In conjunction with our hands on preview, we decided to sit down with Crytek Executive Producer Nathan Camarillo to talk to him a little bit about the game. Please note, that during this interview, Camarillo was showing off a build of the game in 3D, which we hadn't seen before, which is why the first couple of questions are 3D related.
Strategy Informer: What do you think of the whole 3D 'craze' that seems to have swept the industry?
Nathan Camarillo: Well we've wanted to be here from the beginning of it and really establish a really strong benchmark with what 3D gaming can be. That's why we're using this concave 3D approach, were we start at the screen and go in, so you're looking into the world of Crysis 2. You're used to looking at this distance and looking beyond this distance in real life, so it's very natural and very comfortable and we're not throwing crap out of the screen at you, I mean you good be looking in front of you and then back at the screen and back in front of you again, and your eye starts to hurt. We want you to be able to experience 3D and 3D multiplayer for hours without getting eye fatigue, and the trick to that is starting at the screen and pushing backwards. It's a different approach to what a lot of movies and the handful of games have done so far.
It's not as simple as just making the world 3D as well, you've got to make the HUD and the Crosshair and decide what to do with everything, how much screen space it takes, what happens when this icon passes in front of geometry that's close to you. We've had to solve all these problems to make it a solid 3D experience. It's a challenge in its own regard but we have some really smart guys working on it, we've been developing this from the beginning, two years ago, with 3D in the mind.
Strategy Informer:What will you do if this doesn't last? Will you continue to make 3D games?
Nathan Camarillo: Oh yeah, I mean I don't think it's going anywhere. If I was to place a bet I'd say it's going to stick around, it's more about getting more content out there. More games, more movies, even television content in 3D. When it's quality like I hope ours is, it will make more people want it and appreciative. Maybe one day glasses will just go away and we'll see 3D just on the TV, and if that happens why wouldn't we support it.
Strategy Informer:A major part of the game is the enemy AI, it's very tactical, very challenging... were there any particular technical challenges here? AI in a game can be hard to get right sometimes.
Nathan Camarillo: It's tough because we have these big areas that you can approach any way that you want, you can survive, you can go stealth... we need AI that can hunt you down and challenging you and track your position. Be able to interact with the environment jumping onto stuff, jumping down on stuff, etc... we're not playing whack-a-mole, you know? We're not going to have a bunch of guys pop up and shoot from cover, then move cover, then move back to the first cover. We really wanted them to traverse the game space. It's not easy to get AI to do that. But once you do it, the great part is that you can use it across the entire game and it's an awesome experience, requires a lot of up front to do that.
Strategy Informer:How's the PS3 version coming along? We've seen a lot of the PC and 360 version, not a lot on the PS3 version thought.
Nathan Camarillo: It's the same as the 360 version, same visual fidelity, runs in 3D, runs at thirty frames per second. I don't know why EA picked to show the 360 here today. You'll see more of it on Playstation 3 soon I hope.
Strategy Informer:Are you guys concerned with the recent hacking of the PS3's root kit?
Nathan Camarillo: Piracy and security are always a concern, it's concerning for the whole industry. We're here to make games though, we can't solve all the problems in the world, but it can and it does affect us, which is what is concerning. But we can't necessarily solve it ourselves.
Strategy Informer:How did you keep a balance between keeping things fun but also presenting a challenge. I mean this game has survival themes, but even going through a ruined New York there's conveniently ammo dump everywhere.
Nathan Camarillo: It's about controlling the intensity and the pressure of the player, which is one of the secrets of Crysis. It's about you controlling as much of the gamespace as you can. Whether that be how well you nest yourself in cover, or give yourself an escape route, how much you know the route etc... the thing with Crysis 2, and Crysis. If you get overwhelmed and stuck out in the open, you will die, and ammo's not going to save you at that point. We don't want to ammo starve you to the point where it's frustrating, and you find yourself out in the open AND can't defend yourself.
Ammo, for us, is about the choices you make about which weapons you take into combat, which weapons are most appropriate for the situation. You really have to manage the gameplay space with the AI, and that's challenge enough there. There's some areas of the game where we will ammo starve a bit more than others, but that's not our primary mechanism for challenging. The Nano-suit energy is another thing - that dictates how far you can sprint, how far you can move stealthed. You really have to manage your time, manage your space. That's what makes it sandbox but also different from other games that don't have a nano-suit. You take three shots you die, well... the challenge there is to stay out of fire? That doesn't really hold up over the course of a game.
So what do you think? Excited? Not Excited? We're pretty sure it's going to be a good game. The only thing we don't know is whether or not it will live up to everyone's expectations. Still, it seems like the right mentality is there, and even we have to grudgingly admit, the 3D is pretty good.