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Crysis 2: Why PC Gamers and Console Gamers Win

07 czerwca, 2009

Crysis 2 could represent a revolutionary change in how multiplatform development is conducted...

Crysis 2 was one of the most significant announcements to come out of E3. The teaser trailer didn\'t reveal much, but the big news was that the franchise is going multi-platform with this installment. To be frank, we are not surprised, due to the fact that the Cryengine 3 allows Crytek to quickly build a game across PC, PS3, and Xbox 360 with little hassle and performance issues.

Now, some might remember the editorial addressing Cryengine 3 and the misconception that this means Crysis is coming to consoles. What we wrote is still true. We are not seeing the original Crysis (and Warhead) on consoles as their level design and dynamic nature simply make them impossible to port, regardless of the engine used.

PC Gamers: Crysis 2 Will NOT Be "Dumbed-Down!"

PC gamers might bemoan the fact that this probably means that Crysis 2 will be "gimped" or "dumbed-down" for the console audience. Fortunately, we do not believe that this is true. Whilst there is a Crysis 2 SKU coming to consoles and to PC, this does not guarantee that they will be the exact same game.

In a PC Gamer interview conducted about a year ago regarding Crysis Warhead and the future of Crytek, Cevat Yerli was adamant about his company\'s dedication to the PC platform and their stance on potential multiplatform development. This is best communicated by the quotation below:

"I think there is a different target audience for the console market. I wouldn’t say dumbed-down, but you have to distill the experience to make it easier to access, and you have to limit the number of options you have. If we were to do a multi-platform title, then the way we would approach it is that there would be a design team that works on the console experience and a design team that works on the PC experience."
- Cevat Yerli

This basically means that the experience across the two versions (PC vs Console) will be different, resulting in a game that is tailor-made for each platform. In this case, PC gamers can hope to see the large dynamic environments and gameplay that the original Crysis is known for while console gamers receive an experience that is tailor-made for their controllers and play-style while taking full advantage of their hardware.

This will result in a game that\'s thematically the same across platforms, but one that is not a carbon-copied experience that plays to the lowest denominator. It is quite a momentous task, and one that most developers don\'t bother with (besides Valve and Infinity Ward, but even they don\'t execute it to such an extreme). However, the game has been in development for over two years and has a 150 person team working on it. Even more heartening is the news that satellite studios are helping out Crytek Frankfurt (who are known for their PC background), meaning that the guys over at Crytek UK (formerly known as Free Radical) might be lending a hand to create a great console experience. Crytek definitely has the manpower to pull something like this off.

Psst, Crysis 2 Will Look Even Better than The First!

Crytek has insisted that Crysis 2 will raise the graphical bar even higher. Even since 2007, they\'ve been touting many improvements that the sequel will contain: "Special attention is thereby on the courses of motion as well as the face textures and - to animations. Thus a still more realistic play feeling is to be achieved. An explained goal is to be approximated it an experience on film level." - December 2007 interview.

The mere fact that Crysis 2 will be running on Cryengine 2\'s successor, Cryengine 3, is proof alone that the game will look better. Additions that range from fully dynamic lighting to high-resolution texture compression will lead to higher graphical fidelity. Perhaps the biggest advantage of this new engine is its ability to render more eye candy with a lower performance penalty, a side effect of Crytek\'s need to optimize their technology to get it to work on console platforms.

Wait, What About Us Console Gamers?

Sure, this is Crytek\'s first console effort (the Far Cry games after the original PC version were done by internal Ubisoft studios) and it could go wrong. However, there is some promising signs in the form of Crytek UK, which are console veterans (Timesplitters, Second Sight, Haze) and can really help Crytek build a great console experience.

You can also be sure that Crytek will push console hardware to its limits, as the Cryengine 3 footage that they revealed at GDC shows. This WORK-IN-PROGRESS footage was quite impressive. Given more development time, it is almost certain that Crytek\'s technology will rival the best that Sony\'s internal studios and Epic Games have been able to showcase on the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360, respectively.

Yerli has stated that "The goal is to be the best looking game on PS3 [and] the best looking game on 360 in the entire market." Ambitious, but given that this is Crytek, certainly not impossible.

We all Win.

If Crytek sticks to this development philosophy, then Crysis 2 will be a product that is a victory for both camps of gamers. It will hopefully allow Crytek to profit much more substantially from their ventures, resulting in even more future projects (hopefully including a potential Timespliters 4).

The following Yerli quote best summarizes our hopes:
"We don\'t need to dumb down the game; the technology provides all the horsepower we need to make a kick-ass 360 game, a kick-ass PS3 game, and push the PC gaming forward still."

We wish you the best of luck, Crytek.

Marcin Skok
"The Gaming Corner"