Last night in San Francisco, EA showed me five minutes of live gameplay of Crysis 3. The level they arrowed, nanopunched, and cloaked their way through takes place about a third of the way through the game, in an area formerly known as Chinatown in New York City—you can see footage from the demo I saw in today’s Crysis 3 trailer. From that brief demo, here’s nine notes and impressions I made.
You’re Prophet. Yes, the Prophet that killed himself. Crytek, of course, didn’t make clear how Prophet survived his very real suicide in Crysis 2 (“Nanosuit magic” is the likely medical explanation), but he’s the playable character. The mission we saw had Prophet en route to save Psycho (Crysis Warhead’s protagonist), who was being held underground, presumably by CELL.
It’s still set in NYC. The year: 2047, 20 years after the end of Crysis 2.
...but Crytek is using an absurd plot device in order to make new environments. IGN’s Mitch Dyer made this observation while we were talking after the demo last night. In order to remove the Ceph spores still circulating in New York’s air, CELL erected “nanodomes” in the city itself, sphered-off greenhouses that hyper-accelerate the plant growth within them. It’s a ridiculous premise, but Crytek says that these terraformed zones let them modularly make savannah, canyon, swamp, and other environments.
It’s unclear how sandboxy Crysis 3 will be. Crytek and EA’s big, read-off-a-teleprompter marketing line was “adaptive sandbox gameplay” last night, but the demo I saw didn’t showcase any true openess. Perhaps it wasn't long enough to do so, but there’s no reason yet for me to believe that Crysis 3 will allow any of the wandering, boat-stealing, or getting lost that the original offered. Structurally, what I saw felt like Crysis 2—urban in its scale and structure.
Weapons are more over-the-top. This was a high point. Your compound, auto-loading superbow can equip shock (stun) or explosive warheads. One long-range bow kill used a behind-the-arrow camera. At the very least, Crysis 3 will be a game with a gun that shoots 500 rounds a second (the "Typhoon"). A Heavy Mortar tore up a Ceph Devastator with plasma grenades and plasma missiles, splashing neon blue all up the street. Prophet can use Ceph weaponry (“It’s a little like District 9,” Crytek said), but a disadvantage to the alien arms will be that fresh ammo for them can’t be picked up. Once they’re drained of ammunition, you throw them away.
You’ll fight many of the same Ceph. The 5-minute demo I saw mostly featured familiar enemies: Ceph Devastators, a Ceph Pinger, a dropship, and plenty of Ceph Grunts. And though they were too busy being killed by the aforementioned aliens to fight back, Crytek indicated that CELL soldiers would be another enemy.
...but some new ones. I saw the Ceph Scorcher, a slithering, metallic creature with a flat, fin-shaped head that could pop up on four legs (it’s the first quadrepedal creature in the CryEngine) to spit lines of fire, and Seekers—hovering, unarmed probes (roughly the size of a Manhack) that scan with a searchlight and deactivate your cloak if they spot you.
You can hack stuff. Hacking is the only new Nanosuit ability that’s been revealed. From what was demonstrated, it’s a one-button mechanic for making enemy devices fight for you. From the second floor of a faceless office building, Prophet moused over a tall turret and activated a hack. A progress bar filled. The turret opened fire on nearby Ceph, and Prophet sprinted along toward his objective.
DX11 at launch. Crytek Senior Creative Director Rasmus Højengaard confirmed to me that DX11 will be in at launch. He was less concrete about what graphics options Crysis 3 will make available. (At launch, Crysis 2 offered four measly settings to adjust at launch: resolution, v-sync, HUD bobbing, and one of three pre-defined quality settings).
Crysis 3 will be set within New York city in 2047. It's been overrun by nature and encased within an enormous "nanodome" constructed by the corrupt Cell corporation, who've decided to start conquering bits of planet Earth by building giant domes around them. I've read the press release several times now. That really does seem to be their plan.
Never mind that. Prophet is back. He's managed to sneak into New York's "Liberty Dome" to hunt down Cell, but the alien Ceph (in their sleeker, Crysis 2 forms) are still present in large numbers. It looks like we'll be fighting both across the large, sandbox rainforest that's grown up around the ruins of the big apple. Crysis 3 is due out spring 2013.
The liberty dome will contain "seven distinct and treacherous environments," according to Crytek, though they don't mention what they'll be like. At a guess I'd say jungle world, lava world, water world, desert world, alien world, not-quite-destroyed city world and ... nano world?
Prophet will go to war with an "enhanced Nanosuit" and some "devastating alien tech." More importantly, he'll also have a bow. There's mention of additional attachments in multiplayer that'll likely be available in the single player campaign, too. It'd be surprising if there weren't different types of ammo as well. It'd be nice to see some Thief-style devices, like noisemaker arrows, and a few less subtle explosive variants. We'll have to wait for Crytek to show more to see what that bow can really do.
A bunch of pre-order options have already been announced. They're due to show up on Origin at some point. There are three options. The Stalker pack gives you the game, early access to the semi-automatic Jackal shotgun with a few exclusive bonus attachments, like a silencer and a new weapon skin. The Overkill pack grants you early access to the Typhoon assault weapon in multiplayer and the Predator pack unlocks the Feline submachine gun and exclusive skin.
Release is a long way off, but we don't have to wait at all to see the first screenshots. They're as pretty as you'd hope from a CryEngine 3 game being handled by Crytek. Click to nanogrow them.
It very much looks like Crysis 3 is real, then. Eurogamer have spotted several images of various boxed editions on Origin, and some box art of a nano-suited soldier posing with a bow, of all things. The prospect of taking on an army of gun-toting soldiers with a piece of medieval weaponry is certainly appealing, hopefully the suit comes with a MAXIMUM SHOW-OFF mode to go with it.
It looks as though GameReactor in Sweden is preparing an announcement cover, according to images discovered on NeoGaf, spotted by VG247. The background to the Origin artwork shows a tall building, suggesting an urban setting similar to Crysis 2. We'll have to wait and see if that's the case when Crytek do their big official reveal, but it'd be nice to see a return to the more open environments of the first game. What would you like to see from Crysis 3?
Warface closed beta sign ups are now live! If you're interested a chance to check out Crytek's upcoming, CryEngine powered, free-to-play shooter with the silly name then you can head over to Warface.com now and enter your details into the empty fields on the right. You'll also be able to sign up for a "Gface" username, but you'll have to be quick if you want to take "W4rF4ceIsAS1llyN4m3" before anyone else does. In fact, I'm on my way in to do just that. Let's race.
Yesterday we gave an overview of some of the DirectX 11 features we can expect to see in Crysis 2 in the next update. The patch will add advanced "parallax occlusion mapping," and improvements for shadows, water, particles, depth of field and motion blur.
There will also be additional DirectX 11 compatible tessellation and high-res texture packs, which can be downloaded separately to improve world geometry and surface detail throughout the game. The Crysis forums bring word that we can expect all of these updates to hit next week, and a report on Shacknews suggests Monday June 27.
To get an idea of what the new features will look like, check out these side-by-side comparison shots, found by forum member Vivec. You'll find the full 1.9 patch notes below.
Added Contact Shadows Added DX11 benchmark level Added DX11 support for Crysis 2 (the following features only work when downloading the optional DX11 package here): Tessellation + Displacement Mapping High Quality HDR Motion Blur Realistic Shadows with Variable Penumbra Sprite Based Bokeh Depth of Field Parallax Occlusion Mapping Particles Motion Blur, Shadows and Art Updates Water Rendering improvements and using Tessellation + Displacement Mapping Added Realtime Local Reflections Added support for Higher Res Textures Package Added various new console variables to whitelist Fixed bullet penetration, which had been broken by a bug introduced with the DLC 2 patch Fixed issue in MP where player stats weren't always saved at the end of a game Fixed issue in MP where player stats would sometimes randomly reset Fixed issue with MP time played statistic, which would sometimes be too low on leaderboards and in stats Fixed issue with JAW rocket not firing through window's containing broken glass Fixed rare issue where a user could not access MP with a valid CD key if they had previously used an invalid CD key Improved advanced graphics options menu Improved anti-cheat measurements: fixed exploit which could prevent vote kicking working against a user Improved multi-GPU support Improved Tone Mapping Re-added possibility to enable r_StereoSupportAMD via config file (unsupported)
Maximum music. That's what the ten winners of the Crysis 2 soundtrack giveaway will be receiving shortly. If you missed out on the initial post, might we recommend that you "Like" us on Facebook? You never know when we'll give something away on a whim, especially if it involves forcing the intern to draw a laughably-bad music sheet for a sight gag. Read on to see if you won, and what Nano the winners want to see in the Crysis universe.
Congrats to the following 10 winners! The winners will be contacted shortly—soon they'll be jamming to some soundtrack goodness while they wistfully dream of their Nano inventions becoming a reality. Thanks to everyone who entered!
Josh Collison: Nanopig, maximum bacon. Samuel Hyde: Nanofacepalm. Invisible, extra strong, and extra fast. Perfect for parties with idiots. Sean Lincoln: Nano banana. Shortened to Nanonana Dan Lee: Nanoburger. That cloak will prevent it from being stolen by my asshole roommate. JJ Hernandez: Nano-Toothpaste, Maximum Freshness. Corbin S.B.: Nano-PEZ dispenser, because nothing says wasting the military defense budget than a device that gives out candy and can also cloak. Austin K. Ballard: Nano-segway. Raaammming speeeeeed! Alexander Florian Steciuch: Nano pogo stick. There I said it. Harris Goode: Nano tube socks. Nicholas Reid: Nano glowsticks for maximum brightness
Available to preview at GDC was the latest version of Crytek's CryEngine 3. It joins Epic's next generation tech, and Battlefield 3 on the list of 'stuff you should probably consider upgrading for. No sign of a game it's associated with just yet, but that funky looking trike suggests a military based shooter set sometime in the near future. Possibly with aliens.
Our friend and sometime contributor Duncan Harris is obsessed with what he calls real-time art: capturing the beauty of video games in vast, crisp screenshots unblemished by health bars and HUDs. He uses graphics mods, ultra-resolution textures and screengrabbing hacks to squeeze out every last pixel of detail, and nowhere to greater effect than with Crysis.
Below are a few of my favourites - including the best screenshot of mud you will ever see. But grab the whole zip of 100 1920x1080 screenshots from Duncan's site Dead End Thrills for the whole collection. You'll also find some amazing images of the Mass Effect games there, and many more. Can Crysis 2's urban scenes ever measure up to this?
The voice of Duke Nukem himself, Jon St. John, endorses our podcast in the waking seconds of this week's show. Stick around to the end for Evan's mini-interview with the voice actor, sampled straight from the strip club parking lot (seriously) where the chat took place.
Live from our fidelity-capturing, professional podcast studio, Dan, Logan, Evan, Chris, Josh and Intern Anthony chat up the state of League of Legends, F.E.A.R. AI vs. Crysis AI and John Carmack's judo skills. At 40:30, Chris' debuts his segment "Truthiness and Falsity," where provocative statements and latent, unexpressed resentment among editors combine.
PC Gamer US Podcast 259
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Quote of the week: "Your videocard will not turn into a pumpkin." -Dan Stapleton