Crytek CEO Cevat Yerli has called Crysis 2 a "choreographed sandbox" game, which he said offers "flexibility and intensity", and makes the game more accessible and cinematic compared to a regular sandbox title.
Kind of like the porridge Goldilocks chose
Speaking with Gamasutra, Yerli said in comparison Crysis 1 "was a sandbox", Warhead "tried" to be a choreographed sandbox, but "was a bit too choreographed" and Crysis is "a bit in the middle".
"The choreographed sandbox combines the freedom of Crysis 1, so you still have free-form gameplay, with choreographed moments that are interspersed into the experience," he said. "You have a more intense feeling -- a more action packed, intense feeling of a linear shooter. It's more accessible and more cinematic.
"At the same time, you can use the world full of freedom; you can traverse it horizontally and vertically using the features of New York. The world is filled with objects that have logic behind them; you have cars, barrels, and breakable stuff that you can pick up and slap people with, and you can also have the intrinsic ability to play stealthily without the stealth suit.
"You can also activate the stealth suit to play stealth, because the entire AI system is based on hearing and seeing. If the AI didn't hear or see you because your footsteps weren't loud enough or you were behind an object, then you can sneak up on them and activate stealth mode.
"You can sprint fast, jump high, jump long, and you have the tactical mode to assess and scan the enemies' attacks to truly define your action. I bet Crysis 1 gamers will be super happy with the game; we still have the more open areas. But, also, traditional FPS gamers will also find cinematic, intense experiences because of the choreographed sequences.
"What we want is for people to explore the depth of the game, the systemic tools. I want people to experience their own created experience; we never tell the player how to play. Since Far Cry, we've always said, "Play as you want. You are empowered. You have the tools, the world is a tool, and everything can be a weapon is some way, you just have to find a solution to that." We want people to still be able to do that, but we also want to satisfy people who don't care too much about sandbox."
Evolution, not pressure
As far as moving the series into this new direction, Yerli said the change was more about "evolution" than pressure from going multiplatform.
"For me, it's a new generation of sandbox, to be honest, because it's a challenge," he said. "It's a challenge to be more accessible and deep at the same time.
"Crysis was a bit difficult to access because it required more burden on the player to think. What we want is for the burden to be reduced, but thinking is still allowed, so the access is easier, simplified. Generally, if you have complex systems that are more easily accessible, it is an evolution and a challenge. Hence, moving the sandbox to a choreographed sandbox was a challenge in gameplay design."
Crysis 2 hits the US on March 22, and Europe on March 25 for PC, PS3, and Xbox 360.