"Brutality" Of Console Gamers Sharpened Crysis 2, Didn't Dumb It Down

Having despaired over technology complaints involving the PC-only first Crysis game, the main man behind Crysis 2 now dares to withstand the harsh judgments of console gamers.

But PC gamers, don't expect Crysis 2 to be dumbed down. The people behind the game say that won't happen.

Cevat Yerli, CEO of Crysis studio Crytek, used to ask a basic question about the last big game his company made. "I would ask people, 'Did you play Crysis?'" Yerli recalled in an interview in New York this week. "The answer often was, 'I don't have a PC that is powerful enough.' I was kind of hurt by it."

Crysis had been touted as a game that you probably wanted to play on the most expensive home computer you could find, it wound up scaring a lot of people away.

Yerli would be tempted to push the people who said they couldn't play the game, to see if they really didn't have a computer that could run. Maybe their problem was with the drivers needed to run the game. That's common high-end PC gaming stuff.

"I said to myself, 'This is a battle I cannot win,' Yerli told Kotaku. "So the only way to approach more gamers and deliver to more gamers was to go to the console market."

But bringing Crysis 2 to consoles would introduce new anxieties.

The Brutality Of Console Gamers

"We also realised the console market is more brutal," Yerli told Kotaku, making it clear that he didn't expect bringing his series to Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 gamers to be a cinch. "It is a more competitive space. The consumer is more brutal. There's not much middle ground there."

"They won't steal your games as much," Kotaku suggested, trying to stress a positive, given Yerli's laments about the alleged rampant piracy of earlier Crysis games on PC.

"On the 360, I'm not so sure about that," he said with a laugh.

For Yerli, one of the differences between PC gamers and console gamers, is the difference between a minute and 100 seconds. On consoles, he said, "we have to make sure split seconds they accept Crysis and not reject it. That's the brutality of the market. In PC games, you have a bit more time, maybe a minute left before you get rejected. In the console it feels like you have 10 seconds to tell me why you're awesome."

That console gamer, in other words, has less patience and demands a more streamlined experience.

Yerli was willing to brainstorm what making a game hospitable to a console gamer's more hurried judgments might mean.

"It can be we're going to start with a big boom and have a fast tempo. And, like don't make them think too much. Offer some choices, but lead him a little bit. Hand hold a little bit, but don't be linear. You saw [in the demo]that there were a lot of opportunities for exploration and tactics, yet it was quite fast-paced. Then again, he could have been slower and played slower. "

When Streamlined Doesn't Equal Dumbed-Down

What PC gamers fear, though, is that the games they love get simplified when they are brought to the console market. Many PC gamers see console gaming as the kiddie pool. Yerli know this and assures that Crysis 2 will still offer a satisfying swim, just one influenced by a console gamers' expectations.

Isn't he talking about dumbing the game down?

"No" Yerli replied. "That's exactly what it is not. This is a tighter experience than ever before. Tightness and pulsating speed doesn't necessarily mean linearisation or dumber. That's what people often say: if it's linear, it's more dumb. It's not. If it's more linear it can be more dumb, but our point is not to be more linear; our point is to be more fast-paced, more intense.

Skeptics might already wonder if this can be. Crysis 1 offered the PC gamer a first-person character armed with a Nanosuit that had four special powers; Crysis 2 simplifies that scheme to just a toggle between two modes (albeit with multiple modes within them).

"One of the most important things we did was streamlined the original Nanosuit 2 to make him a simpler choice-maker" Yerli said. "In Crysis 1, when we reviewed what didn't work with the Nanosuit, some people said there were almost too many choices to some degree. Two of them were too many. We had four and two of them are too much. People gravitated into making combos of stealth play style or armour play style. Because we saw this is actually interesting telemetry-wise."

That streamlining, he argued, makes the Crysis series better for it.

"The console market's pressure of streamlining the Nanosuit will ultimately benefit PC gamers," Yerli said. "Because streamlining the Nanosuit to be easier to access and more powerful to master ultimately allows a Nonsuit for everybody. That harshness of reviewing that would have not come if we had not been threatened by the console gamers' split-second decision-making."

*** Like divorced parents arguing for custody of a loved one, PC gamers and console gamers are often wary of the other side's influence. Cevat Yerli and the rest of the makers of Crysis 2 are in that crossfire, allowing themselves to be tugged by both groups, no longer just loyal to the PC faction.

If they can create a game that satisfies both crowds, they will have succeeded. It will be a special harmony, and an impressive weathering of passions that don't always match and don't always demand the same thing.

Crysis 2 will be out for PC and those darned PS3 and Xbox 360 consoles later this year.


Comments

    Really i thought you just had to make it pretty and add MC tomake it sell like hotcakes

    if console gamers decided within seconds of playing to stop and return it well i htink thered be alot of used copies of FFXIII

      The Final Fantasy series is a bit different in that regard. People generally buy the Final Fantasy series either on the name ("Oh, it's a new Final Fantasy? I hear those games are good"), or on previous experiences with the franchise. I personally believe that the point Cevat Yerl is trying to make is that his point applies to Crysis because it is new to the console medium.

      People who've played Crysis 1 on PC and enjoyed it will have their opinion coloured to an extent in regards to their opinion to Crysis 2 (note that this isn't necessarily a bad thing), while console gamers won't have a prior opinion going in. It's these people who need to be impressed very quickly initially for them to care.

      For example, this is one of the reasons Brutal Legend leads the game with an epic cutscene setting the story up, the procurement of your axe and guitar, destroying the place you're fighting in with your rock, meeting the femme fetale, a awesome semi-downhill drive in the Deuce (again, created with your rock), and then a fairly cool boss fight, before dropping you into the actual game, which has next to nothing to do with that initial 10 minute game sequence. Is it misleading? Extremely so. But does it draw people in with its initial showing better than it would if it was so upfront about being a pseudo-RTS? Yes, well-and-truly so.

    How can you say "don’t make them think too much." and "lead him a little bit" and then say "We are not dubming the game down"?

      Maybe he intends on making the player react to a situation instead of think about it - in other words the player thinks in the moment, rather than having time to consider the options available.

      If that's the case, it doesn't sound dumb to me at all.

    Are console gamers really stupid? Ok, yeah I do tend to think of them as the kiddie pool, buts thats because it seems Gen Y and younger ARE kids (in my eyes anyhoo). But just because they seem lazy, and have not had the thrill of installing a new grfx card to be able to run far-cry, does this make them dumb?
    I don't think so, although I do find it sad. Big games like your farcrys and crysis's moved shedloads of computer gear. If I were a publisher, I'd be buying computer parts shares. Sure, PC piracy sucks, but the reality is its going to happen. If publishers pushed your computer gear to breaking point (of course leave in some scalability), and made games only cost $20, but with an option to increase graphic levels 5 times more than your computer can run, they'd make zillions. The desire to build an uber rig to run it at full settings keeps the computer industry ticking over. At $20, I think you'd see a massive drop in piracy, and they'd make their money back in the parts sector.

    Not that I hate consoles, I has me a ps3, its great for kicking back, but ultimately its a limiting experience. I think that there must be a huge gap of new programming talent in the games industry, simply because the 'kiddies' havn't been asked to stretch their brains. Dumbing down games for them just seems disturbing to me really. Do they really believe the 'kiddies' have dropped intelligence capabilities in one or two generations???

    I think that makes the developers the stupid ones.

      It's refreshing to see a PC Gamer who isn't totally out for Console Gamer blood. I have read articles in mags like PC Power Play, that basically put down the Console Gamer because they play on Consoles.

      I'm a Console Gamer. I am because I cannot afford a decent gaming PC and also find the process of upgrading Graphics cards, drivers and ETC, Frustrating. The knowledge that a game will boot when I put it in my system is important to me.

      But I can respect the PC Gamers want and need for such things to get that extra Oompf out of a game.

      BUT my main point is, yes Console Games do seem to be dumbing down... But this isn't something that I have asked for! Heck, I was just as upset to hear about the lack of LAN play on games like MW2 on PC. PC gamers shake their fist at us Console dwellers because we're "Poisoning" the industry, but it's the DEVELOPERS who are doing this. They make the games so.

      If developers made games that required more from a gamer. I believe they would rise to the challenge.

      Given the "Fast Paced" world of console gaming, I would actually apreciate someoen to give me a title where I can slow down a bit. I go back and play Shadow of the Colossus and wonder why more games can't be like that...

    Its not so much that consoles players are stupider so much as the consoles isnt as smart or flexible as a well built rig.

    "Smarter" for PC means plenty of options i can instantly control with plenty of keyboard configurations and for those with the skills the ability to mod it.

    Anything else is stupid generalisations.

    The whole upgrading your rig to play the latest game is why I play on a console. Sure the graphics and stuff would be more shiny but spending a couple of $K for the computer to start, then the games and then spending a few hundred more on a new card a few months later for the latest game?
    Or I could spend $400 on a console and apart from the games I'm done and save the rest for a house or new bike.
    Doesn't make me stupid I just have different priorities.
    Besides puling apart computers is my job so I can't be bothered doing it at home.

      That's an argument I hear very often nowadays and one I just can't agree with. Graphics technology for games has grown stagnant over the last decade, you can buy a decent rig for the same price of a console nowadays and have it do more things to boot. If you decided to spend more to get a tougher rig, the money you lost would probably be made up by the savings you get from buying PC games over Steam and the like. I'm well aware you could import but with places like Play Asia carrying prices on avg of 60 bucks, you'd still make saving. Granted the idiots at activision seem to have set a very bad trend of selling PC games at Australian retail price on Steam and others seem to be following suit.

      What I do accept however is that many console gamers just prefer the console experience over the PC one. Whether it's this more streamlined experience or the love of sitting on the couch in front of a very large TV or the fact that many PC games nowadays are broken on release - those are all legitimate reasons for being a console gamer.

      I'm much less worried about a game being "dumbed down" for consoles as I am more worried about the PC version being neglected with regards to the game's technology. Bad Company 2 is a great recent example. As fun as the game is, it's riddled with graphical glitches and unexplained crashes. Dodgey controls seem to be the standard for PC games nowadays.

        Fair enough and I admit I have not looked into PC tech seriously for quite some time.

        I find a couch and controller more comfortable as well and have mates who will play a console game but would not invest in a gaming PC.

        I admit console games are getting a bit dumbed down tho. BBC2 is a good example with no LAN or split-screen capability - its campaign or matchmaking.
        What happened? Not that long ago big halo lan parties were the go, that was part of the whole console thing.

        The Xbox version of BBC2 can be glitchy and crashes too so their problems on that front may be deeper.

    Can someone please explain to me how it is even possible to dumb down one of the generic (storywise and gameplay wise) FPS games out there?

    I honestly believe my long lived love affair with PC gaming (I’m talking about back in the days of wolfenstein 3D and commander keen) started to die around the Xbox 360 era when consoles could actually offer decent and easy to use online multiplayer (not to mention games that just worked when you put the disc in without the need for gratuitous patching because of broken and unrefined code).

    Nvidias jump to workstation oriented graphics cards is just another nail in coffin for PC gaming and it’s pretty obvious Mmo’s are single handily having a lot to do with keeping the now sleeping PC giant a-float. Sadly its only a matter time before consoles get their hands on something like world of warcraft and the small leaps in PC technology like ATI ‘s eyefinity that do have added benefits and appeal for PC gaming will only last so long with the way home entertainment is moving forward.

    I reject the notion of console gaming being of lessor substance. Not every game is halo or the like. There are games of substance on any platform, even the DS.

    There is no one to blame but the developers for superficial, shallow experiences. These "dumbed down" games have no place in my collection, console or pc. With just recently playing Heavy Rain, I feel even stronger about this, that the whole idea of the console audience being with shorter attention spans or the like, is quite simply a crock of shit. The sales of Heavy Rain prove this. We want rich, innovative interactive experiences which treat us like adults, I want that for PC gaming or consoles.

    Geez I thought us PC guys were the harsh ones :P I mean all the console guys were telling us to shut up about dedicated servers with that whole MW2 thing. Shut up and enjoy broken multiplayer! Hehe :P

    Then look at L4D2, that was a fiasco. I honestly thing we do complain and judge much more harshly than console gamers.

    How well do you think Halo would have gone if it came out on PC?

      halo 1 and 2 did come out on pc, and it was a horrible excuse for a game, i remember enjoying halo on xbox the 1st time i played it simply because it was a fps on a console that was actualy playable, when playing it on pc i started to notice the fact that i had gone through the same room 20 times that they copy/pasta'd all through the game which was made even more noticeable by the quality of the other pc FPS games that came out that year (the original call of duty came out about the same time) and even was pretty horrid in comparison to the quality of fps games that came out before it (not talking about graphics wise you graphicswhores)both no one lives for ever games, deus ex and even serious sam and serious sam second encounter came out 2 years prior to halo pc, and the vehcle sections were hardly as innovative as everyone claimed when put up against pc games of the time as well, shit... turok 2 had a fucking dinosaur with machineguns and a rocketlauncher, and that was even on N64! anyway i better stop ranting since this has gone way off track since i started typing

    I thought the single player of Crysis and Wars was pretty generic fare and very boring, with some of the worst AI I have ever played against. I spent 100's of hours in Multiplayer, though and then went back and tried the single player campaign running circles around the useless AI. Crysis is about the suit and the 'sandbox rambo' style of the MP (or stick to a squad) ... I mean you can play it like you want to play it and still kick arse if you can master the suit and learn how to handle the weapons properly. Forget about the single player campaign, seriously.

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