Crysis Designer Diary #2 - Multiplayer and Nanosuit Details

Crytek director Eric Lagel discusses multiplayer details and the role of the "nanosuit" in this highly anticipated first-person shooter.



Over the years, first-person shooters have come to offer exciting action that lets you dash about and blast your enemies from a first-person view and have also become showcases for cutting-edge technology. German developer Crytek is hard at work on making a shooter that will push the boundaries of both gameplay and computer graphics, Crysis. The game will take place in a near-future international conflict that's suddenly interrupted by an alien invasion. Your character will be equipped with conventional weapons and an experimental "nanosuit" with special powers. The suit will even be available in the game's multiplayer modes. Crytek director Erik Lagel explains.

Deathmatch and the Nanosuit Effect

By Eric Lagel
Director, Crytek

You'll be able to use a powerful nanosuit in Crysis' multiplayer modes. But not even a high-tech suit can protect you from this.
You'll be able to use a powerful nanosuit in Crysis' multiplayer modes. But not even a high-tech suit can protect you from this.

Even at the earliest stages of determining just what Crysis would be, we knew one of our key goals was to create two great gaming experiences: An immersive, cinematic single-player game was a given. And we wanted to focus a lot on making sure Crysis' multiplayer was fresh and had some variety that would not only satisfy the action-hungry, but also add a new mode that gave people a far deeper experience. So came our three core multiplayer modes: instant action (head-to-head deathmatch), team action (team deathmatch), and power struggle (which we'll talk about at a later date).

Being able to create a dynamic deathmatch experience is inherent to the core multiplayer design of any first-person shooter. Players know the formula for fun, action-packed deathmatch--providing maps that mix up styles of gameplay, directing the ebb and flow of action, weapon variation and location, smart spawn points, and making sure vehicles are balanced correctly. Knowing this, designers try to innovate in different ways to try to make their own mark on that formula.

Us? We think the nanosuit is going to have people rewriting the deathmatch equation.

The best part of my job is watching the team play and seeing all the new layers the suit can add. When you first start playing, you can easily get caught watching other players leaping or darting around at what seems like warp speed from one piece of cover to another, and next thing you know, someone has crept up behind you with the "cloak" ability, switches his or her suit energy to "strength," and boom! You see your name up on the screen with the words "killed by punch" next to it.

We've also been pleased to see the depth that the suit adds from a strategic perspective. One scenario we saw early on in team action was a common occurrence--one team had a powerful vehicle up against two other players who were on their own. Normally, the latter wouldn't stand a chance, since having that vehicle would be such a huge factor in the final outcome, but the suit is a great equalizer. While vehicles won't be useless, the suit lets you have one teammate distract the driver with the "speed" ability, zigging and zagging back and forth allowing the other to flank it and use "strength" to flip it over. Or you could both utilize "cloak," slowly approaching the vehicle and turning on "strength" at the last minute to bash it in on both sides.

The suit's special powers will let you use stealth abilities to get the drop on your opponents.
The suit's special powers will let you use stealth abilities to get the drop on your opponents.

Of course, the greatest challenge in accounting for the nanosuit effect is making sure the balance is right. Obviously, playing against a cloaked sniper hiding in dense foliage is not going to be fun for anyone but that sniper. That’s why "cloak" does not last forever. Nor would it be fun if you could just have superspeed turned on for two minutes straight without any consequences. We work constantly on ensuring the design of each map has areas where the suit’s superpowers can be used effectively, but also to make sure that its attributes will not be too overpowering. You’ll see that in the way buildings are spread apart so you can jump with the "strength" ability from rooftop to rooftop or in how there are corners you can duck behind to reload and turn on the "armor" ability for those intense, claustrophobic one-on-one battles.

One thing is for sure, we think the nanosuit is going to add exponentially more action to your typical deathmatch equation.

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