As Barney Stinson would say, Suit Up!
Crysis 3 is out this week, allowing fans of the series to once again don the Nanosuit and kick some ass. Way back in September I had the opportunity to chat to Crytek UK’s Fasahat Salim about the multiplayer portion of Crysis 3. Read on to know more about Suits, guns and appropriate storage of tomato-based condiments.
As someone who has never played a game in the Crysis series before now, I’d like to know what concessions have been made for players that may be new to the series, or First Person Shooters in general.
One of the things we picked up from the Crysis 2 community was the game’s accessibility, because it’s not just about the FPS aspects, it’s also about management of the Nanosuit. We took the feedback from the community and a lot of internal play-testing to make the gameplay with the Nanosuit a lot more accessible to new players.
So we’ve introduced a few things to streamline the whole process, for instance we’ve made the Nanosuit energy management side of things a lot simpler and a lot easier to get your head around. In Crysis 2 we had one energy bar that covered everything the Nanosuit could do. We’ve now split that into several bars now; for instance, the Armour Mode for your suit now has it’s own bar, as does Cloaking and Stealth. Plus, running doesn’t use any energy from your Nanosuit.
This allows players to focus on playing the game without worrying about managing the Nanosuit. It’s good for new players, but at the same time we’re trying to maintain a level where players that are experienced with the game don’t feel like they’ve got training boots on and can just play how they want to play.
Apart from that, we’ve also introduced some new modules. Customisation is a massive part of Crysis, so we also have modules that help making getting into the game a lot easier.
What kind of maps and environments can we expect to see in the final game?
We’re going to have 12 maps in Crysis 3’s multiplayer. In the Single Player mode we have have this “Seven Wonders of New York” aspect which covers a whole variety of different landscapes; we’re trying to utilise that to our benefit as well, so we have a wide range of maps to choose from.
We’re showing the Museum map at the moment, it’s basically a rundown museum that’s been abandoned with a forest/jungle is growing around it and it’s become quite a swampy location. It’s quite eerie, quite interesting.
It’s quite dilapidated, like humans haven’t been seen in this region in a while.
Are you able to tell us a little bit more about some of the game modes we’ll be playing in Crysis 3’s multiplayer?
So we have a couple of new game modes for Crysis 3, the one we’re showing here today is Hunter. Hunter is basically a game mode in which we have 2 Hunters against 10 Operatives. These Hunters have to find and kill the other Operatives, and all they have are their Nanosuit and a bow, plus they’re permanently cloaked. Meanwhile the Operatives have one weapon, no Nanosuit, an EMP grenade and a proximity alarm to help them find the Hunters.
The idea is that when the Hunters kill an Operative, they also become Hunters as well so it’s an interesting game mode that starts off quite tactically, but as the Hunters start to kill off the Operatives, their numbers grow. By the end you have quite a tense atmosphere as you have the Operatives doing their best to survive.
It sounds like quite a stealth-based mode.
Well initially because the Hunters are cloaked it is quite strategic and stealthy, but by the end of the game it does become a lot more frantic and a lot more desperate. I’ve seen guys just cowering in the corner with a shield and I’ve seen guys running around like crazy.
Are there any other modes you can talk about?
So we have a few modes making a reappearance from Crysis 2, the usual Team Deathmatch, we’ve got standard Deathmatch plus one more new mode that I can’t talk about yet. We’re also showing Crash Site.
I believe that’s the mode I played.
That was also in Crysis 2 although we’ve refined it a bit for Crysis 3. We’ve introduced some new things that we didn’t have for Crysis 2 such as being able to pull off shields from the crashed pods themselves and using them as makeshift cover. You can use them as a weapon as well, by flinging them at enemies or as a melee weapon.
We’ve also introduced the use of alien weapons within the maps themselves, so if you’re going along in a map and you see a dead alien, you can actually pick up the weapons they had and utilise them to your benefit. It’s one of those things that change the dynamics of the game.
One thing I noticed when actually playing Crash Site is that someone had actually found some sort of mech and was going around in that to take down opponents.
Absolutely! That’s a vehicle that was introduced in Crysis 2 and can be used in Crysis 3’s multiplayer. It’s a massive piece of machinery that can do a lot of damage, but it can also be hijacked so enemies can actually jump on top of it and pull you out, jump in and take your place.
Are there any other vehicles in Crysis 3’s multiplayer?
There are more, but so far that’s the only one I’m able to talk about.
In regards to the multiplayer, what would you say is the one aspect you are really proud of?
Apart from the new features, which we’re already excited about, the New York Feed is something we’re really interested in. It’s basically a summary of all your in-game accomplishments. A drop-down screen featuring a map of New York City, it allows you to see what your friends are doing, what they’re unlocking and what maps they’re playing. Based on that information, you have access to challenges that you can actually try and complete to earn bonus XP, so it’s a way of making friends in Crysis 3 and competing with each other as well as a way to try and better yourself.
We’ve got four different types of challenges; the Social challenges are to do with your friends. You’ll be asked to top whatever your friends are doing, personal challenges are challenged are based on the last 5 games you’ve played and request that you do better than those previous games. lobby challenges are based around the people you are playing with in that session and designer challenges are things that the team will send out to players.
There’s a whole range of things to keep new players interested and pushing themselves. Obviously the difficulty level varies in all of these challenges, but it’s up to you to choose what you want to go for.
I’m guessing in the future there is scope for for DLC as well.
Sure, down the line that is something we’ll be looking at.
As a series Crysis is known for being a very technologically ambitious game no matter what system it’s on. Has there been any compromises between the PC and console versions?
It was an interesting challenge, a lot of it was actually tackled when developing Crysis 2, where that game was Crytek’s first venture into console development. They had to look at that engine and find a way to prepare it for the consoles as well, so a lot of that groundwork had already been done when working on Crysis 2. Now that we’re working on Crysis 3, the engine is in a place where we’re already happy with it so we’re completely capable of dealing with all platforms at the moment.
So there hasn’t needed to be any changes from the engine in Crysis 2 to that of Crysis 3?
There have been some changes here and there, which the Tech guys know more about, but from what we had in Crysis 2 to what we have now, everything seems to be in place and we haven’t really had any issues and could just focus on making the game creatively.
The FPS genre is getting more and more crowded every year. What would you say differentiates Crysis 3 from other games in the genre.
The Nanosuit is definitely our biggest feature that sets Crysis apart from other games. It adds a new dynamic to the genre as it’s not just about shooting anything that moves, there is actually a bit of strategy involved where even in Crysis 2 we introduced the Armour and Stealth modes, so we’re trying to encourage players to play how the want to play. So if you’re a stealthy player, that option is available to you. Obviously, we’re pushing that by introducing a lot more customisation options.
Customisation is something we’re taking very seriously, and we’re pushing that quite hard. We’ve got loads of things; cool modules, cool weapons and cool collectables to unlock as players rank up. All of those modules and weapons will help push the player to experience the kind of gameplay they want to get out of the Nanosuit.
On the subject of weapons, I remember in the 90s that FPS games were marketed around how many guns there were, how big and what they did. In the past decade, that’s probably become less of a selling point; but if you could put the most outlandish gun into Crysis, what would it do?
[Laughs] I think a long time ago, Crysis already had a nuke, which was visually spectacular. It’s already there so it’s nothing new, I would probably put that back in because it’s so awesome to look at.
Looking at the future of the industry, I’d be interested to know your thoughts on the next generation of consoles and PCs. With Nintendo not taking part in the technological arms race once again, how important do you think graphics will be in the next generation?
Well, Crytek is obviously always pushing graphics as far as we can, that’s one of the things we pride ourselves on. But at the same time, we’re reaching the end of this generation of consoles anyway. I think graphics-wise, I don’t see how much more we can do.
It feels like there’s some sort of bottleneck on what can be achieved, we’ll never again see the jump we saw between the 16 and 32/64-bit generations.
Absolutely, the changes don’t seem as large as they were previously. I guess immersion is where we’re going to go next in terms of technological improvement.
Are there any games out there that had elements of features that you wish you had thought of first?
To be honest, I think everything feels that way when making games, and many of us do look at other games for inspiration.
There’s one question that I’m contractually obliged to ask all of our interviewees, and that would be the internal debate on whether its better to keep ketchup in the fridge or in the cupboard.
[Pause] Fridge. [Laughs]
One last question, and you’re probably not going to be able to answer this. However all of my colleagues asked me to pass this question onto you. TimeSplitters 4: Where is it?
You knew this was coming. Any news?
Well….at the moment I have no news to tell you.
Well, we’ll always have the many petitions and Facebook groups out there to keep hope alive. Sorry guys, I did try!
Crysis 3 is released on February 19 in North America and February 22 in Europe for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 & PC.