‘Going Radical’ – Far Cry 3

Published on December 21st, 2012

We chat with Crytek’s Michael Read on urban jungles, Goldeneye 007 and the wonder of CryENGINE 3.

Going Radical   Far Cry 3

Michael Read is a producer on and has been part of Crytek since before they released the original Far Cry way back in 2004.

As the year draws to an end, it’s only natural to look forward and wonder what the next big game of 2013 will actually be. Crysis 3 certainly fits that bill with fantastic visuals, empowering shooter gameplay and an intruguing apocalyptic sci-fi story. We caught up with the game’s producer Michael Read to find out exactly what we can expect from the sequel and whether it will indeed be a gaming highlight.

New York City has been sealed off and turned into an urban jungle. What inspired this new setting for Crysis 3?

We came back to NYC for a number of reasons in relation to the storyline and the significance of this location specifically. In coming back here we wanted to do something different. In looking at the various areas in the previous games, we were able to identify the merits of each and work to incorporate both of those into this unique environment we’re going for in Crysis 3. Using the power of CryENGINE 3 we were able to mold these environments to our vision.

How does that jungle terrain alter how the game is played?

The first things that a lot of people are noticing in the play tests we’ve been doing is the overall feel of the game and how it relates back to Crysis 1. The openness of the maps, while maintaining the clear goals, is apparent. You have all these decrepit buildings thrown in there as well which gives more vertical opportunities, too. These elements mixed with the revamped AI systems and suit options will immerse you in the hunter theme we’ve been talking about.

Going Radical   Far Cry 3

Psycho looks a bit more weathered than when we saw him in Crysis Warhead,

It looks like you’re offering more alternative styles of play in Crysis 3. How different is a guns-blazing approach compared to a stealthier one?

There isn’t a clear crossover between the two anymore We’ve seen people using these in combinations that were never meant to be used, which is definitely one of the coolest things to watch happen. From running to jumping to uncloaking mid-air to pinning an arrow in an enemy’s face all in a single action. It used to be pretty clear cut in the previous versions and you can still do that if you choose to, but melding these two together to provide a unique experience is probably one of the more interesting things we are seeing.

We see that bows are become quite popular in videogames in 2012. What sort of archery skills does Prophet have over any of his contemporaries?

This is really no ordinary bow, and it’s not something that someone without a Nanosuit can use. It’s still very traditional in a lot of ways in terms of the basic design and ability to alter the draw weights, but things like the automated box loader for ammo types is a pretty unique thing.

What benefits does the CryENGINE 3 have for Crysis 3?

The biggest benefit that this has is that Crysis has always been built with it since its inception. Since we own and develop the technology ourselves, we have an R&D team in-house that can make changes and additions to the engine as needed to help us shape things. It’s definitely a luxury that not every developer has and allows us to push things to new heights not only for Crysis 3, but our CryENGINE licensees as well.

Going Radical   Far Cry 3

Crysis 3's various domes should provide the ideal shooter sandbox.

Will the next Crytek game use CryENGINE 3 and are you also working on a successor to the CryENGINE?

I’m not really in a place to say, but I think it’s obvious in the evolution we’ve seen since the original CryENGINE and the amount of third-party projects that are using it now that we’ll see a further progression in the engine at some point.

How is Crytek UK ramping up its multiplayer from Crysis 2?

The guys really went back and took a good look at what worked and what didn’t for the multiplayer in Crysis 2. From the server tech, gameplay, design, anti-cheat, etc. They also did a lot of case studies and testing with gamers of all different walks. The multiplayer in Crysis 2 was pretty strong, but we recognised many of the spots where we fell flat. The energy bars have now been separated in terms of armour and cloak. Sprinting has also been completely removed from being energy bound as well.

Does Crytek’s experience on multiplayer hits like TimeSplitters 2 and in some cases members of the original GoldenEye 007 team make them your go-to team for great multiplayer?

There is no doubt that there are a lot of old-school guys still there from the Free Radical days who have a lot of experience on some epic multiplayer games of our past. They were still relatively new to Crytek when they first joined us to start working on Crysis 2 and they also experienced a lot of the technical challenges we encountered on that project as well. This time around they are a well-integrated part of the family. It was really a no-brainer for us to have them take the Crysis 3 multiplayer on.

Can you explain the Challenges system in multiplayer to us?

The challenge system we have implemented into Crysis 3 is something we are calling the ‘New York Feed’. The New York Feed is a dynamically created map of New York City that creates an information flow of what you and your friends have been doing in-game. This has the ability to create custom achievements which you can switch between on different levels from friends, people in your squad, ones created by the developer, etc.

For instance, let’s say your friend achieved five stealth kills spanned over two games. The system itself may come back to you and pose a challenge for you to make six stealth kills over two games for a specified amount of XP. Our telemetry data is really quite robust, so there is almost no limit to the amount of things we could potentially add in here. Not to mention that it helps to keep the gameplay fresh.

Going Radical   Far Cry 3

Even mechanised super soldiers sometimes need to use a bow and arrow.

Crysis set the bar for being one of the best-looking titles around. Is there a pressure to continue to be the best-looking shooter?

Absolutely, but it’s not the only thing that matters to us. Making a great game should come first and the CryENGINE has helped us to do that in providing our developers with tools that minimise the time for menial and tedious tasks. On the flip side of that is the art and visual presentation. We’re always pushing the boundaries of technology out there with the engine and we plan to do just that with Crysis 3.

This interview was published in the last edition of 360Zine, which you can download here. Crysis 3 will be released on February 22nd for PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

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