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Gamereactor UK

Crytek on Ryse's combat: "mashing to mastery"

Design director talks fighting flow and rewarding players, as well as working Xbox One tech.

We caught up with design director PJ Estevez to discuss one of the more high profile first party exclusives for Xbox One - Ryse: Son of Rome.

Estevez was unwilling to get into great detail about the story and structure of the game ("saving that for later"), but he did talk about how becoming a battlefield general was key to the progression:

"In normal third person action game you have mostly lone wolf stuff, and so with Ryse you will have some lone wolf stuff, but it's actually about being with your brothers, right, about being part of the legion. You kind of become this battlefield general over the course of the game. You can kind of extrapolate what a guy needs to go through to eventually become a general."

A lot of the talk about Ryse has centered around combat and how it makes use of button prompts to finish of enemies.

"We have this concept we call mashing to mastery. The idea is that anyone can play it and they can mash the buttons and fight, but if you get the right timing you're able to actually master it. Master the reaction you get out of the AI. You worked on the AI, you get them to this executable state and you execute them and we're like: "Why does it have to stop there?" "Why do I have to stop and watch this movie play out?". Because we've all played games that have executions and like 30 minutes into them you're like "Really, I smash this guys head, then I stab then I kick him." So we're like, well, let's continue the flow, let's make it open up a window and let's give guys who want to spend time learning it more of a reward bonus."

Ryse: Son of Rome was certainly one of the visually more impressive next-gen titles on display at E3 and this is what Estevez had to say:

"Everyone knows we're Crytek. So if it's a high end rig, or Xbox One, or a freaking iPhone it doesn't matter. We're still going to push the tech. The idea with Xbox One is we want to own six feet to six inches. We want to own that. So we spent a lot of time with the next version of the CryEngine going: How can we push facial? What can we do? And eventually we landed at E3 and we have Marius, the main character, his face is the same as the face in the cutscene. He's got full cloth sim, he's got these physical attachments, and so do all the other barbarians around you."