Release Date: February 19, 2013
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Platform(s): PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Windows
Once a franchise that was known for straining the capabilities of gaming PCs the world over, Crysis now seems to be settling into a groove that embraces open environments, varied play styles, and jaw-droppingly stunning graphics. All three of those elements have been very much at the forefront of everything we've seen so far from Crytek for Crysis 3.
What We Know:
Crysis 3 picks up in 2047, a full 24 years after the events of Crysis 2. Our Nanosuit-clad hero -- the body of Alcatraz wearing the suit of Prophet -- returns to the ruins of New York City, which is now encased in a massive CELL-controlled Nanodome. The city itself is a disaster zone, completely overrun by vegetation and littered with the remains of the alien Ceph technology. The Nanodome is ostensibly there to protect the city and cleanse it of alien life, but CELL is also using it as a cover to mask an attempted global takeover.
Inside the Nanodome is what Crytek has been calling the "Seven Wonders of the Urban Rainforest," with the remains of New York City being divided into an assortment of biomes, such as swamplands, canyons, and grasslands. The goal of the development team is to mesh the pacing and the flow of Crysis 2 with the open-ended play sensibilities of Crysis. We're already getting a sense of that from the ongoing Seven Wonders of Crysis 3 web series, which is directed and produced by Hollywood filmmaker Albert Hughes (Dead Presidents, Menace II Society).
Crytek has also revealed the details of two team-based multiplayer modes that stand apart from the solo play-focused campaign. In Hunter Mode, a pair of random chosen players are designated as Hunters, which amount to permanently cloaked, bow-wielding badasses. They're both tasked with taking on a larger squad (10 on console, 14 on PC) of CELL operatives in a two-minute round, with every CELL soldier eliminated re-spawning as a Hunter.
The other revealed multiplayer mode for Crysis 3 is called Crash Site. Here, two teams of six (teams of eight on PC) face off as they work to capture and hold a series of moving Ceph crash sites. It's essentially a King of the Hill mode with a few twists. All players hit the battlefield with the same loadouts, but those who reach a crash site first can also pick up shields for added defense. Crash Site also features Pingers, a mech-like Ceph vehicle that you can use to rain destruction down on the opposing team.
Crytek has confirmed that Crysis 3 will include 12 maps and eight modes for multiplayer, so you can probably look forward to more reveals prior to the game's February release.
What We Expect:
The hope is that Crytek really nails it in Crysis 3. The original game holds up remarkably well even now, as we saw in 2011 when EA finally put out a console for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Crysis 2 had some great ideas as well, but it was extremely rough, at least on consoles. Even putting aside the sequel's more linear execution, you're still left with a game that was littered with bugs. It felt unpolished at launch and it fell off of most people's radars quickly.
All of which leaves Crysis 3 in a difficult to predict place. On the one hand, you've got a super talented team at Crytek. You've got a game that, by all appearances so far, looks -- both visually and technically -- outstanding. Yet in spite of that, it's also hard to forget that Crysis 2 looked plenty promising prior to its March 2011 launch. Given all of that, we remain cautiously optimistic about Crysis 3. The negative impression left by its predecessor is impossible to ignore, but Crytek seems to have embraced the feedback and used it to build a better game.
Will it be the best one yet? We'll have to wait and see.