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Crysis® Maximum Edition
This footage of Crysis 3 shows an extended version of the E3 demo in which Prophet assaults and explodes a huge dam. This time you get to choose at the start of the demo whether the player will take the cloaked, quiet approach or the noisy I AM GUN MAN YOU DIE NOW approach. The sneaky style sends Prophet to some high ledges where he skewers passing guards with arrows before infiltrating the dam through some ducts. The high-octane playthrough rips mounted cannons off their hinges and charges through every alarm in the building. Tragically for the dam, the outcome is the same.
This newest look at Crytek's bow-wielding first-person shooter gives viewers the option to see what it looks like you take on enemies sneakily or jump in with guns blazing. The threequel set in a New York overgrown with apocalyptic levels of vegetation comes out next year for PC, PS3 and Xbox 360.
These screens—grabbed by Polygon from the personal site of lighting artist Pierre-Yves Donzallaz before they were taken down—show the Big Apple in a state of natural disaster. Gorgeous lighting effects and texture details have always been a Crytek signature and the dev studio's upcoming shooter looks like it's going to continue that tradition.
Jul 5, 2012
Occasionally we in the world of games journalism are asked by people in the world of public relations what we thought of a game we just saw. Surely, anything I could say to them, I could say to you, reader of Kotaku. And I should, right? Otherwise I'm just doing free consultation.
In answer to those who asked what I liked or didn't like about Crysis 3 after I played the February 2013 first-person shooter several weeks ago, I'd say, first of all, that I'm hoping to like this game more than I did Crysis 2. That 2011 game presented the promise of open-ended level design but its campaign was ultimately more constricted and funneling than I expected. For a game that was supposed to be the thinking gamer's Call of Duty, it was too, well, Call of Duty.
I was, therefore, happy that the one level I've played of Crysis 3—the dam-detonating level you see chopped up in the trailer above—felt like it offered a variety of tactical options. I could play through it stealthily or aggressively. I could stick to the water or fight on land. I could work my through the level's main building or around it. I liked all of that.
The Crysis games fetishize the super-suit worn by the the player's character. The suit lets you jump really high, turn nearly invisible, punch trees and so on. Crysis 2 made a big deal about the suit always crashing, re-booting and apparently upgrading, though all of that seemed like inconsequential special effects to me. I'm not sure Crysis 3 will do a better job with the suit, but now they've added a new item to fetishize, one that I like more: the bow-and-arrow.
In Crysis 3, the bow-and-arrow feels like something better than a gun.
The prevalence of bows and arrows among the games at this past E3 became a bad joke, but Crysis 3 gets a pass from me. Its' bow-and-arrow is great and fits the series perfectly. Over in the new Tomb Raider, we've got a bow-and-arrow that is used as a survival weapon, as a sort of gun-replacement in a place where guns aren't easily obtained. In Crysis 3, the bow and arrow feels like something better than a gun. It's lethal, it fires fast and, best of all, it's quiet. Previously, Crysis was a game about trading off power for stealth, of choosing to forgo one's own cloaking device when it's time to uncork a spray of machine gun fire. In Crysis 3, the bow and arrow feels like the best of all worlds, offering quiet lethality, a combo that feels like it trumps the tactical options of the previous game. This particular weapon also suits the Crysis series' appeal to the shooter player's tactical mind, requiring them to use the ammunition in their quiver efficiently and encouraging them to pick up their spent arrows to use them again.
The new game will let players hack and use alien weapons and still offers bunches of suit upgrades. These features don't interest me much, nor does a perpetuation of the previous game's plant-overgrowth-in-the-city aesthetic. While other shooters globe-hop perhaps more than they should, it feels that Crysis may be erring in staying too still. The new game is supposed to feature a variety of climates and terrain in special biodomes that house the game's urban levels. But the overall foliage-and-steel look that I've seen makes this new game look, to me, like an add-on to a Crysis 2 campaign that had already gone on too long for me. I'm hoping to see more visual variety than we've seen so far.
I did not attend EA's E3 press conference a month ago, and I was surprised to hear that this game closed the show. I'd walked away from my demo of the game feeling that Crytek's series was on the upswing, but I did not walk away feeling that it was grand finale material. Blame the marketing team or show organizers for that, I guess.
I have a hard time seeing where Crysis 3 fits in and it remains a sequel that risks being one too many in a crowded field. For me, it needs to be best at something or at least interestingly different. Crysis 3, however, feels a shade more conservative than the next Call of Duty, which is adding branching story to its own previously-safe formula. I am now looking toward first-person shooters such as Metro Last Light and its striking Russian post-apocalypse for my FPTS aesthetic left turn. I now look to whatever the former Infinity Ward folks at Respawn Entertainment are doing for the next big shake-up in first-person shooting game design. I wasn't the kind of person who was dying for a new Crysis and I could, honestly, have been content without one.
But there's something about this game's bow and arrow. It was just about the most satisfying weapon to shoot of all the E3 games I played. Can one weapon alone make a game? I don't know, but it's something I can say got my attention and got me to care about what comes next for Crysis.
Jun 16, 2012
This preview originally appeared in PC Gamer UK Issue 240
Rasmus Hojengaard, director of creative development at Crytek, on the genesis of the idea for Crysis 3: “We wanted to do something with some kind of dome, over some kind of city.”
Well, this is Crysis, so the dome had better be a nanodome. And they just made all of New York for the last game, so that might as well be the city.
It’s 20 years after you shot all the aliens invading NYC in Crysis 2. Everyone’s given up trying to work out whether or not you’re Prophet, whose memories and voice you mysteriously took on after his death in the last game, so you are. And instead of having his voice in your ear for guidance, as you did in Crysis 1, you have the cockney lilt of Psycho, who you played in Crysis Warhead. It’s such a jumble of stuff from the previous games that it almost feels like a remix. The good news is that when you remix New York City with a densely jungled island, the result looks awesome.
Technically the Crysis games always have, but this time the appeal isn’t just technical: this is a cool, visually imaginative place.
The (cough) nanodome the evil Cell corporation have built over (sigh) New York artificially accelerates plant growth, in order to (er) ‘cleanse’ the alien ‘pollution’. Look, I’m not Cell Public Relations, I don’t have to justify their science. I just have to tell you that Chinatown is a swamp now, and six other districts of New York have been spliced with six other natural environments to make this a more interesting place.
The mission I’ve seen starts in a Chinaswamp subway, lousy with creepers and glistening wet. It’s night. Outside, Crysis 2-era aliens are finishing off injured Cell troops, and prowling the waterlogged streets. Argon lights blare from a nearby Cell tower, one of the completely scientifically logical devices that sprinkle a dash of Crysis 1’s jungles in Crysis 2’s cities.
It’s a tight environment: Prophet has a little space to stalk his prey before attacking, but in minutes the mech-like aliens show up in overwhelming force and he resorts to a straight firefight. After the plasma’s cleared, Rasmus tells me there are more open levels than this: it’s not as sandboxy as Crysis 1, but not as tightly directed as Crysis 2. Like some kind of remix. Their plan is to alternate between the two styles, for pacing. The seven visually distinct zones of their overgrown New York make a good excuse to do that.
Rasmus explains that linear play is more popular in the mainsteam, while sandbox is a hardcore thing. That’s not much comfort to those of us who live entirely in the hardcore camp, and were half hoping for a return to Crysis 1 expansivity.
One addition does suggest some playfulness, though: the nanosuit can now hack alien gun emplacements to attack enemies. It’s a simple click-to-subvert interaction, but it opens a few more doors.
The main new weapon, a bow, is also promising. It’s a backwards step in technology, of course, but Crytek are keen to feed the hunter fantasy that made Crysis 1 exciting. And it does have a practical advantage: because of science, and nano, you can fire it while cloaked without revealing your location. If it’s ever bothered you that your enemies sometimes have the chance to fight back when you invisibly kill their friends, this is an appreciated boost to your already ridiculous power. It’s limited only by the scarcity of arrows, and a new enemy: Half-Life 2-style scanner bots, whose inquisitive beams can pull you out of cloak and zap all your suit energy. You’re safe if you kill them first, but when they show up in large numbers, that tactic clashes badly with arrow economy.
The bow also fires exploding arrows, but you’re rarely short of a weapon that can make things explode. Prophet’s nanosuit has been modified to use alien weaponry, but it’s not exactly exotic to the experienced shooter player: two of the weapons I saw lobbed exploding projectiles, the third had two fire modes: assault rifle, or shotgun. Crazy aliens.
I ask Rasmus if they even considered doing away with the aliens entirely, given that players overwhelmingly prefer human opponents. An immediate “no”. He couldn’t estimate a proportion of human combat versus alien fights, but says the city is crawling with both.
I think Crysis 3 is going to be great to explore, in a way that Crysis 2 wasn’t. I’m not convinced it’ll be any more fun to play. Whether you call it consistency of vision or self-destructive stubbornness, Crytek are never going to stop trying to make a mainstream sci-fi blockbuster in favour of the freeform predator sim they’re capable of. They’re good at making weapons feel nice, and their shaders look shiny, but you can always see that more ambitious, more interesting game struggling to escape the Halo straitjacket they shove it in.
If you enjoyed Crysis 2, this is bound to be better. If you’re still pining for the first game, though, Crysis 3 is only willing to meet you half way.
Crytek is building Warface, the studio's first freemium shooter, shown recently at E3. It's also going to deliver Crysis 3, a more traditional FPS, sometime in 2013. Whenever the studio finishes off its current committments, CEO Cevat Yerli told VideoGamer.com, it will be developing free-to-play games only.
Yerli considers DLC and premium gaming services, both of which Crysis 3 publisher Electronic Arts is very fond, to be "milking customers to death."
"Right now we are in the transitional phase of our company, transitioning from packaged goods games into an entirely free-to-play experience," he said to VideoGamer.com.
"I think this is a new breed of games that has to happen to change the landscape, and be the most user-friendly business model."
Yerli says top-flight games Crytek produces still require a $10 to $30 million budget, they'll just get an entry price point of, oh, zero dollars. Obviously, they'll be monetized through the sale of upgraded items. Is this really milking consumers any less? More of his thoughts on freemium model at the link below.
Crytek: All our future games will be free-to-play [VideoGamer.com]
Jun 7, 2012
Sorry if that sounds a little "glorious master race", but hey, when you look at what Crytek are able to do with the wet stuff in this DirectX 11 tech video, there's really no other way to describe it.
One thing though: that sort of chop would look at home somewhere in the North Atlantic. So close to shore? It's a little much.
"It's your call how you want to do this", says Crysis 1/Crysis: Warhead veteran Psycho at the beginning of EA's official Crysis 3 trailer. It's a nod to critics of Crysis 2 who missed the original's wide-open approach to combat: despite the return to New York City, Crysis 3 promises to bring back a bit of that freedom.
Freedom is represented here by a few different routes through an area, and there's more emphasis on Prophet's new penchant for archery than his various suit powers. Nontheless, Crytek's ability to orchestrate massive environmental damage is still very much present and correct: if blowing up a dam is the kind of thing they'll stick in the first trailer, hopefully there's some truly vast crumbling mountain/flying park-style chaos waiting for us down the line.
See below for some new screenshots. They're pretty, but rather staged. Can Crytek hit this high bar they're setting for themselves?
Check out Evan's preview from earlier in the year for more on the game. What do you think, readers? Is the E3 2012 bow fatigue setting in, yet?
Here's a great trailer for Crysis 3, shown today at EA's E3 press conference. Crysis 3 is out next February for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PC.