Cyborg Rambo stalking the urban rainforest.
Rasmus Hojengaard, Director of Creative Development at Crytek, started the Crysis 3 reveal event by summing up the series, starting with the hardware-intensive PC-exclusive island jungle of Crysis in 2007 before moving on to comment on 2011's urban warfare in Crysis 2, which moved the series to New York and onto consoles. Crysis 3 looks to take the chocolate of Crysis and the peanut butter of Crysis 2 and put them together in a mass of gameplay confection goodness.
Crysis 3 is set in the year 2047, twenty years after the end of the war with the alien Ceph from the previous games. The cities of the world are covered by giant Nanodomes designed to undo the damage to the environment by the alien race by encouraging plant growth, causing the cities to become overrun with dense jungle life. Hojengaard calls it the "shape language of a city defining the shape language of the rainforest".
In Crysis 3, Prophet, disenfranchised with those who once held his leash, has returned to New York City, The Liberty Dome. His Nanosuit is so infused with alien tech that he can now use Ceph weaponry (though he can't reload it, so it must be discarded when it runs out). The compound bow he wields is highly symbolic, as Rasmus tells us that Prophet has literally changed "from the hunted into the hunter".
The bow can be fired while cloaked, another first for the Crysis series, increasing the emphasis on stealth. Hojengaard mentions that this is merely further support of the Crysis game formula: "Assess, Adapt, Attack.” Or expanded: Assess the threat, Adapt to the situation, and Execute your attack. For AAA, that sure beats jumpstarting a car.
After talking up the game a bit, Hojengaard stands by while a staff member plays the live demo. It starts with Prophet heading towards a rendezvous with Psycho, as he exits his departure point into a Chinatown that has become an overgrown swamp. Prophet spies some Ceph, who apparently are still around, under the Liberty Dome at least, and opts for a series of silent, invisible kills with the bow. The Ceph aren't exactly thrilled with this and send out some drones that have the ability to see through the nanosuit's invisibility. That's when all hell breaks loose.
Under the demo player's guidance, Prophet grabs a series of weapons from the downed Ceph, including a sort-of-grenade launcher and what seems to be an assault rifle that shoots what looks like lightning, and then he eventually latches onto a Cell Industries prototype that Psycho tells him on his comms has a five-hundred round per-second firing rate. (I can only assume the rounds are roughly the size of ball-bearings based on the manageable size of the magazine.) That thing seems to tear through the Ceph like tissue paper.
Relying on his armor to keep him from harm, he slams his fist into a Ceph warrior at the top of a building, sending the alien brute flying. In another area, across the street, a Ceph fires a scattergun that tears through the brick cover in the most convincing-looking environmental destruction I've seen since the striders destroyed the houses at the end of Half-Life 2: Episode 2 (except that it seemed like real-time dynamic destruction). He also fires off a series of Rambo-inspired exploding arrowings, and a diagram showed earlier in the presentation indicated that there will be electric/stun-type of arrows as well.
The game, as expected, looks amazing. It's running on what Hojengaard calls an extended version of CryEngine 3, the engine originally developed for Crysis 2. He mentioned a lot of “franchise legacy” are working on the title, and the apparent cross of both games into the new one seems to show a game development choice to adapt the strengths of both titles into something greater than the sum of the parts.
Hojengaard narrated the second gameplay playthrough, explaining elements that we were seeing, like the polish of the game's newly developed simulated lens flares, the little frogs living in the swamp meant to recall the dense living environments of the first Crysis, and how the design was meant to encourage but never dictate the use of stealth. He also discussed the idea that the overgrown New York would allow the team to examine the “seven wonders of the natural rainforest", with the swamp being one, with others including grasslands and canyons that would call to mind a post-apocalyptic environment.
The presentation ended with the intense gameplay trailer. Quite a bit of the material in the trailer has come straight from the demo, sharing its lush beauty and adaptive action. Crysis 3 is shaping up to be an intense, beautiful first person-shooting (and archery) experience. It's slated to arrive on PC, Playstation 3, and Xbox 360 in Spring 2013.