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Crytek's Mike Read: 'We cannot take the current generation any further'

The Crysis 3 producer discusses console tech, Wii U, and giving PC users that little bit extra

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What would Crytek's tech guys like to see specs-wise in next gen consoles?

When you look at the last five years and how much hardware has advanced over that time as opposed to the five years prior there's a huge span in what's going on. We all want the top-of-the-line and the best and to have that, and we have that flexibility on PCs, but in terms of the next gen consoles I really don't know how they're going to overcome that hurdle and still be top of the line for, you know at this point [in this generation], running up to seven or eight years.

Is there a feature you would have liked to include in Crysis 3 that wasn't possible because the power just wasn't there, or because it was just too tricky to implement?
I would say that the one I wanted to put in would probably be co-op. There are all sorts of limitations with that, and there are also development things that are associated with it too.

A lot of gamers believe it's just a case of going into a single player map, throwing another person in there and that it'll still be the same experience, but that's not really how it ends up turning out. I think there are also technical challenges to be overcome as well that we've run into. For the future that's something I'd love to see in there, but unfortunately it's not going to be in Crysis 3.

I read an anonymous quote the other day from an employee at a large publishing company saying that a dangerous precedent had been set by BioWare changing or enhancing the ending of Mass Effect 3 following a fan campaign. Do you agree?
BioWare's in a bit of an interesting position, as opposed to us with the Crysis story, which is a very linear thing - we want to tell a story from start to finish, and the interactive pieces we're making are the action sequences.

I'm a little bit of the belief that when a game comes out, and there's a number of developers that I'm going to leave unnamed who have done very good jobs of this, that have put games out and the game isn't really theirs any more, it's owned by the community.

So there's kind of a shift that happens in between releasing a game, especially when it comes to content add-ons and free-to-play. I think that model of getting your communities involved is a great thing.

I back BioWare on what they did. I think it's an understatement to say people were very vocal, but I think Casey [Hudson, Mass Effect 3 executive producer] made the right decision in coming back and delivering something. It did get mixed receptions as to what it was, but I think overall it was a good choice.

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Finally, why do you play videogames?
Why do I play videogames? So, that's actually an evolution over time. My first computer, and I feel old saying it, was a TI-99, and I'm sure a lot of people don't even know what the hell that was.

So it had BASIC and a little cartridge slot on the side and you could play Munch Man, which was like a hacked-up version of Pac-Man. I've always been a games addict and my parents were always like, 'you're never going to amount to anything playing all these games,' but of course I'm working in the games industry now and I love what I do.

What I really like is the social connections that I've made over the years. There have been people I've met playing games when I first started playing multiplayer games like Quake and the original Tribes and all the way up through my gaming life with the likes of Team Fortress and Allegiance and a lot of other games. I've hung out with these people, in real life we talk on a daily basis, we get into arguments about gaming and where it's going, and we play across all these different games and platforms.

I think it's really the social connections that I've made over time, especially over the last ten years. In the '90s games were more of a cool single player experience and multiplayer was always this hacked up thing with two people running around chasing each other with chainsaws in Doom and shit on a modem at four o'clock in the morning.

It was fun, and it's evolved into that, and I really believe community interaction and social connections between people, getting them talking, not only by typing back and forth or sharing different types of information, but actually getting them communicating is one thing, especially in some multiplayer titles, that I think is missing.

For me, in a game like Team Fortress 2 I've met so many people playing that game alone, I can jump in and it's like playing with a bunch of people I know, and everybody's drinking and smack talking each other and having a good time.

I play Mass Effect 3 online quite a bit and it's invariably played in silence.
I think there's a whole stigma behind multiplayer games and people are like, 'oh, well you have 32 people on there and all they're going to do is smack talk and make racial slurs and comments' and things like that, and yeah, you do find that, but I'm really hoping that the console market will evolve into something like the PC market has over time, because I'll go looking around different servers until I find one that I'm comfortable on, that has regulars on it who I like to play with and associate with.

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