The Opportunity for Cross-Generation Ports in 2013

A little while ago Crytek released a new trailer for Crysis 3 mainly showing off the technology of the engine it’s running on. It may have looked very interesting for fans anticipating the game, but they don’t seem to indicate that probably little, if any of the graphical features the trailer displayed will appear in the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions of the game.

The beginning of the trailer lists CryEngine 3 as “Current-Gen” and “Next-Gen” so I guess that’s a bit of an indicator. It still doesn’t drive home the fact that Crysis 3 and games like it won’t see their full potential on current consoles, yet are releasing so close to the supposed next generation console launches. I personally see this as an opportunity for cross-generation multiplatform releases.

These seem to have been fairly common during the last couple generation transitions. A lot of Neversoft games around 2000 made significant visual leaps from the original PlayStation and N64 to the Dreamcast – one of them to the original Xbox. Some of the 360’s launch games were just enhanced ports of Xbox and PS2 games. If the next Xbox is indeed launching in 2013 I think it presents an opportunity for several games to make a similar transition with even greater results, what with so many games already running on graphics engines that developers are calling “next-gen ready”.

One of the biggest examples is Battlefield 3. People have called it a next gen game trying to run on current gen hardware. When looking at the PS3 version I kinda got the feeling that it wasn’t displaying everything it wanted to, like a lot of games when they get ported to hardware weaker than what they were designed for. It would be just like EA to offer some kind of “enhanced edition” of BF3 on next gen consoles that more closely resembles the PC version.

Maybe they’re holding out for Battlefield 4, the beta to which EA has already announced. There’s already a rumor going around that EA cancelled a Wii U port of BF3 in favor of a Wii U version of BF4. Even Medal of Honor Warfighter could go through this kind of transition, running on the same Frostbite 2 engine as BF.

What applies to Crysis 3 actually applies to all three of the Crysis games that Crytek tried to port to current gen machines. HD collections are already popular on the PS3 – why not make some kind of “Crysis Maximum Collection” for next gen consoles with the graphical bells and whistles that PC players currently enjoy?

One other game I’ve always seen as apt for this kind of transition is The Witcher 2. I’ve heard great things about the 360 adaptation of the game, but that still doesn’t mean a next gen version wouldn’t be worthwhile if only CDProjekt wasn’t busy with other stuff. TW2 never got a PS3 version, so why not a PS4 version?

Really though, if there are games that end up appearing on two generations of consoles next year, they’ll mostly be the games that get announced and shown at E3, as we currently don’t have any idea what will be coming out 12 months from now. Watch_Dogs maybe one such game – it’s slated for current gen consoles but those versions definitely won’t look like what they showed at E3 2012.


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