Crysis 3 will return at least a bit of control to PC gamers when it hits next year, the developers tell Polygon.
The original Crysis was the sort of punishing, resource-hungry computer game that set a new, very high bar for PC gaming rigs when it hit in 2007. But when Crysis 2 hit in 2011 it initially took much of the user options away from PC gamers.
Crysis 3 will return to a system that can, if a gamer want it to, push a gaming rig to its limits, Carl Jones, director of business development at Crytek, told Polygon.
"What we did in Crysis 2 ... was a massive amount of optimization because we were aiming at the consoles as target platforms, we didn't dumb the game down ... actually what we did was take those high end features and optimize them so they'd run on a console," he said. "So, having got to that point, now we're back into the phase where we can add more stuff in. So for the high end PC it really is going to be a benchmarking setting game. There is no other game that is going to be pushing hardware as hard early next year."
That said, people will still be able to run Crysis 3 on the same spec computer that ran its predecessor, but if you want to see the game running on max settings you'll likely need a super high end system.
The game's New York City jungle setting is augmented by those improved graphics. In particular, I found the game's ability to present live reflects impressive. Thanks to a bit of tech trickery, pools of water can now reflect an enemy standing near by, a great tactical feature for the game.
Other improvements I noticed was the decision to broaden the "action bubbles" found in Crysis 2. In that game, the traditional linear progression of a most shooters was broken up by small sandbox areas that allowed a player to decide how they wanted to work their way through the area.
In Crysis 3, Crytek is pushing the sandbox further because, Jones said, that's where everyone was having fun in Crysis 2.
And since the game takes place in a city so overrun with nature that you sometimes forget you're not in a jungle, using stealth to turn the table on the bad guys and hunt them down is much easier. The game's inclusion of a bow also makes playing through areas quietly much easier. Players pull up the futuristic bow by tapping on the direction pad. Firing the bow, which has a number of special heads, doesn't pop Prophet out of stealth mode if he is cloaked at the time. This means players can, if they keep an eye on their suit's power, clear an entire area by sneaking around popping off shots with the bow. While I found ammo for the bow fairly limited, you can retrieve your arrows from a dead body if you can get to it.
Crytek 3 is almost as much a way to show what Crytek's CryEngine can do as it is a game, Jones said. And the tech continues to attract new developers, including some for the Wii U.
"The engine is working on Wii U," Jones said. "There are a couple of licenses and one very, very big project using CryEngine on Wii U."
While Jones declined to describe the game, he did say that it was a "very different style."
We're very excited with the partner we're working with there and what they're going to do on Wii U," he said.
As for Crysis 3, it won't be coming to the Wii U, mostly because the timing of the console's release doesn't work out for the studio, Jones said.
"The timing is the biggest issue," he said. "The engine is running, but it is so close to releasing Crysis 3 that we couldn't pull off the whole game now.
"The timing didn't quite fit."