“I Want to Be a Part of It…”: Crysis 2 Comes to Consoles

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Every gamer or tech enthusiast knows Crysis. Owning a PC that could run the futuristic military sci-fi first-person-shooter became one of those mythical achievements that separated mere mortals from would-be gaming gods. The game’s sizzling visuals and technical brilliance served as a double-edged sword, though, one that saw Crysis became more renown as a benchmark than an actual play experience.

Unveiling Crysis 2 this week in downtown Manhattan, Cevat Yerli, the president and CEO of the Crytek development studio, said he wants to change all that. He wants to Crysis 2 to be as resonant narratively as it will be technically. Yerli would also like players to feel like they’re expressing themselves through their play style. And, finally, he wants to bring that Crytek’s best-of-class graphics aspirations to the current generations of consoles.

And, to accomplish those goals, he’s going to have to blow up New York City.

Yerli said that New York City represents the “pride of humanity”, a pinnacle of achievement that’s emotionally relevant because everyone around the world knows the Big Apple. The city’s iconic locations serve as the backdrop for the battles against the aliens threatening humanity and filling the FPS sequel with scenes of “catastrophic beauty” where those landmarks are under siege would be part of motivating players to want to save it.

Another part of motivating players is a focus on improving the way they approach story. Helping the Crytek team pump up their storytelling chops is well-respected science-fiction novelist Richard K. Morgan. The author of Altered Carbon and Black Man identified himself as an avid console gamer and said he was thrilled to working with Yerli and company. In trying to talk about what he saw a the gap between print storytelling and visual media, Morgan invoked Ray Bradbury’s classic novel Fahrenheit 451. In the book’s dystopian future, the lead character–a reluctant “fireman” whose job it is to burn books– is told that saving the ideas inside the books what’s truly important. If they survive, the ideas can live inside the televised media that numbs the populace of Fahrenheit 451’s world. Morgan says that he thinks the same way about video games. Big, narrative ambitions like what we find in books can find their way in to games.

One of the ways Morgan and Crytek aim to make Crysis 2 a better story construct than its predecessor is by making the Nanosuit an unpredictable character in its own right. The franchise’s iconic battle togs will have a character arc of sorts and Morgan hinted at a mystery at the heart of the game’s new Nanosuit 2. But, of course, the Nanosuit’s the key to much more than story. It’s the means by which players will be wreaking havoc on their enemies and Yerli says that its abilities are changing for the sequel.

The abilities played out during a live demo of the game on Xbox 360. Those assembled saw the suit shift seamlessly between Maximum Stealth and Maximum Armor, two attributes which render the player either invisible or invincible. Everyone’s experience will be different depending on how they go back and forth between the two powers. Seeing the suit in action made a lot of Crytek’s ambitions clear. The Nanosuit’s letting a member of the dev team jump from rooftop to the ground without a making a sound. He then sneaks on a squad of corporate thugs and takes them out with a mix of sneakiness and tank-like invulnerability. You can channel the suit’s power to increase movement speed and jumping ability, but there wasn’t much of that on display in the levels we saw being played.

This is only the beginning of we’re beginning to learn about Crysis 2 and we’re sure there much more to come. Crysis 2 comes this holiday season. Stay tuned for more news as we learn it.