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Interviews

Crysis

Crytek's CEO Cevat Yerli and lead game designer Bernd Diemar on the PC FPS phenomenon

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Reactive gaming is a subset of 'outsmarting gaming', because if you're not smart enough at least you could react with skill. Far Cry offered tactical gameplay in multiplayer, but an amateur could kill a pro gamer because of the network problems. So it didn't allow a pro gamer to make a difference, to react faster, even if an amateur gamer was potentially quite smarter, the pro was always at a disadvantage.

Now the lag or slowdown has been optimised out so pro gamers can really make a difference. However, now amateur gamers and even female gamers who are more tactical and play at a slower pace can make a difference by being smarter against a hardcore 'reactive' shooter. At a fundamental level that's what we need to make sure happens, then the rest is just gameplay design. Far Cry's multiplayer game was pretty strong, but it didn't kick off, hardcore gamers didn't like it because their skill didn't make a difference.

We really liked the sense of tactics and planning in Far Cry's single-player game. Is that tactical feeling revived in Crysis?

Cevat Yerli: It was what we call 'outsmart gameplay' or as the Romans used to say, Veni Vidi Vici [I came, I saw, I conquered - Caeser loving CVG Ed]. That's very much part of our gameplay. It was about seeing something and then working out the best way to conquer it.

That was very much Far Cry's basic core gameplay and now we're improving and amplifying it with the hero, the weapon and the ammunition in Crysis. You're going to be presented with a challenge, you're going to have to digest information, see what is happening and it's ultimately up to you to read the situation. The more you observe, the better you can develop your skill and tactics because you get more from the situation. If you rush into it you will most likely fail, but if you're really careful about it you can get a much richer gameplay experience and, by the huge amount of choice you have, you can play it again and again.

We believe that you can play Crysis three or four times and still have a unique experience. In Far Cry you could play through about two times and you got some replay value there. In Far Cry you could die and replay again and the scene would be almost unique, but in Crysis each scene is going to be inherently unique, each mission is going to be kind of unique depending on your choices, but each game experience is also going to be up to three to four times as unique, because of the anomalies and consequences, because of the tactical choices. So there's a lot more spontaneity at every level of Crysis.

The game engine is looking fantastic. Are you sticking with PC or would you consider a next-gen console version of Crysis?

Cevat Yerli: It's just PC. It crossed our minds, but we're sticking with PC. Of course, we thought about it on PS3, but one thing about our company is that we want to focus, we don't want to do multiple things, we want to do one thing and do it as well as we can. It's a matter of focus, PC is our focus right now, we were born there and we want to showcase what we can do there, before we made any move onto consoles.

If there's ever a console version it will be later - if at all. Right now there is no console version whatsoever because we have to showcase what we've learnt from Far Cry. And then in the future? Well, we'll see.

How many hours of gameplay are you figuring on? Will it exceed Far Cry's play time?

Cevat Yerli: No it's about 10-12 hours, roughly in this range, but remember there's more replayability and every minute has been filled with three to four times more intensity than Far Cry. It's much more compact and more filled with information, it's a more compact ratio - the way it deals with information. Essentially it's a faster game and the replay value of Crysis is about three to four times that of Far Cry, plus there's a huge multiplayer component which is inherently better than Far Cry as well.

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