Just days after it was officially announced, Crytek yesterday unveiled the first official trailer, featuring gameplay from what is quickly becoming the essential next addition to the Crysis franchise, and the game looks dazzlingly good. See for yourselves…
The game runs on a modified version of Crytek’s impressive CryENGINE 3, and all signs point towards another visually stunning title in the critically acclaimed sci-fi shooter series. But can the substance of the game match up to those already gleaming visuals?
First, what we know of the story: we will find ourselves in New York, 2047, under a nanodome constructed by CELL Corp in order to wipe out the remaining Ceph invaders who were not wiped out in the Central Park battle at the end of Crysis 2. But all may not be quite so well-intentioned, or so thinks returning character Prophet, who believes that CELL has far murkier, far more terrible intentions in mind, harvesting alien tech in advance of a global takeover. Sounds ominous.
According to senior creative director Rasmus Hojengaard, who spoke in a special preview of the game to journalists:
“These nanodomes have been built by CELL to contain Ceph activity. CELL has accelerated this forestation process so you have this city that in 20 years has grown into a rain forest that would usually take 500 years to develop. The city is a completely different take on the post-apocalyptic setting. We spent a lot of time ensuring that the environment mirrors nature, rather than just slapping foliage onto each scene.”
That environment looks like Crytek’s biggest draw at this stage, with Hojengaard almost admitting that the choice to entirely change New York’s ecological set-up was in order to give gamers something to gawp at, rather than as a response to narrative needs. The new Big Apple, over-run with nature will be cut into seven identifiable areas – the Seven Wonders – each defined by a discernible natural elements – from mountains to jungle to swamp – and offering rich new environments and whole new, diverse battle opportunities:
“The vegetation gives us a lot of variety in terms of scale and mood,” said Hojengaard. “This level is very dense and claustrophobic and this dictates the sort of gameplay you should logically follow – stealth. But in a large grassland, it will be completely different, more of a sandbox experience. Some levels are more funneled, more linear, others are much more open-ended. We’re taking the ups from each of the previous games and trying to avoid the downs!”
Added to that, Crytek have amped up the arsenal by making a lot more weapons available to Prophet and the player, chiefly including a brand new bow (and different projectiles) and access to Ceph weaponry thanks to the protagonist’s new Ceph-infected suit. That extends to include Syndicate-like remote-hacking to change the dynamic of a battle completely, and while there are opportunities and new skills opened thanks to the merged tech, it is a double-edged sword, as Hojengaard qualifies:
“We’re playing in to the mix of Ceph and human DNA and how that effects the suit. It’s very important that everything ties in, organically, so the nanosuit has an arc of its own that develops alongside Prophet. And in some ways the suit is his enemy – Prophet wants to be human, but he becomes more alien as the game goes on, because the suit is such a useful tool kit. He’s really conflicted. We’re wrapping up all that stuff in the game. And there’s a big revelation at the end…”
It’s pretty hard to resist the comparisons with the woeful Alien: Resurrection in terms of that particular narrative conceit, and what price on the revelation being somewhat similar to the end of Ripley’s weakest film outing. And Hojengaard’s description of the character further extends the probably unintentional similarities:
“He’s a really troubled character. He’s been forced to make decisions that have killed men and he wants to get back at those who dictated his actions. He has some long-term goals as a human – or whatever he is. I won’t go into that right now, but it’s a more human story than Crysis 2; it’s less about the hardcore sci-fi and more about the characters inside the story.”
So, a conflicted hero, a boosted armoury and beautiful environments: at this stage everything looks good for Crytek’s threequel, and with Hojengaard and co busting a gut to excel beyond all expectations, we can expect subsequent revelations to be of an equally high calibre. E3 will no doubt bring confirmation…
Crysis 3 is set for release in Spring 2013.