Ryse: Son of Rome's execution system when Crytek showed off the game at E3 earlier this year – but probably not in the way the developer wanted them to. Ryse's executions, which grant the player various in-game perks – and see protagonist Marius stabbing, gouging, slicing, bashing and otherwise maiming barbarians – are performed via short quick time events. Even though the majority of Ryse's combat has an ebb and flow similar to the Batman Arkham games – flurries of attacks sprinkled with timely parries – many prospective players, myself included, worried about the QTE-infused combat getting stale.
Crytek has responded to those concerns, and the build of Ryse being shown at Gamescom has a significantly altered execution system. Gone are the garish button prompts. Instead, enemies are subtly highlighted with the color of the appropriate button: Yellow for the shield (Y) and blue for the sword (X). By watching Marius' animations and keeping an eye out for each color, I easily slipped into the rhythm of various executions, something I can't say about the E3 build I played in June.
The E3 reaction didn't directly inspire the changes to the execution system, design director Patrick Esteves tells me, but it definitely played a part. "We were already down a course. We already knew where executions were going. And, of course, in game development, we have to figure out what's the best way to do something."
"People don't like the idea of a QTE-based combat system. Thank God we're not a QTE-based combat system," says Esteves, alluding to the fact that there is more to Ryse's combat than people may have perceived from the E3 demo. Just as I did in June, players will eventually discover that the combat is more about a dance-like back-and-forth between Marius and foes than it is about executions. "That was the first thing," says Esteves, "and the second thing is, is the communication language good enough for the game?" Crytek decided it wasn't.