Crysis Q&A - Development Updates and Open-Ended Gameplay

Crytek president Cevat Yerli gives us an update on this impressive-looking PC shooter. Exclusive new trailer inside.

Development studio Crytek made a name for itself with the impressive 2004 shooter Far Cry, a beautiful-looking game with highly open-ended gameplay. Now the developer is working on its second project, Crysis, which will put you in the role of a top-secret supersoldier equipped with some heavy-duty guns and a cutting edge "nanosuit" that grants you superhuman powers. Crytek president Cevat Yerli sat down with us to discuss the lessons the studio took from Far Cry's development and to give us an update on the game's development.

GameSpot: Far Cry was Crytek's first game and must have been a learning experience in many ways. What are some of the key lessons that you took from Far Cry and are applying to Crysis?

Cevat Yerli: In terms of gameplay, [the important lessons were] the accessibility and difficulty. That was exposed in Far Cry through the difficulty of the artificial intelligence, but also the lack of quick-save functionality. Production wise, it was all about learning to focus, albeit still going wide and ensuring the story is core to the development effort. We also wanted to make sure that community development began earlier, and multiplayer had to receive a more-substantial focus.

Crysis will attempt to offer the same kind of open-ended gameplay as Far Cry, without turning into a more-conventional shooter.

GS: It's been said that you guys didn't like how the introduction of the Trigen mutants changed the pace of that game. It went from its open-ended gameplay to a typical shooter. How do you avoid that situation with Crysis and its aliens?

CY: In Far Cry, the mutants received too little development time; something we were able to focus more on this time around. Their AI code was not on par with the human AI. Their "counter" reactions were not as smart--they just rushed toward you--and that turned Far Cry into a reactive shooter once they entered the game. Prior to the mutants, Far Cry was all about outsmarting your enemy, and it was essential to really think before taking action. That design principle, which we dubbed "veni-vidi-vici," is core in our encounter design. Assess before you engage. Read [the enemies'] weakness. In Crysis, utilizing the nanosuit in any combat situation will be the player's first choice in making a nonlinear experience versus intelligent alien enemies with advanced AI.

GS: There are players out there who don't like, or perhaps don't "get," open-ended gameplay experiences. They felt sort of lost in the previous game. Has this factored into the design process of Crysis in any way? How will the new game better cater to people who prefer a more-linear experience?

CY: We do, in fact, have more ways we lead, more reminders, more tools to funnel the experience, but at the same time, we increased the options the player has to express his own intelligent tactics. This is done through the nanosuit, through a customizable weapons system that has meaningful tactical differences, through a more-open level design, and enemies that react more intelligently. Put the unparalleled depth of interactivity into the mix and you always get a new experience while essentially not getting lost. We firmly believe that a game [that is] fun through your own smart choices is always better than a game that [holds your hand].

GS: What are some of the lessons that you've learned while developing Crysis? This is such an ambitious game that there are obviously new things that you've discovered.

CY: Any way you look at it, Crysis is gigantic, starting from its wide array of new "firsts" in the industry to innovation, production values, ambitious goals. A [principle] that is inherent in Crytek's philosophy and culture [is] to push the boundaries in any area important to a genre. That is what we learned: that our philosophy and culture makes our production efficiency difficult. Let's see what happens next!

GS: How much of the original design of Crysis has survived at this point? Have you had to drop features? Have you added new ones that you didn't expect?

You can blast your enemies or toss them to the sharks. (Not pictured: sharks.)

CY: In fact, overall, it evened out. We had to some scenes and features here and there, but we revised, reviewed, and added quite a few new elements. Of course, [these were not] not core to the gameplay but good additions. We refined a lot of interface work to streamline the game.

GS: Let's get to the E3 demo, which had the first level of the game on display. You have to get from one side of a bay to the other. Could you discuss the different ways to approach this and the type of strategy that you can employ?

CY: There are a hundred ways you could play that section. You could take an action route, going over the left side down to the jamming device, roof jumping, and shooting down your enemies. Or you could take a more stealthy approach, sneak in without killing anyone, deactivate the GPS, and bypass your enemies completely unseen. You can hang back at the top of the approach with a silencer and surgically pick off the few guards in the area. You can even see if a jeep comes and drive it into the jammer itself. We have never seen any two people approach this small section the same way.

GS: We've heard that if you throw an enemy soldier into the deep water of the bay, the sharks will get him. That's pretty impressive. Is this just a sample of the emergent gameplay in Crysis? Are there things that happen in the game that you didn't expect or foresee?

CY: There are quite a few emergent gameplay examples we have been surprised with, but the most important thing is that you as a gamer have a lot of opportunities to explore. And as long you smile [and enjoy the fact] that your tactic worked out, we will be happy. A fun example that happened to me was when I shot a guy in his legs and he fell over, [which was] the typical response. I thought he was dead. I was walking away then all of a sudden, the guy stood up and shot at me. As he shot me, when I turned, I was so shocked that I aimed a bit higher, hitting a barrel on the roof, which then collapsed on him and took him out. I did not mean to shoot the barrel at all--it was pure coincidence--but it got me the same result.

GS: What sort of hardware was the E3 demo running on? How's the battle to optimize the game going? Are you still sticking with the general rule that Crysis will run on two-year old hardware, albeit at lower visual settings?

CY: At E3, we were running on a [GeForce] 8800 video card and a dual-core Intel [CPU]with 4 gigabytes of RAM at very high settings. Not the highest, though! Most of the time, it was running smoothly.

Yes, we [are] progressing very well on optimization, and we will achieve our goal. Two-to-three-year-old rigs will run Crysis well, with lower visual settings still competing with the best games of two-to-three years ago.

GS: Where's the game at currently in development? Will Crysis ship this year? Can you get any more specific than that?

Expect to see Crysis on shelves later this year.

CY: Yes, we will ship this year. In fact, we will announce the ship date very, very soon.

GS: Finally, is there anything that you'd like to add about Crysis? The lessons learned from Far Cry or E3?

CY: Nothing--just really that we want to send out a big "thank you" for the support and patience to our fans and also a big "sorry!" for taking so long. The wait will be worth it, we promise!

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Discussion

236 comments
Ibanez423
Ibanez423

Man I'm so glad I built my computer over the summer. Thank god I waited till now to build it too at the peak of DX 10 coming out and now this kickass game.

yiwei
yiwei

hell this looks mad, i'll have to spend thousands upgrading cause my motherboard can't take PCI express cards... doh. The vegetation and other details are amazing, i only think that the ground textures are a little less than good for some screens. But since i won't be upgrading my comp... i won't be playing it... hell

DiscGuru101
DiscGuru101

-The vegetation keeps on blowing my mind.

kappareign
kappareign

this game looks **** amazing! cant wait to see more

hamadatoon
hamadatoon

(Phabiuo3). really really..............................................................thanks!!!!!!!!! but how about ( N 8500 gt 512 ) ? doing well or what? tell me?

broca
broca

Vangaurdius. One word, - NUMPTY

wrestlemaniaw
wrestlemaniaw

it's going to be awesome like ASSASSIN'S CREED and HALO 3!

broca
broca

redwinterwolf "I also have found big moniters just to much, not worth the money and I hate the idea of have to turn your neck to look at the rest of the screen" Yeah right, are you just trying to convince yourself? have you ever actually played a game on one either? games on a 24" monitor at 1920x1200 blow you away, so much more immersive. and I don't appear to have any neck ache issues but I do get a small stain in my pants from the excitement!! ;)

FoxholeNorman07
FoxholeNorman07

Of course, if you can get something with DX10 support, but with that you'll probably only be limited by processing power. Well, maybe not with all the low-mid range 8 series cards out now. On the topic of consoles vs. pc, most really great games end up coming to pc or vice-versa. Look at all the "360 exclusives." A little Halo 2 or Gears of War anyone?

Phabiuo3
Phabiuo3

hamadatoon: "nvidia 7300 GS 256mb" and "XP SP2 profitional" You'll wanna upgrade the gpu, I wouldn't go any lower than an x1950 pro for this game. You'll also want to go ask your english teacher how to spell 'professional'. :)

hamadatoon
hamadatoon

My PC is about just 6 monthes ago.... so is Crysis dos work on my. 2 giga Ram Dual core 2 due 1.87 GH. nvidia 7300 GS 256mb ( 512mb with RAM ) using XP SP2 profitional so what do u saying about me???????? pleeeeeeeez some one help me to Build my PC very well. thank u.

redwinterwolf
redwinterwolf

im glad i can run it highest on 1240 by 1024 on dx10 8800 GTX, a X6800, and 3 gigs of ram so im good remeber the e3 trailer it was probly 2400 X 1800 or watever so the requirements they sugest are way up from required I also have found big moniters just to much, not worth the money and I hate the idea of have to turn your neck to look at the rest of the screen

X-7
X-7

Do we have to have Vista? I might get a new GPU at the end of the year. I have a 3.5GHZ equiv. with 1GB of DDR maybe DDR2. My gpu I will get will probably be a 7600GT or higher. I only have 300 watt power supply.

Hector_01
Hector_01

Someone said earlier that the ps3 is far superior than the x360. I own a high end pc and a wii so you can't say i am bias to either x360 or ps3 but all i have to say is the ps3 is NOT far superior than the x360. Stupid sony fanboys have to just realise that its just not as good as they hoped it would be. I mean comin from a technical point of view it has a graphics chip which is on par with a 7800 gtx roughly which isnt that great. x360 on the other hand has a unified shader graphics chip which is faster than ps3 one. And we all know that most of your performance comes from the graphics chip not the cpu. oh yea i forgot to say that crisis is gonna rock and i hope i can run it on high lol.

redphaser
redphaser

just an fyi to everyone... for those who don't know, many of the trailers have only been done in dx9 (one of the ppl GS interviewed said that). The weapons trailer in particular was done in dx9. So if that is dx9... dx10 is gonna be insane XD

G-Master111
G-Master111

Replying to Vangaurdius: If you start from scratch then, yes it's expensive. But if you just need to slot a new graphics card in next to your old one for £100 extra then that will last your pc a good year or two extra. I'd much rather pay £200 every couple of years than £400 or £500 on a new games console. Yes I know that most of the consoles aren't that much but if you think about it... Console + game + 2 controllers + HD TV + sound system + Extras = A lot of money. If you're going to compare an entirely new pc setup to a console you'll have to compare the console to an entirely new console setup too. Also I am sick and tired of pc games being ported to consoles. Shadownrun had me furious. By making it dumbed down by the 360 they elimated: New maps from the community New mods from the community New gamemodes from the community New skins from the community New FUN from the community. Another point. Hl2? Lasted me since 2004. The community keeps on adding new mods and new maps. Garrysmod... counterstrike... all great games. On its own hl2 lasts about 10 hours with the singleplayer AND multiplayer. With the mods it lasted me 3 years. Also... Jungle battfields? nuetral? Please for the love of god LEARN TO SPELL

mailbox2112
mailbox2112

I bought a Direct X 10 graphics card just for this game so it better be worth it!

Vangaurdius
Vangaurdius

The thing you have to realize is that almost 85% (perhaps more) of gamers are not hardcore and will not be willing to spend a couple thousand of their hard earned cash on a pc because there are better things to spend your money on then sitting around on your butt all day playing video games. I hope they keep that in mind kind of like with World in Conflict which they realized, hey not everyone who plays video games spends all there money on a computer, lets make this game look pretty on really low end systems that are over 5 years old, just on low detailes but without lag. Also, people said that game would never work on consoles, well, they officially announced a release for the 360. So it doesn't actually have anything to do with consoles not being able to "handle" the game, it has to do with the fact that developers are too lazy to do anything about it. Don't go calling me a "consol fanboy" because first, I don't actually care, second, your proving you are an rude idiot and most likely a snob, and thirdly, I do play alot of pc games and consol games and I am nuetral to both unless people start mouthing off. Also, it better not need Vista because 1: its buggy as hell 2: none of my really old games will work with it 3: its a resource hog. Now then, this game looks and sounds amazing. It does seem to be inovative in a few ways but one thing I hope is actually improved is the stupid AI in farcry that would all just run through the nearest door that led to you allowing you to put your back in a corner and just hold the trigger down. I know they are saying the AI are imrpoved, I just hope that they did it enough. Well, this and Halo 3 both deserve to FPS of the year. They need to create an award for most innovative. Because in that case, though I am a huge fan of Halo, Crysis would clearly win it, unless there is a game I haven't heard of yet. Oh, one last thing no game can truly be the best of all fps because certain people don't like open ended action, some don't like futuristic fps, some don't people don't like fighting aliens, some people don't like jungle like battfields, no game, no matter how hard they try, be it Halo, Crysis, Call of Duty, Brothers in Arms, Battlefield, and many others will never be the best game in everyone's eyes. But wth me, I love fighting in a jungle, I love fighting in any era, but I am a bit worried that the open ended system might not go as well as they say it is going, because lets face it, most open ended games have one big flaw or another, but then you would have to play this game to find out. I just hope they fill alot of the jungle with things to shoot so that you have to be constantly on your gaurd.

Deatonis
Deatonis

The fps to rule them all. I suggest tweaking your vista machines for this one. and... can vista support 8 gigs of ram(mobos even), any way, Its interesting to see far cry inspire something.. but i think thats good hopefully far crys mistakes are banished to the past. As far as piracy? It does and will help sales, As long as people dont pirate too much I suggest about 2-3 gigs of ram for this considering vista needs 1 gig just to run high freq, id oc the graphics too, they should drop a version of this on the ps3 / 360 when they go through the next hardware revision. Too bad its not coming out early next year... Direct X 10 cards are still a new technology.. like vista and are buggy.

Ravi_1900
Ravi_1900

Man I have got a 8600 a couple of days ago with 1GB of Ram. I hope the game runs smoothly on 1024*768 with high settings ( not the highest). I am not asking much? or !!!..

viper_phy
viper_phy

a intel core 2 quad QX6800 w/ 2x 8800 ULTRA and 8 gigs ddr2 should do it.

unsunghero28
unsunghero28

Am I the only one that was kind of "meh" about that trailer? I'm not sure why, to be honest. I've been blown away by everything Crysis threw at me so far, but some of that footage just didn't float my boat.

IgGy621985
IgGy621985

Njesz, you can forget about that. There'll always be someone who'll buy a pirated copy. It's the same thing with the consoles. But the main element that summons the influence to the wider public is a strong marketing. No marketing - no sales. But Crysis has a bunch of corporations that will back the game up - I mean, there's EA, Microsoft, nVidia, Intel... Crysis is not just a great looking game - it's a darned important game for the PC hardware industry - which is HUGE.

Njesz
Njesz

I hope that any Real PC gamer, Does not pirate this game. Lets show them all that the PC is still a market thats worth making high end games for.

Pooey_Mess
Pooey_Mess

I'm glad the game is being built with the PC in mind. I'm sick of developers dumbing down games on the PC so they can run on weaker consoles.

shoden
shoden

Meh.. I'm glad on the safe side in running this game.. I can't wait to test out on my system =D 8800 GTX SLI FTW =O

Suad_Rif
Suad_Rif

What're consoles fanbois doing here? Shuhh Shuhh..

dontcare5454
dontcare5454

i can build a system that will run this top end for 1500 dollars this is truly the greatest year in gaming

lotsofgunfire
lotsofgunfire

i guess i better hurry up and get that extra gig of ram.

Merl57
Merl57

Great! I can save money for my video Card for later!

EL_Punisher85
EL_Punisher85

well hopefully crytech decides to go to both sides that would be awesome dont you think i mean that game is way better then most games on its genre................hopefully it will also come out on x360!

lillan2967
lillan2967

amulbocus "Ha Ha all you 360 owners, its well known that Crytek are looking for PS3 programmers, as well as rumours in many video game mags, Crysis for the PS3 is a massive possiblity. We all know that the PS3 is far superior in every way to the 360. A game like Crysis is gonna be 10 GB+, perfect for blu ray !!! Also its good to see Epic games releasing UT3 for the PC and PS3 first, with PC mods also available for PS3 owners, a sign of the future we all hope" You know what, just stfu little boy

Psycold
Psycold

Console people....stop caring, they aren't concentrating on making this for consoles AT ALL, the developers said it themselves.

BigSweetc
BigSweetc

LINEAR game play is for dumb asses ...Idiots...that need a straight path so they don’t lose themselves !!(Non-linear is ‘’freedom’’ and great replay ability) …Idiots

amulbocus
amulbocus

Ha Ha all you 360 owners, its well known that Crytek are looking for PS3 programmers, as well as rumours in many video game mags, Crysis for the PS3 is a massive possiblity. We all know that the PS3 is far superior in every way to the 360. A game like Crysis is gonna be 10 GB+, perfect for blu ray !!! Also its good to see Epic games releasing UT3 for the PC and PS3 first, with PC mods also available for PS3 owners, a sign of the future we all hope.

pezner
pezner

4 gigabytes of ram and still not its highest setting? This game had better be ported to the 360 because that powerful pc was never meant to be for the average person, considering the money being spent. Unless you've been saving ever since the dawn of next gen pc games.

drangel_jam
drangel_jam

I hope they "port" it to the Xbox 360, keeping in mind that ports are boring, they should add enhanced features as usual.

Nandutzu
Nandutzu

Every screenshot of this game makes for a great wallpaper HAha :)

MarcoSnow06
MarcoSnow06

Trailer looks amazing (althoigh the voice-over was pretty cheesy). Here's hoping it gets ported to 360, cause there ain't a snowball's chance in hell that my computer can play this thing.

gdiza
gdiza

I'm looking forward to Crysis but I bet by the time the game is installed on my PC, the 'craze' for me will be done with, that's how it normally is for me, I am looking forward to it hopefully keeping me 'hooked' because there are hardly any games out there today that keep me hooked.

JPMcferran
JPMcferran

This is one of the best looking games that i have seen can't wait

smbius
smbius

Can people just stop trolling? I could care less what platform this game is on. In any case, I will upgrade my PC for this. I thought Far Cry was pretty good but I'm hoping this game will deliver. It looks way too good and the gameplay sounds promising.

g3n3r41xan
g3n3r41xan

not extremely impressed but still getting it cuz its still a good game

kirshna
kirshna

crytek you are great ,great game with great peformance i can"t wait.finely extreme very very very good game to pc is coming now .pc is the best hahahhah.

WestleyViau
WestleyViau

game of the year ? oh yeah i guarantee it !

bigblunt537
bigblunt537

@ babyhunter.... you should really retry the game again. The first time i played them game i was like wow this game was hyped so much for no reason... After reinstalling it a year after release and giving it 1 last try it became my most favorite fps i have ever played. To me it beats the half lfie series and fear which i feel fear was overated and had a terrible shooting system but anywys give it another shot and i guarantee you that you will lvoe it if you really pay attention

xploded
xploded

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

babyhuntar
babyhuntar

Far Cry's campaigne wasnt as good as it is reviewed on GS,i DO hope that this game will really be better in gameplay....