Crytek plan to make Crysis 3 a lush and detailed experience that thrives on visual ambience - but without including the enormous distances and sweeping vistas offered by The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.
In an interview with games.on.net, Crytek Rasmus Højengaard suggested that Skyrim's staggering distances forced Bethesda to scrimp on the fine details - and that Crytek will be prioritising micro over macro.
In Crysis 3, we want scale, but we don’t want the immense scale that Skyrim has.
What we then add is detail within that scale that we decide, so that we get this richness in the environment that we want. Skyrim, they’re going for epic, epic scale, which means that their micro-detail is prioritised less. Their micro-detail exists in their grandeur rather than in their let’s-take-a-look-at-this-little-thing-here.
In development terms, this means that Crytek will be returning to the "almost arrogant" philosophy of the original Crysis for Crysis 3; focusing on shoehorning as much details as possible into every aspect of the environment. This means both advanced lighting effects, forest animals and dynamic foliage animations to create the impression of genuine depth.
It isn’t in any way pushing anything but the ambience of the game, but ambience in a setting like this is super-important. If you stop and everything’s frozen, it’s not gonna be believable.
You need all these layers with the depth; you need the light-shafts that move, you need the movement of the plants, and you need the little animals that hop around or some random deer that walks across the screen at one point that you can maybe shoot with your bow if you want.
“Stuff like this is what’s gonna make people go, ‘Holy crap, this is a rich environment.’ That is our goal.”
With luck, the newfound greenery and rainforest environment beneath the New York nanodome will allow CryENGINE 3 to show its true potential, compared to the drab locations in Crysis 2. Højengaard admitted that there simply "wasn't room" for this level of fine detail in the previous game.
Matt's Crysis 3 preview has more juicy details about what to expect from Crytek's upcoming shooter.