crysis cover photo

A Switchtastic Classic Returns

by Jared Petty 

Crysis. The name invokes vivid gorgeous worlds, stunning set pieces, fast action, and the agonized screams of my underpowered PC trying to keep up with the gargantuan graphical glory.

Thankfully, we no longer need fusion-powered zero-Kelvin degrees of hardware liquid cooling technology to enjoy the Crysis experience. And now, we can take it anywhere. Crysis 2 Remastered is available for pre-order on Switch right now at Limited Run Games.

Crysis has been a meme for so long, a name so constantly associated with technology testbeds and FPS benchmarks that I think we sometimes forget that it’s a superb and innovative shooter in its own right. Crysis 2’s dystopian story evokes themes that are hauntingly relevant today. It’s a tight, dramatic shooter without too much overhead, a game as carefully crafted in its smart mechanics as it is in its famous worldbuilding artistry.

To find out more of what makes Crysis 2 Remastered tick, I talked with Steffen Halbig of Crytek to find out more about what it was like bringing it to Switch. He’s the project lead for Crysis 2 Remastered and has a very long history with the series.

“I’ve been working at Crytek for almost 15 years and was part of the original Crysis 2 game development back in the day,” said Steffen. “At that time I was a QA Tester.”

“I remember the first time I saw a dummy character with a dummy weapon running in a whitebox environment,” he continued. “That was my first test for the original Crysis 2.”  

“Since the Crysis series is known for its technical excellence, bringing this new version to Switch and creating a version that fits both handheld and docked play posed some interesting challenges.”

“We are all aware of the ‘Can it run Crysis?’ meme. Back in the day we had a lot of problems running Crysis 2 on XBOX 360 and PlayStation 3, so it would have been just an ambitious dream to have Crysis 2 Remastered running on a handheld device. But at Crytek we have an old slogan: ‘Disrespect the Impossible.’”

That’s a cool slogan. I’m going to remember that one. 

“It was fantastic to bring Crysis 2 Remastered to the Switch,” continued Steffen. “Every day we made new improvements, and slowly we realized that we could achieve something big. Now we have created probably the best shooter game on the Switch with amazing visuals. The development team did a fantastic job.” 

I asked Steffen about the challenges faced in bringing Crysis to a new platform.

“Performance, performance, performance. We started the development with a frame rate of about 5 FPS, and at that point we hadn’t even added any new features to the game yet. Imagine having 5 FPS, but you would still like to add 15 new features.”

“At the end, as mentioned above, we were able to have all the new features in the game while maintaining a stable frame rate.”  

“For me personally the Switch development was the smoothest one compared to the other platforms. We learned a lot from the Crysis 1 Remastered development on the Switch and integrated all the good changes to Crysis 2 Remastered. It sounds boring but we didn’t have any surprises for the Crysis 2 project!” 

Any development project is a matter of scope and measured decision-making: what’s most important to get done to make the game everything it should be? I asked Steffen about his priorities in bringing Crysis 2 to a new generation of players.

“We started 2 years ago with the Crysis 2 Remastered project,” he said. “During development of the original Crysis 2 we were limited with many technologies, so the first thing was to think about adding new technologies.”

“The main technology you’ll feel in every part of the game is SVOGI – Global Illumination. After that we tried to add more and more new features, and in the end this totaled 15 new features. And that was a big challenge.” 

“Why? Because you cannot add just 15 new great features, as the game performance becomes bad. So we needed to make sure to optimize the game. That resulted in 150 unique CPU and GPU improvements for the Nintendo Switch.” 

“We think that the gameplay is still great, so we did not touch it. But we have added new options like Gyro Control or Motion Blur to the game which lots of Switch users will like.” 

So what makes Crysis 2 a special game? According to Steffen:

“I think it is the impressive visuals and the many different environments combined with 19 different levels and the Nano Suit powers. You will experience the game differently every time you play. That results in a lot of potential gameplay fun.” 

And what’s he most proud of? 

“That we were able to add so many new features and improvements in the game while having a high gaming resolution and stable frame rate without any performance drops,” he said. “We are super proud of the Switch development Team at Saber Sweden.”

It’s still weird to think that soon I’m going to be able to drop a tiny plastic cartridge in my Switch and hold Crysis 2 in my hands. There’s a surrealism that my lizard brain simply can’t get itself completely around: an awesome version of the world’s biggest benchmark game on portable. But after talking with Steffen, I can’t wait. 

Crysis 2 Remastered and Crysis 2 Remastered Deluxe Edition are both ready to pre-order today at Limited Run Games, so head over now and pick it up

November 03, 2021