“But can it run Crysis?” has been an internet slogan for all PC gamers since Crytek released the technologically demanding and system destroying first-person shooter in 2007. On Feb 19, gamers may relive that burning question with the release of Crysis 3. Crytek’s CEO Caveat Yerli even went as far as stating that Crysis 3 would melt gamers’ PCs. With much excitement and anticipation for this melting of silicon, message boards are bound to explode with non-stop compatibility questions and frame per second debates. These kinds of discussions alongside Crytek’s reputation for pushing the envelope in terms of graphics and hardware reverberate within the community. So it’s not hard to argue what the Crysis series means to PC gamers. It doesn’t matter if the gameplay is not enjoyable, (which it is) Crysis 3’s impact in the industry will be felt based solely on its graphical merit.
Whereas Call of Duty is the measuring stick when it comes to multiplayer online gameplay thanks to its exhaustive ranking system and well-worn formula, Crysis 3 is the analogue when it comes to what a shooter can and should look like. If sneaking around densely packed foliage in post-apocalyptic New York with blades of grass whipping along to the wind isn’t enough for sensory overload, then frenetic fire fights amidst crumbling set pieces against a backdrop of screen shaking explosions should do the trick. The visual shock that the Crysis series does to gamers cannot be argued against. This alone is why every developer in the industry takes note since games like these raise expectations for how their games should look.
Another reason why the newest Crysis will affect the industry is the rise of mobile gaming in smartphones and tablets. Many companies, such as Nvidia and its Tegra 4 processor, have shifted their gaze towards the mobile market since that is where all the consumers are going. It is also attractive for developers to create games for these smaller platforms since securing enormous budgets that games like Mass Effect 3 command is simply not possible. If the gaming industry becomes too focused on developing for the booming handheld market, it wouldn’t bode so well for gamers and developers of triple-A titles. So this is where a game like Crysis 3 is needed. It reminds gamers of what experiences can and cannot be had on handheld devices. A game like Crysis 3 recreates the buzz that gamers die for by stating, “Dude, have you seen this game?”
The stigma that surrounds the Crysis series will always be about how amazing the visuals are. Crysis and Crysis 2 were well received and early indicators seem to put Crysis 3 in the same regard. No gamer really expects Crysis 3 to reinvent the FPS genre in terms of gameplay. But it doesn’t have to do so. However, they do expect Crytek to deliver cutting edge visuals that accentuate the overall experience. If there is no one willing to push the gaming medium further in this direction, it would be hard to imagine living in a world where every shooter released strives to remain on par with Call of Duty-like visuals. Competition in the hostile first-person shooter landscape pushed Crytek to distinguish themselves from all the others. In this case, Crytek is pushing the industry to come along with them.