It's a pretty common standard in the gaming industry that when announcing a new title, you must remind everyone else that your game will be the absolute best. Better then the competition at least, because why else would a developer bother making a game? While most developers generally highlight gameplay or level design, Crysis 2 is taking a bit of a different turn. It's a little unusual for FPS title to boast about anything other then multiplayer these days but Richard Morgan, popular sci-fi author and current writer for Crysis 2, has taken to launching a full assault against bad storytelling.
It's definitely an interesting tactic, especially when you consider how many games before Crysis 2 have boasted a good plot as part of their selling points. From Halo to Modern Warfare Morgan is leaving no stone unturned, most recently calling out Halo's storytelling to be filled with the typical archetype characters. It's an interesting way to identify yourself as a gamer who's looking to really appeal to other gamers, but is it even necessary? Many people who bought into either franchise were interested in the multiplayer aspect alone, and it's not like the first Crysis had a very riveting storyline. In fact most remember Crysis as the game that was unplayable on their computer (at the time) due to high graphical demands.
As understandably hip it is to just bash the competition, it's really sad and disappointing to see an established author and yet another upcoming AAA title take this route of mudslinging. It would be far more impressive to see Morgan give examples of what will/could make Crysis 2 have such a compelling storyline rather then call out other developers some more. Simply hearing his complaints about Master Chief being unidentifiable because he's behind a mask, then taking a look at this Crysis-Man who we've only gotten to know through his iconic suit, it makes you wonder if he's even listening to himself.
Which I guess doesn't matter since the Crysis 2 developers don't even seem keen enough on listening to themselves. Head writer says that Uncharted 2 had fantastic storytelling elements, Crytek CEO says that Uncharted 2 didn't do the gaming medium any justice. It's almost as though they have a list of best selling games, and instead of making a unified front for the company's sake have decided to just wing every interview they get. As long as they make as many references to big hit games Crysis 2 is bound to get a lot of eyes on it, which is sad because it would be nice to see press based upon the game's own merit. However, it may be the wrong kind of press. Is it really a good idea to offend all those gamers who like Master Chief as a character?
Instead it would appear that they're more willing to lay all the cards on the table by saying their game will clearly outdo anything and everything before it from a literary stance. Already we know that the game will take place in New York, and that New York will no doubt be ravaged by war because, well, the city has a lot of personality. That, and taking a place with a lot of personality and emotional connection and just crushing it under the weight of high-definition violence is a sure way to get a lot of attention. At least from anyone that lives in Manhattan, or has enjoyed the movies Independence Day, I am Legend, War of the Worlds, Armageddon, The Day After Tomorrow, or Cloverfield.
With luck when Crysis 2 hits around this holiday season all this trash talk will lead up to something really spectacular, but until then who knows how long we'll have to endure this sort of thing. Or how many other companies will be taunted/teased. Battlefield: Bad Company 2? Resident Evil 5? Half Life? I'm sure there are plenty of other games for Morgan and Crytek to go through before the holiday release, but maybe they'll stop and actually start telling us what makes the game so innovative. Aside from having awesome graphics, that is.