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Crysis 2 Remastered first look: what to expect from Crytek's next game

Lessons learned from the original Crysis remaster.

Set for release in the Autumn, Crysis 2 and Crysis 3 Remastered are heading for current-gen and last-gen PlayStation and Xbox consoles and Nintendo Switch and today we can show you the first footage of Crysis 2 running on PlayStation 5. It's part and parcel of a developer interview we put together on a recent visit to Crytek's Frankfurt HQ, where we spoke to project lead Steffan Halbig and lead artist, Marcel Schaika. The full interview is embedded below, where we talk about the successes and failures of the Crysis Remastered project and the approach going forward in completing the trilogy.

In terms of what we can show you today, Crysis 2 running on PlayStation 5 is fundamentally a cross-generational project - you're seeing the PS4 Pro codebase running on Sony's latest machine. It's back-compat plus then, with Crytek adopting a similar approach on Xbox Series consoles. As you'll see from the debug info in the top-right of the screen, Crysis 2 Remastered runs at 1440p native resolution and what we've seen so far shows a very close lock to 60 frames per second. Expect a higher resolution on Xbox Series X.

The actual development process itself has evolved significantly since Crytek's partnership with Saber Interactive on the first Crysis. While Saber remains on point, Crytek itself has deployed more of its internal staff to guide development, to better realise the potential of the project. And in actual fact, Digital Foundry itself has taken a look at early builds and offered feedback (unpaid, to be clear). Ultimately, it's all about ensuring that the remasters are the best that they can be within the budgetary scope of the project - which explains why there is no native PS5 or Xbox Series app.

John Linneman visits Crytek HQ to talk Crysis 2 Remastered with project lead Steffan Halbig and lead artist, Marcel Schaika - and this is also your first look at the game itself.Watch on YouTube

In terms of the production, we should be seeing a significantly smoother process this time around. For the first Crysis, Crytek chose to enhance the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions as opposed to the PC original, meaning that a plethora of features found in the 2007 original were absent. Gradually, the missing content was restored to the game, but there's still the sense that the game isn't where it should be. For the last two chapters in the Crysis Trilogy, Crytek has access to much better PC versions, built on more modern CryEngines that support DX11 features. The baseline for Crysis 2 is the DX11 code then, so key features such as tessellation do appear in the remaster - but the team has gone beyond that.

The of-its-era teal and orange colour grade has been replaced with something that looks a lot better, while there is plenty of actual remastering in effect in addition to simply deploying the DX11 enhancements. Texture resolution is significantly increased via 3D scans, the handling of materials is significantly improved (especially evident on aspects like vehicles and the view weapon), while lighting in particular receives a boost via a big increase in fidelity thanks to Crytek using its real-time global illumination systems - SVOGI - while screen-space reflections are augmented via a big increase in cube-map samples. Level of detail improvements are also in place.

There are some changes in terms of available rendering modes, however. Crytek has stripped out the performance, fidelity and ray tracing options from the console builds and is concentrating on getting the right balance between fidelity and performance in one single mode. However, it's business as usual on PC, where we can expect to see ray traced reflections deployed once again along with the usual levels of customisation.

Crysis Remastered evolved over time, especially on PC. Here's our last look at the game's most recent major revision.Watch on YouTube

One interesting thing to note is that Crytek has removed the 'can it run Crysis?' mode from the PC renditions of the sequels. This mode was originally incorporated to max out fidelity and push graphics hardware to the full extent of the engine, even if tangible improvements to the actual presentation were minimal. The end result? Users automatically ran everything at max settings and were disappointed with performance - an unfortunate situation bearing in mind that Crysis Remastered didn't really need a huge GPU to look great. Speaking of performance, Crytek also informs us that CPU-based optimisations are still being worked on to further improve Crysis Remastered performance.

Although we aren't showing it today, we've also seen and played Crysis 2 and Crysis 3 Remastered running on Nintendo Switch, where understandably, 30 frames per second is the target - and in common with our thoughts on Crysis Remastered, we're rather impressed by what we're seeing there. We'll be reporting back in more depth on this project closer to release.

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