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Video interview: Crytek Executive Producer Nathan Camarillo, on Crysis 2


Crysis has long been the poster child of the PC gaming community. Still heralded as a technical benchmark for the platform, the first Crysis game exploited the power of PCs, going far beyond what consoles could initially offer. Crytek has managed to set another technical benchmark with Crysis 2, offering a similar experience on consoles. We spoke to Crytek's executive producer Nathan Camarillo on the process of transitioning to console development, and how that affected game development.

Joystiq: Console gamers are likely to be unfamiliar with the story of the first Crysis. Will that put them at a disadvantage going into the second game?
Nathan Camarillo: With Crysis 2, we're considering it in some ways a reboot of the franchise. But we're not starting over from scratch. There will be continuity between Crysis 1 and Crysis 2 for players who have played Crysis 1, but you don't need to have played it in order to understand what Crysis 2 is about. We're hoping that the story and gameplay is so compelling that people will be encouraged to try Crysis 1 after, but in no way is it a prerequisite.

Why make the switch to consoles now? How do you address complaints from dedicated PC fans that are concerned about a "watered down" experience caused by multiplatform development?
In actuality, our switch to focusing development to include consoles has strengthened the quality of game that we're making for Crysis 2, because it's allows us to look at, with a higher degree of scrutiny, what it is we're trying to do and how we go about accomplishing it. It's not "can we just do it on console?" Is it the best decision to make for the product? And can we do it on consoles and PC?

You can probably dig up quotes where we said "you'll never play a game like Crysis or Crysis-style gameplay on consoles. It just can't be done." We took that as a challenge to ourselves because if we don't do it, someone else will. So, how can we improve our technology? How can we change our approach to game design? Technology implementation? Development of art? Pushing visuals? How can we take that kind of game that no one else has and put it on consoles and reach a broader audience with it? That's really what we've been able to do with Crysis 2. It's a challenge we put out for ourselves, and we're ambitious enough to go after it.

"You won't have this gigantically long, epic campaign with long parts of boring."

With Crysis 1 on PC only, you can kind of brute force it. "Well, just throw more hardware at it." That was the solution to making a better game. So, in some ways, in places, it was a little unfocused and not as tight as it could have been. But with console, it brings new things to mind. In some ways, it's the constraint of the platform. It's the audience that you're trying to reach, and the other games you're competing with. When you're competing with PC-only games with a keyboard and mouse, it's a much different audience than when you're competing with games that are multiplatform all the time. So, it's really allowed us to focus on the core of the game, the core of the Nanosuit, making the gameplay controls more accessible, making sure that our pacing and gameplay beats are much tighter, and much more focused than in Crysis 1. You won't have this gigantically long, epic campaign with long parts of boring. It's tighter, it's more focused, it's more intense, and the rewards are much bigger for the guy playing it.

How accurate is the game's representation of New York City? Are you attempting a 1:1 recreation?
If you lived in New York, you might be able to walk out of your door and go "haha, I looked at this place. It's not exactly 1:1 the same." But you'd be hard-pressed to go "it doesn't feel like the place." We are taking some minor liberties, but it's very authentic at the same time. And we've gone through a lot of pain to make sure that that accuracy is there.

It's really important for us to nail that authenticity, that most games don't bother to nail. They do a cartoonish depiction of New York, and it's got some tall buildings and repetitive streets. There are some minor liberties that we're taking, because to match all the gameplay spaces that we want to go to that are really compelling, from setting and theme and resonance. If we replicated them 1:1, they might not work for gameplay.

For more on Crysis 2, read our eyes-on impressions.

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