Interview: Far Cry

Many journalists who saw in the last year E3 demo of first-person shooter Far Cry were really fascinated by this game. Great graphics and psyhics engine, tropical islands as game´s enviroment, some elements of tactics, all of these things can we expect from FPS Far Cry. Don´t hesitate and read our interview with the game´s producer Christopher Natsumee.
Interview: Far Cry

Doupe: First of all, please tell us something about yourself and your company Cryotek.

C.N.: Hello, my name is Christopher Natsumee and I´m the producer at Crytek.

Doupe: Could you in brief describe your title Far Cry? Please tell us something more about the story of your game...

C.N.: We are not releasing all of the details of the plot right now, but what we can tell you is this:

Jack, the hero, has left his mysterious and bitter past behind and dropped out of society to run a charter boat business in the South Pacific. He is hired by a beautiful journalist to take her secretly to an uncharted island in Micronesia. The game begins as Jack`s boat is destroyed by mercenaries and he is stranded on the island. He must find the journalist to understand what is going on there…

Doupe: The lead character of your game is going to be the captain of a ship. What could you tell us about this man?

C.N.: Yes he`s a boat skipper, actually he became boat skipper for some reasons that will be revealed to the player during his adventure. But let`s keep some surprise :-).

Doupe: How long have you been working on the game and on your own graphic engine?

C.N.: Crytek have been created in 1999, we`ve been working on the CryEngine since then. We worked with Nvidia to develop a technological demo for the Geforce, which demo you could have seen at E3 2001 and since then we`ve been working with Ubi Soft to develop Far Cry.



Doupe: Far Cry is set in the year 2020 on a few tropical islands in the pacific. Why did you choose this enviroment for your game? How large will the islands be?

C.N.: We choosed then because we wanted to bring something different. With tropical islands you have several advantage, you can have a large variation of settings, from tropical beaches where everyone would like to spend their holiday :-), but as well dense jungle, swamps, volcanic mountains...So a great variations of landscape and thus of gameplay.

It` s difficult ot give you a size of the islands, let`s say about few kilometers.

Doupe: Far Cry won´t be only a classic first-person shooter, you are going to add some elements of tactics. How important will these elements be? Please tell us some example where the player uses these elements?

C.N.: Actually the "tactics" that the player will develop will come from the AI system we have in the CryEngine. Indeed, our enemy AI are designed to work with their environments in a way other games have not yet attempted. In most games, the AI are relatively passive, relying on the player to hunt them down and fight them - in Far Cry, it is different - the AI will hunt the player down in extremely varied and natural terrain. This is already up and running - those who have had a chance to play it say that it is a completely different experience from other FPS games.

Also, our AI have hobbies. They do things when they are bored. They read books, talk to each other, and relieve themselves on trees when there is nothing better to do. But once they are alarmed, they will immediately stop these activities and deal with the player.

What is coolest about this is that it is systematic - they do not have simple scripted behaviour that repeats, as in many games - they actually meaningfully respond to the player actions and to the environment. Thus, the way you play the game will change the way the AI respond to you. It makes replaying the levels really fun, because you can try different tactics and strategies each time, and see how it changes the AI responses.

Doupe: As far as we know, Far Cry will be mission-based. How many missions will the full version of your game offer? How long will it be?

C.N.: It is not really relevant to speak about missions. The game plays out as a continuous story that the players can participate in - it will be broken into different locations and different goals, but it all flows together into a complete story. Throughout the story, the player will have to explore, rescue people, find information, and most importantly, kill a bunch of stuff using variety of methods.

Doupe: Please tell us some example of a typical mission. What will be the player`s objectives? Can you unveil some of the locations on the islands player are going to visit?

C.N.: Again difficult to describe a typical mission, since as I said the game plays as a continuous story. For the locations, it will be very varied from paradise beach where you can see at several miles, or dense jungle with mist where your visibility will be few meters, mountains, volcano mountains...



Doupe: Will player cooperate with friendly characters?

C.N.: Some NPCs will help you as well (but not a lot :-), but it is more help in the sense of guiding you in the adventure rather than cooperation, although you will have some too

Doupe: What type of gadgets and equipment will Far Cry include? Have you prepared any delicacies?

C.N.: In addition from a good bunch of weapons (assault, sniper rifles, rocket launcher...), you will use some other gadgets in the game such as binoculars (very important since you have a view distance of several kilometers in the game), night vision, heat vision, other "sneaky" weapons, vehicles...

Doupe: Year by year we can see a lot of good as well as poor first-person shooters being released. What innovations can players expect in Far Cry?

C.N.: Most "visible" is the graphics quality, very detailed environments and characters (thanks to Polybump), SFX, etc. But some places where we have a real advantage are in the tactically intelligent AI, long range gameplay and variety of gameplay. We are sure that people who play the game will find a really interesting mix of action and tactics that they have never played before, where the action is fast and furious, but the player must think of good tactical decisions in the heat of the battle.

Doupe: What multiplayer support can players expect to see? What new multiplayer mods will Far Cry offer?

C.N.: We are still working on exactly which modes we will support, but you can be sure that the basics (CTF, Deathmatch, etc.) will be in there. And in our massive outdoor environments, they should be really original and challenging. The maps will be made especially for the multiplayer games, but will use a number of the assets from the single player games, so they will retain a similar atmosphere and flavour.

Doupe: Many journalists who saw in the last year your E3 demo stamp as most interesting part of your game the graphics. Released screenshots were also really very impressive. Could you tell us something more about new features of your own graphic engine CryEngine and their application in the game?

C.N.: We can honestly say that you have never in your life seen outdoor environments like this in a FPS. We have literally thousands of trees and objects - all of them bending in the wind, and reacting to the player and enemies as they move through the environment.

As for indoor, we have all the bells and whistles you could possibly want, including a completely new lighting system that allows us to use dozens of lights in any area of the game and our PolyBump technology, which gives the environment a much more detailed look than it would normally have with the same number of polys.

Also, though it is not usually considered a visual feature, we have an amazing physics engine that allows the entire world to come alive for the player, with objects that move when you shoot or bump them, or hit them with your Hummer as you drive through the levels. This creates an even deeper level or immersion that takes the graphical beauty to the next level.



Doupe: Your graphic engine is also available for other game developers. Did you receive any licencing requests yet?

C.N.: We want to finish our game first.

Doupe: Do you have any idea of the system requirements of Far Cry?

C.N.: This is pretty soon to give you final system requirements. At the moment the game runs already on a CPU of 1Ghz and 3D Card GeForce 3 or equivalent, with 512Mb RAM.

Doupe: At what development phase is Far Cry right now? And when do you plan to release it?

C.N.: Production of course. We aim to release it by end of 2003.

Doupe: According to information on your website, Far Cry isn´t developed only for PC but also for PlayStation 2, Xbox and GameCube. Do you plan to release all version at the same time? How will these versions differ from each other?

C.N.: Well the engine can be ported on any console system, but at the moment we concentrate on the PC game only. But yes, console versions of Far Cry are a possibility.

Doupe: Retail version of your game will include a game editor. What will it offer?

C.N.: We would like to, we don`t know yet if the editor will be ready to ship with retail game, but we try and anyway we want to give the player the possibility to create their map and MODS.

Doupe: Why do you think your game will be successful, especially in competition of other generally expected FPS games like Unreal 2 or Doom III?

C.N.: We hope so and we`re doing everything for :-)! Both games are of course "legends" for the FPS genre, but we think Far Cry has something new to bring to gamers too.

Doupe: Thank you for your time and patience. Is there anything else you would like to tell to our readers?

C.N.: You`re welcome. And last thing Those of you who cannot afford to take a vacation to the South Pacific this Christmas will definitely be able to check out a copy of Far Cry and have the next best thing. Don`t forget the sun-tan lotion :-).

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