The original Crysis debuted as a PC-exclusive game in 2007, and it quickly became the gold standard for unattainably high-end PC gaming. This was a game that brought most gaming PCs grinding to a halt unless you reduced your graphical settings. One thing was clear at the time of the game's original release four years ago: Crysis wouldn't work on a console. Or would it? Now, Crytek is bringing the original game (the single-player campaign only, no multiplayer) to the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3 and will be releasing it next month. Then again, Crytek already released the sequel, Crysis 2, in March of this year to both the PC and to consoles. So why release the first game to consoles now? Crytek president Cevat Yerli explains.
GameSpot: Tell us about the decision to bring the first Crysis to consoles--a decision that some might find confusing, especially since Crysis 2 is already available for consoles. Why Crysis for consoles and why now?
Cevat Yerli: Even though Crysis was released more than four years ago, many people still perceive the game as one they can't play without owning a high-end PC. So, many people did not get the chance to experience the original Crysis the first time around. With the development of CryENGINE 3, we have improved the technology in a way that finally lets us bring Crysis to consoles without compromising the true experience and to also make improvements on the original gameplay. We actually started investigating bringing Crysis to consoles before we finished Crysis 2, and after Crysis 2 was released, there was such a strong desire from the community to play Crysis on consoles that we felt we had to satisfy our fans. We're really pleased that so many people will now be able to find out how the Crysis story began and give them the opportunity to meet the iconic characters from the first installment.
GS: In 2007, the original Crysis quickly became known as the game that would bring computers to their knees. For starters, as a flagship game for DirectX 10, the game carried a whopping gigabyte of textures and more than 80,000 shaders. How can all this graphical detail successfully be brought over to consoles intact?
CY: While the original PC version of Crysis was developed on CryENGINE 2 technology, the console version of Crysis has been updated onto our latest engine. CryENGINE 3 has allowed us to improve the way we deal with large sets of textures and shaders, which is basically what makes Crysis on consoles possible in the first place. On top of that, we remastered parts of Crysis to make better use of the textures we have, and we added a completely new lighting system and some cutting-edge special effects. In some cases, Crysis today looks even better on consoles than it did on the PC four years ago. But that being said, our intention with putting Crysis onto consoles is not to compete with its PC brother but, rather, to be a top-notch experience for Xbox 360 and PS3 users.
GS: Are there any particular strengths unique to console platforms you feel you can leverage in this new port?
CY: The advantage of working on consoles is that they are fixed platforms so it is possible to be extremely specific with optimizations. When working on PCs, there is a great deal of diversity of architecture, which actually reduces the optimization options.
GS: Any chance we'll see content from the Warhead follow-up or from Crysis 2 (multiplayer maps and the like) appear in the new console game?
CY: No, at the moment, there are no plans to use Warhead or Crysis 2 content for Crysis on consoles.
GS: What changes, if any, are being made to the single-player campaign to make the game work better as a 2011 console shooter?
CY: The most significant improvement is definitely how the single-player campaign is played with the adaption of the nanosuit 2 controls from Crysis 2. Players struggled to utilize the full potential of the first nanosuit with the original control scheme, so by bringing across the improved control functions from Crysis 2, we hoped to help players operate the incredible suit powers with consummate ease. We also received a great deal of fan feedback regarding one of the missions in the original Crysis and discovered that it was really frustrating for players and that they felt it was just not that fun to play. That's obviously the last thing you want to be hearing as a game developer, so we made the decision to remove that particular level completely, and we believe that the game as a whole is actually better for it. Finally, we have spent a great deal of time rebalancing the game and adding completely new features to make sure the entire experience is as tense, challenging, and captivating as it was always meant to be. This new version of Crysis now plays even better than the original, which is why I know people are in for an incredible experience with Crysis on consoles.
GS: Finally, is there anything else you'd like to add about this new console version of Crysis?
CY: We're really excited to be bringing the legendary Crysis to gamers who were unable to play it on the PC. It has been an amazing experience to have the chance to improve an already incredible game, and we believe that even those who played the PC version will find a whole new experience on consoles. Many people were skeptical as to whether or not we would be able to successfully bring Crysis onto consoles, but we are absolutely delighted with what we've achieved. Our talented team here at Crytek hopes that gamers will enjoy playing Crysis on consoles as much as we've enjoyed developing it.
GS: Thanks Cevat.