Electronic Arts used the annual Gamescom convention in Germany to reveal the multiplayer experience for Crysis 3. Developer Crytek, which is based just an hour train ride from Cologne, was on hand to explain how the Hunter mode changes multiplayer up. Rasmus Hoejengarrd. director of creative development at Crytek, talks about what’s in store for PC gamers in this exclusive interview.
Game On: What’s it like as a developer knowing PC gamers can crank up the levers on high and experience Crysis 3 as you intended it to be played?
Rasmus Hoejengarrd: We’re definitely pushing the PC as a defining platform for visual benchmark and we want to go above and beyond anything we’ve done visually before. We’re pushing the visual quality very, very high and we’re setting the bar very, very high, without losing respect for the other platforms. It looks really stunning on PC already and we still have a lot of time to go. The Canyon level was early alpha code but we were at a point where it really shows the promise the visuals on PC will have, especially with the diversity we have in the environments. This whole concept of seven wonders really pushed seven particular looks. That means that we can really utilize dynamic lighting technologically, depending on what kind of environment it is we are pushing. With some situations the level of detail is important, others it’s the scope that’s important, and others it’s about the amount of objects in the scene that’s important. It all differs depending on what kind of environment you’re playing in.
What were your goals heading into Crysis 3 multiplayer?
RH: We wanted to better the experience from what we had in Crysis 2. We want to always improve on what we do, and we listen to a lot of feedback from communities and the feedback internally at Crytek. With the Hunter mode, we wanted to create something that resonates well with what the campaign is about. We’re pushing the sensation of being a hunter inside this urban rainforest of New York City. We needed a multiplayer mode that reflected that, and that’s what hunter mode is. You play as either the prey or the hunter, and get to play as both if you manage to be one of the cells that doesn’t make it.
Can you explain exactly what Hunter mode is all about?
RH: The Hunter mode is an asymmetrical mode where you have two versus either 10 or 14, depending on whether it’s console or PC. The 10 guys are cell troopers that have been shot down in a transport by hunters. They basically need to survive before they can get evacuated. And in order to do so, they need to be light on their toes. They come equipped with motion detectors and advanced weaponry. The hunters come fully cloaked all the time and they have a lot of strength and they have a bow. They are the predator and you are the victim. The twist to this mode is that if you don’t make it as a cell trooper, if you do get eliminated from this group, you will be respawned as a hunter. So it becomes increasingly difficult to survive as a cell trooper. This gives you two chances to win because if you do manage to get evacuated as a cell trooper you win a lot of XP and you win the battle. If you don’t survive, then you better take those cell troopers down because you want to be on the other side of the thing. It’s like an extra secondary reward available, if you get killed and end up on the hunter team. It’s a very fun, interesting mode. It’s really paranoid to be the last guy standing and have five seconds left on the clock, because the reward is big if you make it. Those five seconds will feel like an eternity.
What role does the environment play in this multiplayer experience?
RH: We just want to have a map that fits well with this type of gameplay. Right now we’re showing two maps. One is the crash site, which is the one we brought forward from Crysis 2 but have improved. And then there’s the hunter map, which is very eerie and foggy. It’s set in the old art museum in Manhattan and it has a lot of verticality, a lot of branches you can climb over. It really feels like you’re hunting because the whole thing feels like nature. It doesn’t really feel like a city. Some maps are more biased towards cities and rubble and ruin. We want to create environments that reflect the type of multiplayer mode you’re playing. But we aren’t really talking about that many different types of maps yet. We’ll have to wait a little bit with that.
What role will the weapons, especially the new bow, play in the new multiplayer?
RH: The bow is a little bit limited compared to the campaign. Some of the tips you cannot use, but we do have the explosive rounds and the stealth one. In Hunter mode in particular, you just need to feel like the hunter and do that with the bow. Without wanting to make any kind of parallel to the movie Predator, I imagine the hunter would feel like with that bow and constantly being cloaked and sneaking around and using the environment. You can push cars. You can rip up a lamp post and use that as a melee weapon too. There are a lot of things in the environment that you can use as well. Also as a cell., you can pick up shields like using a car door as a shield. There are all these things you can do to use the environment to survive. So it’s both an offensive thing, but it’s also a defensive thing to use the environment. That’s an additional layer of interactivity that you have regardless of what team you’re on when you play.
What role has fan feedback played in allowing you guys to push yourselves with new multiplayer modes?
RH: We wanted to keep the layers of intricacies that you have with the nanosuit, but we also wanted to make it more accessible because it is a fairly complex piece of hardware. You can do a lot of things and it can be a little confusing for players when you just jump into the game for the first time. On the flip side of that, also if you’re really good at playing it, you aren’t incredibly overpowered. Accessibility is an important thing and it’s something that we’re constantly working on since we do have a fair amount of time left before the game actually ships. We’re taking a lot of the fan feedback into consideration. With the Hunter mode, we took a very particular set of features of the nanosuit and said those are the ones you can use in this mode, so that it’s very clear. It’s not like you have to figure out when you cloak. We say these are the things you can do in this mode, so use them to the best of your ability to be a hunter. That’s something that we’ve taken very seriously, and that’s part of the community feedback also.