Crysis 3 will differ from Crysis 2 in that it won't be a console-port running on the PC. Rather it will be a PC-port running on consoles, including some of the graphical features that are available in DX11. The programmers at Crytek don't want the experience to differ between the PC version and the console versions of the game.
"We want to make sure as much as is humanly possible can translate from a DX11 variant into a DX9 variant, that will work almost as good on an Xbox console to whatever extent we can, because we don't want the experience to be different between the platforms," Rasmus Hjengaard, director of creative development at Crytek, told Eurogamer.
"It is very, very difficult, but it is possible. It just requires a lot of effort. Some of the stuff these guys are making work on consoles now is absolutely amazing. It's render features that shouldn't theoretically work on consoles, but they've managed to construct code that can emulate a similar thing from a...hack and slash sounds wrong, but they don't have the same streamlined pipeline you would have with a DX11 structure, but they can get to a similar result just by experimenting and using tips and tricks."
The programmers at Crytek give a concrete example: "I'm not saying this will be in the game, but they managed to make parallax occlusion mapping work, which is an advanced form of bump mapping where you get silhouettes as well, and you have self-shadowing even though you have absolutely no polygons," he explained. "That's a very advanced feature, and it shouldn't theoretically run on a 360, but they made it run on a 360."
However, some features won't show up on the console version if they choke the performance down too much. Obviously the game has to be playable, so they are going to push it to the max, but not beyond. They want to showcase what the Xbox 360 and PS3 are capable at of, even though they are at the end of their life. "What it all boils down to is to what extent they're able to use this without choking the console," he said.
"It's always interesting to push stuff when the perception is you can't push it anymore," Hjengaard said. "That's definitely something we're doing." Additionally, the game is able to be created quicker because of the stable engine and developed game ideas. "We can just be very efficient about the production because we have a stable technology path and we're not developing a new engine," he said. "And we have people who really know what they want to do with the game, which means we can get something out somewhat quicker than we could with Crysis 2, which had new engine development, and Crysis 1, which was new IP. As soon as you have to invent something it always takes longer than if you know what you're doing."
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