time to sneak past patrols and sentries.
Given how advanced and detailed Crysis looks and behaves, will such leaps in the gaming state-of-the-art be the death of 3rd party mods? Older titles (such as the original Half-Life or Blood) had such great replayability because of a host of enjoyable user-made alterations. Given that to make Crysis seems to have needed a degree in physics, graduation from a school of fine art, and about twenty million dollars, will an enthusiastic community get to add their own touches?
We do love our community and we listen closely to our fans. We want our fans to build levels and add multiplayer modes we didn't even think of. There are people out there that are making Far Cry modes that do thing we never thought possible and this is a great motivation for Crytek.
To push this, we selected Mod teams that are working on Crysis modifications right now and we will ship the Sandbox2 Editor for Crysis. You can check out CryMod (http://www.crymod.com) for more details about this.
Please tell us now before we get involved - is this going to be the first part of an epic trilogy, or a complete episode in itself?
The whole team is focused on finishing Crysis right now. We do have exciting plans for the Crysis franchise, but are not releasing any information right now.
Is it better than Half-Life 2?
We are doing our very best to deliver the best shooter of all time, but our fans will decide that!
Half-Life 1 is one of my favourite games of all times, and I've played almost every title in the franchise since then. They really did ground-breaking work and always managed to surprise me. I am really looking forward to their next release.
Thanks for your time, chaps, best of luck with finishing the game!