Crytek’s groundbreaking FPS series could be making a return?

Over the long weekend, the long-dormant official Crysis twitter account fired back up again, after having been silent since 2016. The cryptic message of “RECEIVING DATA” doesn’t really give much away, but it does pretty heavily suggest that something is afoot, and we can perhaps expect something new for this series in the future.

Iconic for being perhaps the best game to put a new top-end PC through its paces, the original Crysis was a big leap forward for shooters. It placed you in large sandbox levels, with open-ended gameplay, high fidelity visuals, and at the time very impressive physics simulations. There were a couple of sequels, culminating in 2013’s Crysis 3, but for me, they never quite lived up to the promise of the original game. The sequels were not without their charms, but having been designed to run on the dated Xbox 360 and PS3, you could feel the reduction in scope and scale, as levels became more linear, and the sandbox transformed into more of a corridor.

The original game even to this day is fairly taxing on modern-day PC systems, where high frame rate performance is a challenge for even top-end PCs. When designing Crysis, Crytek had intended for it to run well on PCs at the time, but also to be able to take advantage of more powerful future systems. What they had not taken into consideration was the shift towards multi-core CPU design, and instead optimized their engine around single-core performance, and anticipated that single-core performance would continue scaling up over time. That’s not how things played out, and whilst single-core performance has increased somewhat over the last decade, it’s been a multi-core performance that’s had the sharpest improvement, and the version of CryEngine that Crysis runs on is not equipped to take advantage of this improvement.

Perhaps then, this new project could be some kind of remaster, bringing the original game up to a more recent version of their CryEngine, to take full advantage of modern 8-core processors, and implement a host of technical improvements made possible by a more modern game engine. Or perhaps it’s not just the original game, but a full trilogy rerelease. This would make sense not just for a PC release, but also for a collection targeting the new upcoming consoles from Sony and Microsoft. There have been Xbox and Playstation versions of Crysis games before, and even though it’s been impressive to see some versions of those games running on relatively underpowered consoles, they’ve always been fairly compromised, with graphical fidelity and especially framerate taking a significant hit.

Ownership of Crysis is split between EA and Crytek, with the original game published under the now-defunct EA Partners banner, where EA partnered with external game studios on individual projects. It’s not exactly clear how that ownership was split, or to what extent EA would have to sign off on any kind of remaster or sequel, so this new tease to me suggests either that EA and Crytek are still on good terms and are working together on something new for Crysis, or perhaps the original contracts had an expiration date built into them, and the rights have returned entirely to Crytek.

EA did say on an earnings report at the end of last year that they would be releasing some “fan-favorite” remasters between April 2020 and March 2021. Hey, that’s now! We know that Burnout Paradise Remastered is heading to the Nintendo Switch, and Command & Conquer: Remastered is out in June, but aside from those games, EA’s lineup is fairly clear. Perhaps a Crysis or Crysis Trilogy would fit in at some point in that range of dates, and it certainly would meet the criteria of “Fan favorite”.

Throwing fuel on the fire, there was this video from 2019 by Crytek, highlighting some of the new features of CryEngine 5.6, which at the 2:16 mark switches to a lush jungle landscape by the coast, extremely reminiscent of the setting from the original Crysis. The trailer also suddenly uses the song First Light by Inon Zur, a song which was used in the original Crysis, and is still the property of EA, and couldn’t be used without their permission. Finally, we hear the very distinct Nanosuit mode changing sound from Crysis, an unmistakable sound for fans of the original game. These could just be references to the old iconic game or could be our first glimpse of what to expect from a Crysis rerelease of some kind.

Or perhaps rather than looking back, they could be looking forward. Maybe rather than a remaster of older titles, this could be our first tease at Crysis 4. Maybe the best way to push forward this series would be a continuation rather than a retread. It would certainly be interesting to see what the next evolution of this groundbreaking series could be, and what a new game built from the ground up to push newer systems to their limit would be able to achieve.

What are your hopes for the future of Crysis? What do you think this tease might be hinting towards? Can your PC run Crysis? Let us know in the comments.

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