Hands On: WARFACE

By Craig Pearson on February 28th, 2013 at 2:00 pm.


“War. Face. WARFACE. War? FACE! Warrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr faceceeeeeeeeeee!”. The University of Bielefeld’s articulatory phonetics department has me hooked me up to their consonant stretching apparatus. The Cawood Minnesota cheek holder made it sound rounder, while the Roser Koenig* mouth gag made me drool it out in wet clods. I said it over and over for a full hour. At one point only dogs could hear me, and they howled in derision. It’s no good. I can’t configure my mouth to make Warface sound any less ridiculous, not even with academic help. After extensive testing, we concluded that it was a silly name. So I approached my day at Crytek with swollen jawed trepidation. I was going to hear that name.

A lot.

But first I’m introduced to Gface. This isn’t fair, Crytek. I wasn’t prepared for a bad rap name. You haven’t seen much of Gface. It’s Crytek’s attempt to capture a rather specific feeling that founder Cevat Yerli had when he visited a Korean internet cafe in 2007. He walked in, sat down, and observed: “What happened is a flood of people came in, and they played multiple games together one after the other. They zapped through the games. And zapping through the games was possible in Korea at that time. First, the games were actually free. And second, they decided together what to play. And third, even if they were not all together at the same time and same place, some were online, they all made decisions about what to play together. And we said effectively at that point: this is actually an amazing group dynamic. They have fun, like they go to a cafe or bar. They enjoy the time. It’s social. And this was very inspirational, and formed the foundation of Gface. This is about playing together live.”

Gface is the foundation for Crytek’s previously noted free-to-play future. It is the pillar that Warface, and all other Crytek games henceforth, will balance on. # It’s actually rather neat: it flips the notion of an in-game friends list around, with you all gathering in Gface in the browser before you head into a game. Everyone gathers in a chat room called the Life Bar, rather than ChatFace or MouthFace or WordFace, but it can be expanded into a table of sorts. The decisions are made on that table. What game, what level, what game mode to play are all suggested and voted on by the group. All the games will be free, so there’s no barrier to selection. You’ll be able to zap and you won’t leave anyone behind. It’s basically a virtual internet cafe.

In this instance the connected journalists are zapped into Waaaaaarfacccccccce. The team stands together in the menu screen, like a proud squad of elite commandos judging each other’s clothing decisions. If you fiddle with your loadout, others will see the changes on the character model. What class you’ve selected is also represented (from Engineer, Medic, Sniper, and Rifleman). If you’re off testing out a gun you want to buy in the safe room, the model will be shooting. Weapons can be augmented with add-ons, like additional scopes and barrel mods. The same is true for armour, with premium helmets blocking flashbang effects, or letting you spy an enemy’s bomb placemet. It’s a mix of earned and bought, and if you’ve joined the game as a team you’ll be offered group deals. You’ll even be able to buy presents for each other.

“This helmet matches your Warface!”
“Oh stop, you.”
“It will. If you don’t buy it I will.”
“Well, I’m not going to stop you.”
“Guns for everyone!”


With your new guns, fabulous armour bling, and tightly integrated group dynamic, you’re ready to show the world your Worf Ace. There are two game modes: co-op and versus mode. Co-op is fulfilled with the “Daily Challenge”, a series of missions that teams can compete in. You don’t have a choice as to what mission, so we’re choppered into a vaguely Middle-Eastish villagey place that’s so in vogue nowadays. It is a street. There are men with guns.

The levels are built for co-op, so the teams can move through different routes and outflank the enemy. I spawned as a Rifleman, carrying extra ammo to share with those in dire need of lead. The AI is mean and sharp, and despite the flanking space the street affords our team, they chip away at our health. Teamwork is key, and a good medic will be helpful if you don’t want to spend your money: one of the things you can buy is a Resurrection Token that’ll instantly pop you back into the action. Remember when used to be called extra lives? These can only be bought with real-world money, and they’re only used in co-op. If you don’t have a Resurrection coin or a swift medic, you’ll pop back into life at the next checkpoint, full of health, ammo, and armour.


It’s an oddly unambitious shooter for Crytek, but there’s a few Crysis staples in there. The weapons can be tweaked with additional (and earned/paid) scopes, handles, barrels in the game, and there’s a nice, speedy movement system that lets you leap over walls and drop into a deadly bum slide. You can even boost team mates up to higher ledges. But it doesn’t feel like it flexes any of the typical “maximum” muscles. We push through the level with regular deaths thinning us out, fighting for control of the streets for whatever reason. I was the top killer and the most killed, rushing in ahead of everyone to test out the AI’s abilities to hold off a crazy person not using cover and travelling horizontally. Hey, if you give me the chance to slide into combat, I’m going to be scraping my bum like an inappropriate dog. My favourite discovery was that you could wield any weapon while sliding, including melee and heavy weaponry.

The AI tends to camp and fire back with hateful accuracy, so variety is tossed in via mini-bosses. There’s a full on man vs mech fight, a chopper, and a heavy gunner. The mini-boss fight should have been a reason to shine, but the heavy gunner we faced had a glaring weak-spot on his rear. All we needed was to get people in position, which meant splitting up and running around and around and concentrating fire. All in, the co-op is a bit weak, but the Versus mode it leads into is a good deal of fun.


The co-op’s, flanking style layout is retained is most of Versus levels. Modes include free-for-all, team deathmatch, attack-and-defend, and a bomb planting mode that is best friends with Counter-Strike. I liked that one a lot. The level we played was neatly designed, with a large, human-sized pipe running between the building yards at the bottom of the level for sneaky players, and snakey buildings at the top. The circuitous design had plenty cover and movement options, and each game was quickly resolved. It’s also not set in the Middle-East. Other levels will be set in favelas, trainyards, parks. Despite initial impressions, it does have other themes.

Oddly for me, I had a good few games in the free-for-all levels. The first had a building in the centre that gave a good overview of the level while giving me some protection. I ensconced myself, seeding the stairs with proximity mines (toys of the engineer class) and made a pretty good last stand. Then another and another. I know you can’t have multiple last stands, but I died every time, and have no other description for what it was. Another level is a farm: buildings slope down to a river, via a cornfield. There’s plenty of environmental variety.


It’s in Versus that the differences in the classes were more pronounced. I found the Sniper a little overpowered. Even though he has no additional skills to feed back to the team, I was on the losing end of every close and long-range fight I got into with one. I also couldn’t tell what modifications people were using. It might become second-nature to long-term players, but I doubt the general public will be able to differentiate quickly between helmets. I did feel that there were a couple of firefights that I should have won, and couldn’t tell why.

Does it live up to the name? It’s easy to forget that the original Far Cry was b-movie nonsense, and that Crysis was silly (chicken tossing, taking down choppers by throwing things), before it went all serious face. Crytek aren’t above mocking their creations as this Warface art shows.

It’s a notion I put to producer Joshua Howard. That maybe this isn’t the game the name suggests? That we’re all wrong in thinking Crytek are serious? He agreed: “Warface has this attitude that I respect. And I think you’re going to see more of this. We don’t have to be this realistic, super-hardcore, militaristic thing. The game does have those elements, but we’re not restricted by that. The heavy gunner, you know, that’s not real. My US marine buddies would be “pfft”, but that creates a great game experience. When you first run into it the heave gunner, you’re view of Warface changes. And the first time you see the mech. The fact that we’re willing to have a little fun with it, and have a little attitude, I think is fine.”

Hah. By admitting he liked the attitude, and wanted to have a little fun with it, he’d fallen into my trap.

Me: “I scribbled down a list of alternative names.”
Josh: “Yeah. Okay.”
Me: “So I’m going to read them out to you, and you can maybe react to them.”
Josh: *Laughs*
Me: “The first one is pretty straight-forward, it’s just ‘Guns! Guns! Guns!’, but it does have three exclamation marks.”
Josh: “Exclamation marks are cool. You could do ‘Guns (to the third)’.”
Me: “Alright. ‘Next is Sexy Guns’. Sorry.”
Josh: “‘Sexy Guns?’ Okay.”
Me: “What sort of game does that say to you?”
Josh: “I dunno. There’s not enough sexy nowadays.”
Me: “It’s quite a manly game, though I’m not saying men can’t be sexy… ‘Cryme And Gunishment’. Thoughts?”
Josh: “‘Gunishment!’ *Laughs*’Crymmmmmm…’ Anything with a ‘y’… We’ve gone there.”
Me: “I’ve got one here that’s probably a little bit distasteful: ‘War Cryme’? Again, sorry.”
Josh: “‘War Cryme’? Yeah… yeah…”
Me: “See, I wrote that down, but only now do I realise what it says.”
Josh: “It sort of maybe goes over the edge a little bit.”
Me: “Just a bit, yeah. ‘Guns ‘n’ Hats?’ Because…”
Josh: *Laughs* “It has the head element, and hats are very big in free-to-play.”
Me: “‘Police Action Knee’? It might need explaining.”
Josh: *silence*
Me: “Okay, so Vietnam wasn’t a war, it was a ‘police action’, and knees are very big in gaming nowadays.”
Josh: “That’s right! *chuckles*. I don’t know if that would be a good worldwide name, though. “
Me: “‘War Facebook’?. Though I’d guess…”
Josh: “Yeah. You’re not the first one to have said that.”
Me: “Erm, ‘Rarrrgh!’ Which is just, you know, the sound.”
Josh: “Because…?”
Me: “If you’re running into war, the noise you’d be making with your Warface would be…”
Josh: “Right. Right. Rarrrgh!”
Me: “Do you know what gurning is?
Josh: “What?”
Me: “Gurn? To gurn. It’s a UK thing. When you screw your face up to make an ugly face, that’s called ‘gurning’. So I have ‘Machine Gurns’.”
Josh: “Ah, see that’s very clever, but it’s pretty local and pretty specific.”
Me: “Well that’s why I was asking. Okay, the next would probably change the game quite a lot. It would need to be sci-fi, and have a lead character named ‘Ronald’. ‘Ronald’s Ray Guns’.”
Josh: “Right. Yeah. That’s maybe a little bit different of a game.”
Me: “Yeah. I thought it was a bit too far off the war aspect.”
Josh: “But you know, it could be a place where you go in the future.”
Me: “It could be the sequel. ‘Alas, Poor War-Rick’. So in that artwork with the skull, that’s Rick’s skull he’s holding in the concept art.”
Josh: *snorts* “Yeah. That’s very good.”
Me: “I’ve got a really bad one coming up. It twists the notion of body parts. Erm, ‘War Gland’. Again, sorry.”
Josh: “‘War Gland’. Yeah… Okay”
Me: “But you say ‘gland’ to people, they don’t instantly think of… they think of…”

I nod to my crotch.

Josh: “I’m not sure I wanna know!”
Me: “I’ve got one here… ‘Worgan’. I’m thinking ‘organ’ again, but ‘war’?”
Josh: “Yeah…”
Me: “So that’s my list. Is there any you’d like to keep?”
Josh: “No, I think I’m okay?”
Me: “So you think Warface is better than all my suggestions?”
Josh: “Well. I’ve never worked on an official product who’s name made a lot of sense at first, and names sort of grow on you.”


He’s correct. I’m sure ‘War Gland’ will grow on him. I’m expecting a phone call at any moment, in which Crytek will beg for the name. I’ll insist on it being called ‘Craig Pearson’s War Gland’. Would you play that?

Would you play Warface? In the game school yard, Warface hangs around with Modern Warfare and Battlefield. All three are friends, but Warface is the quiet one that’s smarter and more likeable than CoD, and not as handsome as Battlefield. It’s a good, generous Versus game, one that I’d happily play if I couldn’t afford Battlefield, and I’d generally play it over CoD, anyway. If they make the AI a bit less predictable and one-note, then the co-op might grow some muscles. You get a lot for free in Warface, and when it comes out it’ll be worth your attention.

*These are all real things and that is a real place.

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86 Comments »

  1. Deathmaster says:

    Crymeface.

  2. vee41 says:

    Hands on Warface, my instant mental image was “The Scream” by Edvard Munch. Article did not disappoint either way.

  3. Sparkasaurusmex says:

    I think micro transactions for renting things (temporary) would be awesome, but I guess the money spenders might not want to spend as much for that

    • Leper says:

      A lot of Korean F2P FPS use that model, I played a couple that were ported to the west. It’s pretty awful and frustrating from a player point of view but it seems to make them a lot of money.

      • craislai says:

        I still hate you, Robocop machine on the Isle Of Wight in the arcade next to the Metropole hotel. CHILD MUGGER

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KCzeoYo1sMU&feature=related

        • sabrage says:

          Fuck. Why would a spammer talk like that? I guess the fact that he got me answers my question. As someone who is pathologically terrified of the singularity, this makes me deeply uncomfortable.

          • MD says:

            It’s pretty scary the first time you meet one of these. In fact they’re just copy-pasting from an earlier comment, and taking advantage of reply-nesting to make their version appear higher on the page.

    • Keymonk says:

      That is the most frustrating F2P model. I hate it and despise it. If I pay real money for something, it damn well better be permanent.

  4. simulant says:

    Sounds good enough for me. Any word on when we, outside of Russia, can play?

    • IshtarGate says:

      When you, inevitably, are inside of Russia.

      • Gap Gen says:

        I think they’re trying to have it so that you can play the game as opposed to vice-versa, as is our wont in the decadent, capitalist West.

        • TheMick says:

          I couldn’t let that joke go unrecognized lol, good show old boy.

    • Suits says:

      This will never be as big outside of Russia anyway, because better games exist and so do sales

    • Craig Pearson says:

      The beta is already spreading outwith Russia, but it’s still limited.

  5. Grape says:

    Hmmm. I’m not really sure I like Joshua Howard.

    • Craig Pearson says:

      He is lovely. He took it all in good fun and giggled.

      • colossalstrikepackage says:

        He sounded a lot more open to ribbing than I thought he might. Good on him for playing along. And thanks for the surreal write up – these type of interviews are becoming my favourite kind on RPS.

    • Sparkasaurusmex says:

      War Glans

      • Sparkasaurusmex says:

        I think it’s a cool feature, but I hate it when I forget my comments will show on the RPS main page for a while

  6. hemmingjay says:

    The success of this game will depend on their ability to suppress hackers. It’s troubling to be swamped by hackers in any game, but in one with a cash shop it quickly debilitates customer retention.

  7. Lambchops says:

    Craig Pearson’s War Gland 2: Glanduwar Fever

    • Hardlylikely says:

      Craig Pearson’s Prolapsed Worgan: War Gland 3: Maximally Distended Collector’s Edition.

      What a terrifying figurine is found in that tin box.

    • Ragnar says:

      When I read War Gland, I immediately thought Warg Land, which would be an entirely different game all together – one assumingly full of wargs.

  8. PearlChoco says:

    Good interview.

  9. McDan says:

    The way you describe it as not as handsome as battlefield yet smarter and more likeable than COD definetely peaks my interest-hat towards it. I shall give it some attention, thanks Craigface.

    • Snargelfargen says:

      Yeah. a military shooter with an emphasis on playing with friends and a more chillaxed atmosphere sounds very nice.

  10. Codor says:

    RPS interviews are just so much better than any other sites’ interviews…

  11. Hunchback says:

    But will this community ever be able to play this game without outrages concerning it’s name happening at every GFAAAAACCEEE meeting?

  12. Koozer says:

    Glad to hear they aren’t being as SUPER-SERIOUS as Call of Duty and Battlefield are these days. Will have to give it a go!

  13. bit.bat says:

    After 1998′s Wargasm no game name makes me flinch.

  14. SuperNashwanPower says:

    I’ve just figured it out. Free To Play is the modern, home version of the coin-op. I hated that- stick another 50p in to try to beat the boss. What’s that? You’re shit at this game? That’ll be expensive then, pocket money boy. Now they just have my credit card.

    I still hate you, Robocop machine on the Isle Of Wight in the arcade next to the Metropole hotel. CHILD MUGGER

    • Dominic White says:

      As one of the strongest proponents of F2P games here on RPS, I have so far managed to spend maybe £20 on F2P games in my lifetime. I think about £7 back in the day for a Tribes: Ascend premium account, £6 or so on Mechwarrior Online during a recent sale to get myself a Cicada and quickly graduate past the wonky trial mechs, and a few bucks here and there elsewhere.

      Unless you’re seriously worried about having the biggest, shiniest virtual dick out there, you very seldom need to spend any real money.

    • lhzr says:

      Ah, coin-ops, the enemies of parents everywhere..

      I was fortunate enough to be able to play Robocop on my ZX Spectrum, thus being able to save my pocket money for Golden Axe and Toejam & Earl. Although, without extra lives, I ended up playing just the first two levels of Robocop over and over..

      I was pretty good at Golden Axe, so I didn’t usually spend many coins that way, but once, at the seaside, the arcades managed to win.

      I think it was the first time I was away from the watchful eye of my parents, who annoyingly stopped me from wasting money (usually by not giving me any). Anyway, right next to our class’ dorm was a bar with some arcades . One of those arcades was a side-scrolling beat-em up, featuring BATMAN! Needless to say it was hard and I loved it. Thing is I found out about this place right on the first day of my 10 day holiday. By the second day I had transformed all my money into coins, which, in turn, I spent trying to finish Batman. In the end I finished it a couple of times, for good measure. The next day I had to borrow enough money for food and drinks for the other 9 days. My teacher was not happy with this. Neither were my parents, when they found out and, in turn, neither was I.

      So, I guess what I’m saying is that buying stuff using change will leave you feeling empty and remorseful. So don’t do it, kids! Buy only expensive things, those fill you up for real.

      Ah, childhood, where hast thou gone..

      • plugmonkey says:

        Ah. Arcades.

        Remember when the games used to cost 10p, and were actually worth the money?

        I’ve never understood why arcade owners thought “Hey, there’s not many people in here. Maybe we should try making everything 10x as expensive!”

        Make the latest arcade game 20p and I’ll play it 10 times. Make it two quid and I won’t play it at all. And neither will anyone else.

        *sadface*

        • lhzr says:

          I’m not sure it’s entirely the owners’ fault for arcades dying. Everyone has some device on which to play games now, so why would they pay bother going to the arcade for? If the new arcade places wouldn’t have huge prices, they probably would’ve died just like the old ones.

          Anyway, when an arcade room opened up at the local mall, I went to check it out. It struck me as kinda funny that when I was a kid I could go to the arcade quite often with the meager pocket money that I got, and, now that I’m employed and with a bigger than average paycheck, I felt ripped off.

          Perhaps if they had better games it would’ve soothed the sting somewhat, but they were all bad so, in order not to leave without giving anything a go, I ended up playing a few rounds of mini basketball with my girlfriend. No, not the electronic, on-screen kind, I had to throw a real ball at a real hoop, like one of them real-sport fans. Hmph!

    • Koozer says:

      Having recently spent a while going through the app store in a naive attempt to find good games, I have to agree; it was the first thing that came to my mind too. The biggest difference is instead of making them ridiculously hard so you have to keep spending 50p to continue, they now make games as monotonous and grindy as possible without 50p’s to speed things up. Before you required skill to save your pennies, now you just need patience.

      I find progressing because I have learnt from my mistakes and played a blinder more rewarding than progressing by having 12 hours of free time to farm XP, but it seems the latter makes these companies more money. Maybe the non-persistence of the old arcade games was the only thing stopping them using this model before.

      And why the floop do so many iOS games make you mindlessly poke at pointless icons every 3 seconds to collect dollars/fruit/flags/broken dreams?

      :(

  15. Howard says:

    So, *another* tedious Battlefield clone with *another* fucking client/app/social bag of arse that I could care less about? And its Freemium? Oh yeah: sign me the fuck up now!

    (and then just kill me – sigh)

  16. Dominic White says:

    I personally thought that the competitive stuff was generic twitch shooter stuff without much going for it that you can’t get in a dozen other games, but loved the co-op from what I played of it in the Russian beta. Once you graduate to the higher difficulty missions, your entire team have to be genuinely good and cover each over constantly. Just rush out and you can get a full-team wipe in the first 30 seconds of a mission.

    Playing as the medic is still fun because you can do sliding shotgun kills 24/7.

  17. Moni says:

    If RPS ever get to do another interview with Crytek I want them to just walk in and start asking, “Warface? Waaarface? WARface?” and so on, until the Crytek representative walks off.

    • Gap Gen says:

      I do like how RPS is now refusing to take preview events at all seriously.

      • McDan says:

        It’s very good, I think they should ask for exclusives and then if they don’t get them threaten to send Cara Ellison in. Boom, instant exclusive.

  18. Mr. Mister says:

    Don’t worry, “Warface” only sounds funny to you, English natives. To everyone else, including Crytek’s russians, it sounds just as normal as any other English title.

    • cpt_freakout says:

      Translate it to your own language – it’s probably still hilariously sillyFACE

    • Xardas Kane says:

      Not in any of the four languages I know, still sounds as dumb as they get.

      • sharks.don't.sleep says:

        KRIEGSGESICHT!

        Oh wow, you are so right.

        Regarding the game, I’ve started the training and got serious mouse issues, aiming was stiff and unresponsive, no diagonal movement possible.
        Soldiered through the training but uninstalled after..
        They did some awesome sound work though.

  19. brulleks says:

    It still sounds War-ful to me.

  20. buzzmong says:

    Crytek should have had a look at buying the IP for Wargasm (it’s a 90′s game).

    It would have been perfect for them I think.

  21. Shooop says:

    I’ve had beta access for about a month now and it’s not as bad as it could have been.

    I think the PvP is really terrible for the same reason CoD’s mainly is – the maps are just tiny. It takes less than 2 minutes to sprint from one end of one end to the other. Which means the only real option is to find a nice shady spot to set up a tent.

    The co-op though is interesting and if you have friends, a surprisingly good time. The only problem is the emphasis on “unlock better gear to play better!” Starting weapons are pitifully weak and inaccurate. You’d have better luck using harsh language to hit enemies sniping at you from long distances without having unlocked an ACOG scope and a better rifle. This I suspect is to strong-arm players into paying into the VIP membership which is a booster pack.

    It’s not going to replace any retail game or challenge Planetside 2. But for it’s good for a quick diversion. Why Crytek thinks they can make their business work on games like this alone I have no idea.

    In other news, Firefall is now in open beta!

  22. Ian says:

    Warface.

    ….

    WARFACE. Ahhh, that’s better.

  23. Cunning Linguist says:

    Is this really what this game is called?
    You must be shitting me….

    Heere’s to the gruesome death of the games industry.

  24. The Random One says:

    Puns and apologies. I must be in RPS.

  25. nandio says:

    University of Bielefeld?

    What is this magic place you are talking of? Don’t you know that this city doesn’t exist?

    Do not fall for the propaganda.

    • Durkonkell says:

      So you’re very quick to point out that the The University of Bielefeld doesn’t exist, but you don’t have any problem with the current existent status of an “articulatory phonetics department” or “their consonant stretching apparatus”?

      This is as it should be, of course.

      -Dr. D. Kell, Professor of Language Mangling, University of A Place That Exists.

      • Velko says:

        SWOOSSSHHHH

        That was the sound of a point being missed by a wide margin.

    • Mo6eB says:

      Schwieg, du Dummkopf! Du hast keine Ahnung, was für Unheil deine Worten rufen können!

  26. PopeRatzo says:

    Is it FPS? I don’t know where I got the idea that Whorface was going to be a third-person shooter, but an FPS would interest me.

    Planetside 2 with camo and “Go! Go! Go!”

  27. harmlos says:

    Craig,

    I am sorry to see that you have become part of the Bielefeld conspiracy. (For those not in the know, the so-called city of Bielefeld does not exist. See http://www.bielefeldverschwoerung.de for an in-depth explanation – in German only, unfortunately). You where either brainwashed by people claiming to be from the University of Bielefeld (which doesn’t exist either, naturally), or you are part of Them.

    Edit: I guess I should have read all the comments, nandio beat me to it. But it’s good to know that the truth is out there.

  28. Tei says:

    Its amazing, because you can take a great engine, and make it look like a cheap ripoff of counter-strike, if you limit resources, so it runs on very old machines.

  29. Tams80 says:

    Am I the only one who thought of Sir Michael Terence Wogan when I read Worgan?

  30. slimcarlos says:

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  31. slimcarlos says:

    good game…….

  32. Temperance says:

    They should just name it “Derivative”. I was going to join in with some excellent puns but then I watched the video and it just made me bored and a bit angry. And I miss the WWII FPS craze.