Crysis (er) not in crisis, actually

By Kieron Gillen on February 1st, 2008 at 5:42 pm.

Money, money, money.

Now, this is an interesting twist in a tale. Ever since people described its first month sales figures as disappointing, it’s been one of those accepted gamer beliefs that the PC-punishing FPS was a flop at retail. Except Joystiq brings to our attention that Crysis has been announced as going Platinum. That is, a million copies sold, worldwide. I’ve been expecting this – I recently saw the UK figures for PC retail, and Crysis wasn’t exactly that far down the list. It kind of shows that we really shouldn’t jump to conclusions, especially when even then those original conclusions were pretty untenable if examined closer. Those who actually looked would have realised that “first month” was actually just over two weeks on sale, and the NPD figures put that 86K actually over what they estimated it would.

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33 Comments »

  1. restricted3 says:

    So, what about UT3?. Did they also sell more?.

    They certainly deserve it more than others out there, specially since they seem to be the only ones that know what “optimization” means nowadays

  2. Kieron Gillen says:

    I was going to put a UT3 punchline at the end of it, but decided against it.

    In short: Dunno. But its figures *were* bad, selling 50% of what was expected in the period. That it was grouped with Crysis was the problem.

    KG

  3. Chris R says:

    Wooooo hoooo! Go Crysis! Such a damned pretty game. Zero Punctuation sums up the game fairly well. I had a ton of fun with it though, I’m not a big fan of “on-rails shooters.” So Crysis and Stalker were exactly up my alley.

    http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/editorials/zeropunctuation/2808-Zero-Punctuation-Crysis

  4. UncleLou says:

    I’ve always pointed out that the US sales figures we knew meant not much, really. Because I am great like that.

  5. Flint says:

    I think a lot of people just waited after Christmas before getting it. You know, graphics cards for Chrimbo presents and all that stuff.

    Personally I’m really happy about these news, loved the game and a definite GOTY for me. And doing well means that the planned sequel(s) is/are going to actually appear.

  6. Cian says:

    I must confess that I didn’t buy either Crysis or UT3 due to both being more expensive than I’m used to (ever since the notion that I can get new games for £18 I get offended when asked to pay more).
    UT3 has since come down in cost, so the collectors edition is currently winging its way towards me.

  7. Inglorion says:

    Doesn’t seem long since I heard Gaming Steve report a dready 30K copies or so sold of Crysis.

  8. kuddles says:

    After seeing the sales charts in other countries around Nov last year, I too thought Crysis must have been doing well. I think those numbers from thesimexchange were only reported as a bad sign for Crysis because a lot of people didn’t realize that it was more a sign of PC gaming in general not doing too well in America at the moment.

  9. Zeh says:

    Not bad, but in the meantime, CoD4 sold what? 7 million with all systems counted?

  10. Kareem says:

    Also UT3 is a multi-platform game. In short, I think UT3 sold so badly because, well, it sucked.

  11. The Pope says:

    ‘Crysis in crisis’ and other entertaining headlines in CRISIS!

  12. Optimaximal says:

    CoD4 did better because it was a much better game… It ran on pretty much every computer that met its requirements, had a great plotline and (whilst being just more Call of Duty) it was good fun too, with lots of thought going into every shoot-out and set piece.

    Yes, the AI was shit and scripted but then Infinity Ward never said it would be the greatest innovation in the gaming world – just that you would be playing the bastard son of 24 and Ultimate Force for 7 intense hours before wasting your life in multiplayer…

    Crysis, however, was designed, marketed and sold on its graphics and game engine alone. The plot was shit, the gameplay was shit, the new engine was buggy as hell, EA are dragging their support knuckles as usual and the whole latter half of the game left a worse taste in my mouth than a shit sandwich*.

    Whilst the game wasn’t intrinsically bad (Korean slapping is a fun past-time) it just could never touch the hype generated by HYPE-OR, MASTER OF HYPE.

    * – I am hypothesising, I have never eaten shit… Seriously!

  13. Matt says:

    Those are pretty harsh criticisms of Crysis and a little unfair I think. It wasn’t a perfect game but I enjoyed it and I enjoyed the story in so far as I thought it was allegorical.

    I have yet to play CoD4 so I can’t comment, but the impression I got from people I know who played it, it mainly stands out because of some very nice cutscenes and a couple of plot twists. Hopefully I will try it out at some point.

  14. Steve says:

    I find it quite strange that people are complaining about the hardware requirements of Crysis. It was made quite clear by Crytek in the early stages of development that it was going to require a very powerful system to run on high settings. There was also a quote from the CEO (who’s name I forget) stating that they scaled the game such that in two years time it will still look as good as games arriving two years in the future.

    It seems to me to be a similar situation to the iPhone, people were told there would be no initial SDK and third party app support, but people still bought it and whined about how they couldn’t put stuff on it. Don’t like it, don’t buy it. Don’t have the computer, don’t buy the game. It is unfair to sit and throw shit at Crytek for pushing the boat out. Computer graphics move forward by people pushing the limit.

    Another thing is, some people seem to be under the impression that there is this magical process called “optimization” that solves all problems and will make Crysis run on a 286, but Crytek just decided not to bother. Anyone who has had experience in software development will tell you that you can only optimize something so much. The CryEngine has a massive amount of calculations to do per millisecond. The fact is, if you want a high level of detail, such as the glint of moonlight shining off your gun, its going to take longer to calculate and render. And all that at thirty times per second.

    The fact is that, though UT3 is pretty, it can’t really touch Crysis, but at the same time, it is a completely different animal. UT3 is an online based game, where one second can mean your death if your playing someone good, so FPS matters. Crysis is primarily single player, if the processing is slow, the AI is also slow, so it does not matter as much.

  15. Nick says:

    CoD4 was not a better game. It was lazy respawning bad AI’d garbage with a fantasticly entertaining and cinematic storyline – the only good thing about it.

  16. Paul S says:

    Agreed – CoD4 was a tedious, run of the mill old model shooter with some nice scripted bits. Boring, and dated.

  17. Steve says:

    I have to say, I enjoyed Cod 4, but whenever I looked outside the main level area and saw the really poor looking backgrounds it kind of spoiled the immersion.

  18. Alex says:

    It wasn’t a perfect game but I enjoyed it and I enjoyed the story in so far as I thought it was allegorical.

    An allegory for what, though? A better storyline?

    To me the game looked pretty, the ‘sandboxness’ was only kind of suggested (huge island you can explore except there’s no real reason to do so and if you do, don’t explore bits that are part of later missions or the game’ll tell you you failed your mission), the story went “durrrr” most of the time, the characters spoke some of the most cliched ’80s action movie dialogue I’ve heard since.. well, the ’80s.

    The nanosuit was a bit of a disappointment to me, too. I felt like the game didn’t really entice me as a player to try out different suitpower/weapon combinations. I make that distinction because Bioshock did make want to play around with all kinds of combinations – not just in the first few hours of the game, but all the way through.

    And then there was the last “post-mountain” part – that part wasn’t just not so good, it was downright terrible. I almost stopped playing but decided to see it through. I didn’t really mind the ending as much as other people but that’s more or less because I was relieved to finally reach said ending.

  19. Garth says:

    I still find it bizarre how popular the CoD series is.

    CoD2 was one of the worst shooters I’ve ever played. Period. The A.I. is some of the most bullshit I’ve ever encountered; enemies can shoot me in the eye with an SMG at 1 kilometre and will not bother to shoot any of my teammates. I think my teammates killed 1-2 enemies per level, if that. The autosave’s were so godawfully placed I had to stop playing because my autosave had gone off just as a tank came through a wall.. and it would instantly kill me.

    I simply don’t understand the draw — even the vaunted scripted scenes were total crap; I watched an NPC who was required to take out a tank glitch and just stand there. Why? An invisible enemy was shooting him through a house. When I finally killed said enemy (I had to bounce a grenade into a houses window, and down some stairs) the guy walked towards the enemies, who proceeded to watch him, then he loaded his bazooka, and they watched him, then he killed the tank, while they watched him.

    Yeah, great scene.

    So I cannot, as you might imagine, understand how people are still playing the series after that much crap over three games, let alone into a fourth one.

  20. UncleLou says:

    I like Crysis and CoD 4, I am obviously mad.

  21. dhex says:

    i too am mad. (with greatness)

    the characters spoke some of the most cliched ’80s action movie dialogue I’ve heard since.. well, the ’80s.

    did you play farcry?

    “so i put some OINTMENT on it…and IT GOT BETTER.”

  22. Chris R says:

    Haha Dhex……… “I’ll fix your little red wagon!”

  23. Matt says:

    @Alex

    I think it is an allegory for fears about climate change, and the Iraq war, or at least wars involving oil. I talked about it in previous Crysis threads and explained it a bit more.

    I do think that the story was weak to some degree; hence my earlier comment stating I liked the fact it was allegorical.
    _

    I said before, writing a story is pretty easy, it is a simple chain of events, and sometimes there are plot twists and so on. But if you rely on plot twists the game will lose replayability (for me something Bioshock suffered from). Real depth in a story is something else. If you try to develop the character in an FPS you are presented with problems. Do they talk? And if they do, does the player feel they are losing control. Is it better to have a mute character and have them act as a blank slate for the players imagination? Will dialogue and cut-scenes slow the action?

    These are problems Valve has worked hard on over the HL series and it shows, but they use extensive play-testing, partly for that reason. This is why their games have become so well balanced, but still manage to be emotive, despite Freeman being mute throughout. Crysis didn’t manage this as well, but the fairly sparse story in terms of plot (in the literary sense) is probably due to an effort by Crytek to make an action driven game.

    I also think the aliens were there to change the pace. You go from stalking walking targets to fighting off dangerous aliens. They obviously wanted to shift up the pace and make the player feel under threat. You lose some of the ability to stalk around, but the games pace picks up as you progress. I didn’t like the floating section myself, it was a bit confusing and not much fun, I also found the end battle felt too much like a contra game. But I think I understand what they wanted to achieve. If the whole game had been slowly creeping about most of the time, it would have gotten dull, unless you added something else.

  24. Kadayi says:

    Played the demo, pretty but uninspiring. I may go back to it eventually, but I can’t see me getting the full game at any point. I have no enthusiasm for games with cliched characters named ‘psycho’ etc. As for CoD4, 7 hours of near heaven. It’s not perfect in any way, but it’s well constructed and some of the missions are sublime. Lack of muscle bound retards as team mates also considerably helped.

  25. sepp says:

    about crysis and story: don’t you think the story_being_simplistic was exactly what they wanted to achieve? think “predator”, the schwarzenegger-movie (which crysis copied, imo): there’s just no point in pretending arnie acting “hamlet” here. he’s there, so the jungle has a reason to explode.
    as are you, the player, in crysis.
    counter-example: bioshocks pretended “freedom” annoyed (at least) me to a big extent. “would you really want to hurt the poor little girls?” – come on! best i could expect was another line of text later on – exactly what i got. only that i couldn’t force myself to play the same endlessly linear levels all over again…

  26. Fumarole says:

    And all the haters come out of the woodwork yet again.

    CoD4 had a great plotline? Seriously? Terrorists stealing a nuke does it for you eh? CoD4 had many great things, but I wouldn’t number its plot among them.

  27. Jonathan says:

    I agree with Penny Arcade, don’t like the comic but the guys have taste, if you’re not talking about the graphics there’s nothing else to talk about. My main problem being the suits three second battery. Having to switch back and forth every ten seconds (armour to camo dead battery camo to armour charge battery armour to camo) is not my idea of fun times.

    Has anyone complaining about Bioshock replayability actually tried replaying it? The plot takes on a truly tragic slant and you notice all the little ways the characters find to screw you over. As well as all the foreshadowing not to mention the side stories I really only noticed the third time through. Also there’s around fifty weapons (8 guns with 3 ammo types plus at least 2 dozen plasmids) if you can’t find another way of using that I don’t think it’s Irrational who are to blame.

  28. Nallen says:

    Why did the picture change on this one?

  29. Alec Meer says:

    Why do you mind?

  30. Nick says:

    “CoD4 had many great things”

    Really, like what exactly? The ‘oh I shot a guy and he was replaced 1 second later by another guy in exactly the same position with a slightly different beard’ combat?

    The ‘I stuck my head around a corner for the first time and got shot by 4 different people and had 2 grenades land at my feet’ AI?

    The only redeeming feature was the cinematic storyline – and whilst I wouldn’t call it good as in original or superbly crafted it WAS executed in a very entertaining way, like part of an enjoyable action film. It worked well.

    The sniper level was great too actually, apart from the bullshit end sequence that spoiled it.

  31. Garth says:

    “Also there’s around fifty weapons (8 guns with 3 ammo types plus at least 2 dozen plasmids) if you can’t find another way of using that I don’t think it’s Irrational who are to blame.”

    Like “electrocute that guy, oh wait, it does 1/4 the damage of a pistol bullet, this could take awhile” as a different way to play, other than shooting someone four times? The plasmids were godawful for combat, end story, period. The only redeeming features were either blowing an entire level up with fire (because there are explosive cannisters every six feet) and slowly electrocuting someone to death who is in water.

    I tried for an entire level to use my entirely maxed out as much as possible plasmids only, and couldn’t. I tried only using guns, and could.

    As to CoD4, I just played the (hilariously short) demo and have come to a conclusion: those NAZI’s from CoD2 look an awful lot like Arabs now.

  32. Jonathan says:

    re Garth: The hell? Did you play Deus Ex with just the weapons? Did you play Half Life 2 with just the crowbar (which does so much more damage than almost any gun)? The plasmids are all about combos and if you can’t be bothered to experiment with building them it’s not Irrationals fault. Ken Levine said his games are about giving the player a set of tools and a situation and letting them find their own solutions. I found it played most like SWAT 4 which is a very very good game.

    RPS Dudes whats with the picture changing and why is a bit of her face missing?

  33. Michael says:

    This is the same as with everyone saying Crysis was unplayable on their machines without even trying. The internet loves its prejudices.