Crytek's Jack Mamais on Crysis.

Far Cry, the ambitiously nonlinear tropical shooter released in 2004, was an uncommonly strong debut effort for German outfit Crytek. In stark contrast to most popular shooters at the time, Far Cry--particularly during its technically impressive wide open island coast segments--eschewed the heavily scripted, narrative-driven gameplay mentality largely championed by World War II-based games striving for cinematic immersion. Far Cry often put players in enormous, lush sandboxes, faced with a number of enemies and no predetermined method to take them out or avoid them. Partially as a result of this structure, and partially because of some heavily stacked situations, the game gained a reputation for being at times unforgivingly difficult. As for the sparse and barely-explained story, it had something to do with genetic mutation experiments, a b-movie Dr. Moreau kind of thing. That didn't much matter; the game's appeal was its open design approach, framed by extremely cutting-edge visuals. Far Cry's approach hasn't been much duplicated since its release, but fortunately for those who enjoyed the unique if flawed shooter, Crytek is back with Crysis, which the company claims will take Far Cry's inventive properties and ratchet them up another order of magnitude. During last week's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, had the opportunity to meet with Crytek's Jack Mamais, lead designer on both Far Cry and Crysis. Mamais, whose prior credits include production, design, and QA on several MechWarrior titles as well as cult classic Interstate '76, spoke on Crytek's design philosophies and goals with Crysis.

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