Exclusive Interview: Is Crytek on the Ryse?

Once darlings of the games industry, Crytek have taken a bit of a beating from the gaming press recently. Following the failures of the last two Crysis sequels to live up to the legacy of the first game the studio’s next project, Xbox One exclusive Ryse, has been criticised by fans and journalists alike for its ‘No Fail’ QTE-based E3 presentation and the subsequent microtransaction announcement.

Arcadian Rhythms was lucky enough recently to sit down with Crytek’s  Disappointment Coordinator Chrystopher Johnson to discuss the reaction to Ryse following E3, alongside some of the changes we should expect to see in the game following that response.

Ryse 1

AR:
Firstly, thank you for joining us, I understand you’re a very busy man! Could you tell us what the mood was within Crytek after everyone unanimously agreed that Ryse is a terrible idea?

CJ:
The mood – well, we were expecting it, so it wasn’t one of surprise. We knew going in that it was a shit idea, and once we had Microsoft on board in a design sense, it was only going to get worse. One of the challenges of trying to bring a terrible idea to the table at a big event like E3 [pauses to drink from hip flask] is that – how do you get people to buy it? Because when they hear about it, they’ll say “We don’t want that!” [laughs] One route which I think a lot of studios take is that they go back to the drawing board to see if there’s a good game in there. We wanted to do something different, we said to ourselves – and this was the result of a lot of internal discussion – “When people buy a new console, they just buy the coolest looking game for it, so fuck it.” That’s been our motto throughout.

(Chrystopher removes his jacket to show me the back. It says: “Qui emat eam usquam”)

CJ:
That means ‘They’ll buy it anyway’. We found this Google Translate thing online, it’s a great tool, really great. It helped us a lot with the production of these jackets.

AR:
That’s a nice quality jacket.

CJ:
We were really pushing the limits of what bespoke jackets can do now – as a company, we’ve always done that. The lettering is actually felt which I’ve glued on. It’s exciting to be a part of that.

AR:
Absolutely. That’s quite an unusual phallic symbol there underneath the lettering?

CJ:
It is, it’s a symbol of our relationship which Microsoft, and also of our relationship with consumers. It shows a penis, representing Crytek, entering an anus, representing Microsoft, and then entering a mouth, representing consumers, and you can see there that some of the Microsoft’s faecal mucuses have ended up on the consumer’s teeth.

Chrys

Chrys

AR:
It’s a lovely image. So, Ryse is intentionally awful, but you’re planning to adjust the gameplay following the response to that? That seems a little counter intuitive?

CJ:
It’s a matter of perspective but I see where that view comes from. Ryse has always been a sad joke – that’s the approach we’ve taken from the start. So when gamers responded to that, we needed to balance our ideas for the game with the need to actually sell this crap to people. That’s the message now – we’re not massively changing the game, we’re just selling it differently. There will be some changes to the gameplay still, but minor. I think it’s safe to say that what little vision we did have is ripe for being mugged off if we need to compromise it for marketing demands.

AR:
Are you able to detail these compromises?

CJ:
[laughs] Oh God no. We’re barely conscious here. There’s no paperwork, there’s no plan. I don’t even have a desk. I sit in a pile of old crisps when I go into the office. Most of the time I don’t go into work, I just drive around in my car, really fast, like deep down I want to crash, y’know?

AR:
Like Crysis 2 Multiplayer?

CJ:
Oh snap! Haha – but seriously, yes, just like that.

AR:
I think our time is about to run out, but I really appreciate you taking the time to talk with us, and for sharing so much of your crack cocaine with us here.

CJ:
I enjoyed it! Sorry about the crying before the interview started.

AR:
Do you want to take the opportunity to sell Ryse to our readership one last time before we bring it to a close?

CJ:
Sure. I guess what we’re trying to say is: What do you want from next-gen? If you want a game which plays itself whilst you’re on holiday, this is that game. Hell, you don’t even need your Xbox One hooked up to a TV to play Ryse, so if you’re very poor, or very busy, it’s designed for you. If you just hate games but you want a cool gadget in your living room which you can show off, this is ideal – it looks fantastic, but every copy that gets purchased pushes the games industry deeper into its grave with a firehose torrent of piss and shit. You just don’t get that elsewhere.

AR:
Thank you for joining us.

CJ:
Thank you.