Few games have generated as much pre-release excitement as Crysis, the graphically impressive second game from developer Crytek. It's got us so excited we named Crysis the number one most anticipated PC game of 2007. Will Crytek and publisher Electronic Arts give us the game we think it will be? We got some clues via an interview with Crytek CEO Cevat Yerli.
FiringSquad: First, why was the decision made to give the main character a super-suit to use in the game?
Cevat Yerli: The suit is based loosely on technology that is being developed for soldiers on future battlefields. The partial cloaking, highly effective armor and strength augmentation features have been prototyped in the real world and given the advantages these give to soldiers there is little doubt they will see use in the future. Since Crysis is set in the near future we decided to use the suit to add another dimension to the FPS experience alongside futuristic weapons and vehicles.
FiringSquad: How does giving the player access to extra abilities affect the gameplay in Crysis?
Cevat Yerli: It has a huge impact on the way you attack certain scenarios in the game. For example the player can alternate between armor and speed modes to attack an enemy compound front on. Since the suit can offer enough protection to recover from multiple direct hits, as long as you put enough firepower down there is a good chance you can survive. However if a playerís ammo supply is low there is no choice but to either avoid any confrontation or pick the fights you want to fight. This is where the reactive camouflage plays a big role. With the camouflage ability you can optimize your stealth tactics to the degree that you can hunt down all enemies if you want to. Strength modes are particularly fun when you interact both with the environment and enemies with your fists.
The suit gameplay also has a huge impact in multiplayer. Being able to get out of firefights using the speed augmentation presents some interesting situations. Weíve seen players run into an enemy base, unload with all their weapons then run away as fast as possible. Nothing can really be achieved from this but its loads of fun! If they have one of the cloak modes enabled, finding them after the hit and run attack is not easy. There is specialized equipment that can prevent this type of attack however but this must be purchased using the reward system so teamwork is really needed. Players who can master their suit can have a huge advantage over those who choose a more static gameplay style.
FiringSquad: In terms of weapons, what sorts of weapons will be made available in the game and how many options will the player have access to for customising the weapons?
Cevat Yerli: Currently there are 14 handheld weapons with a variety of vehicle mounted weapons. Most of the weapons have modifications available like different scopes that affect the handling of the weapon, under-barrel grenade launchers, flashlights, laser aiming aids and a range of different ammunition. We have 3 types of grenades, frag, smoke and flashbang but one of the coolest weapons is the playerís bare hands! Using the strength mode on the suit the players muscles get augmented to the point of a steroid freak. Objects can be grabbed and used as shields and then thrown at enemies if ammunition is short. In addition to the more mundane objects in the world, living enemies can be grabbed by the throat and used as shields, they will object to this treatment however J Oh and the destroyable trees arenít just for looks, they can also be picked up to create an odd sort of camouflage.
In Multiplayer there is a range of gadgets also available to help your team to win. Portable radars, repair equipment, electronic lock-picks and alien devices are all available but must be earned through the reward system.
FiringSquad: The game employs a solid in-game physics engine. How much interactivity will the player have with the enviroments in the game?
Cevat Yerli: As most people would have seen, all but the largest trees in the jungle can be shot down or destroyed with heavy weapons. In addition to this, almost every object in the world can be picked up, shot, exploded or pushed around. Basically if it looks like it should react to the player, it does. Being set on a small island the construction of many of the dwellings canít stand up to the modern weapons of war (and nano-enhanced suits!). Huts can be destroyed to escape an ambush, or to ambush those inside. Scaffolding can be systemically destroyed and small fuel canisters can be stacked up to create spectacular ambushes. We also use advanced rope physics, breakable glass, physical waves in the beautiful oceans and a physically correct particle system adhering to all physics in the world. Smoke gets blown around by explosions and moves off with the shifting wind.