The Call of the Fireflies is a puzzle-based singleplayer mod for Crysis. There's no guns, explosions or nanosuits involved. Just an old man who follows mysterious fireflies through mountains and dark caves, sleeping villages and frozen woods, and has to use all kinds of mechanisms to open his path, while battling to stay alive in the winter cold.
Cryengine 2 is woefully neglected when it comes to the modding realm, often attributed instead as a building block for thousands and thousands of mods and levels completely identical to the base game. The expanse of the SDK and level designer go often ignored, users instead wishing to create the same old action game against north koreans over and over again.
Despite this gigantic stereotype Call of the Fireflies stands out as a mournful memento of a time almost past, and that time is what could have been if modders had truly cared about this engine. Crysis 2 is around the corner, and I fear that Call of the Fireflies will be it's swan song, a testament to the beauty, imaginative and scale that the engine can provide to those who just dig a little deeper.
Fireflies takes the players across a little journey of dream like atmosphere, spelling out an aura of mystery and sadness with playful hints at redemption, past life, the warmth and joy of revelation and the solitude in a conclusionary world. While the world is oddly devoid of life or color, it's saturation is in a poe like beauty that is often bitter sweet, acting on basic emotions or story telling elements rather than grandoise narratives.
In that sense Fireflies is a success, it is a brief, concise look at key emotions and boils down gameplay and control schemes and visuals to the most primal of basics for gaming, acting as an interactive story. While the story in and of itself is told very briefly, the visuals do the talking, telling the tale of an old man at the end of his days, or perhaps already dead, following the fireflies to where he really belongs after spending so long living in the cold.
And it is ironic, too, that Cryengine 2 has lived in the cold for so long. As it was guided by this mod to the warmths of what it could have accomplished, Crysis 2 will snuff the flame, and most likely completley stamp out this organic level designer into the past, with a niche community. But that niche community.
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