Crysis 2 Interview

Crysis 2 Interview

The second of our exclusive interviews with the teams behind 2011′s biggest firstperson shooters.

In the second of our interviews with the key figures behind the next wave of firstperson shooters, we sit down with Crytek president and creative director, Cevat Yerli, to discuss bringing the PC series to console, embracing verticality and the challenges of programming AI for complex urban environments.

What guarantees can you offer, once and for all, that the PC version of Crysis 2 will be texturally equal to or better than Crysis?
You know what’s funny? When we released Crysis, back then people didn’t judge it for that. I’m frustrated about this. We said it was a game that was pushing boundaries, which would stay relevant in the future, and all we got was a backlash: “This game doesn’t run!” Then games came out for the same hardware that weren’t running at all, or were choppy and whatnot despite low-res graphics. Yet we were the bad guys for pushing PC graphics, making it too expensive to play. Whatever we do seems to be wrong. Anyway, will Crysis 2 have hi-res textures; will it get blurry? Crysis 2 will have a PC version that’s a PC game. We’re going to push it as much as the engine can take. It’ll be at least as beautiful as Crysis, but the context is different. It’s New York. Not a jungle, but an urban jungle. You have to understand that the budget for Crysis was much lower than for Crysis 2. We could spend much more on Crysis 2 because we expected to sell more through multiplatform development. So PC gamers will get a better game out of that; it isn’t just take, it’s also give. The gameplay has received much more research about accessibility, streamlining and making it more fun, but also making it deeper. So every angle is improved. The amount of diligence and production volume we’ve spent makes it so much better than Crysis.

Part of the fear from gamers comes down to the hardware maturing while many of the games seem to regress: console control systems, FOVs, textures. PC gamers are just fed up of it.
Yeah. Crysis 2 doesn’t suffer from that, in my opinion – it’s superior from every angle. But this isn’t necessarily a game you can’t play today, or where you need another two years to max it out. That’s not the approach this time. Now, it’s more like we want to give you the best PC experience with current high-end equipment. So if you bought the last high-end graphics card, you’re going to get a blast out of it. Likewise, the minimum-spec experience will be of a far higher quality than Crysis was.

Some people just didn’t get the combat in Crysis. It was almost too ‘sandboxy’, and let them get away with the bare minimum.
It’s a fair point. In Crysis we didn’t force the player too much, we had them choose. But that devalued the Nanosuit itself, and sometimes people used it sporadically here and there but didn’t really push it. They didn’t feel they needed it to win. So what we did is made sure the AI is smarter in Crysis 2, and you have to be damn powerful to fight them.

Have you made it more linear to help focus that intensity?
I wouldn’t say it’s a more linear game. When people think that, they haven’t played it. I would say that maybe some areas are flowing more – we don’t have 1x1km islands because New York doesn’t offer that – but wherever we have play space available we try to offer a choreographed sandbox. Choreographed doesn’t mean linear – you don’t have to follow the script. You can change some outcomes and others are predefined, but you can play as you want.

It was ‘action bubbles’ in the first game – bottlenecks and playgrounds. Are you taking the same approach this time around?
It’s the same structure. But there are action bubbles here as big as some Crysis levels, and in a true 3D sphere. Crysis was a 2D sandbox, if you like, and this is 3D. You have much more height to play with, and you can engage that however you want.