But Can It Run Crysis? is a phrase referring to the 2007 Crytek first-person shooter Crysis, underscoring the reputation the game has obtained for it's steep system requirements at the time of its release. The phrase has slowly evolved into a snowclone as years pass, substituting "But can it run X?" for the most recent and system-demanding title at the time.
Crysis was released on November 13th, 2007 by Crytek and Electronic Arts, and was developed on the (then) latest version of the CryEngine, which also powered Crytek's first title, FarCry. It was one of the first games to ever utilize Microsoft's DirectX 10 API framework, which is only available on Microsoft Windows Vista or later. Other feats prided by the Crytek developers was the game being created with over 1 million lines of code, utilization of over 1 GB of texture data, and up to 85,000 active shaders.
Since it's release, Crysis has received universal acclaim, hailing it as the first true 7th-gen gaming experience, with a Metacritic aggregated score of 91 and multiple game of the year awards.
One of the earliest uses of the phrase comes from the bit-tech.net article on the game posted December 15th, 2009, stating that "The question 'Yeah, but can it play Crysis?' [has become] a comical catchphrase addition to most graphics card reviews." The article also questions the necessity of such taxing features on the game at release, and if this was a step in the right direction for gaming.
The phrase quickly became synonymous to PC gaming and was popular amongst many gaming outlets, with the phrase seeing use alongside queries of the user's system specs. The phrase's memetic status was also recognized by Crytek, inserting the phrase as an achievement in Crysis 2. The phrase was referenced in several image macros (examples shown below).
"But Can It Run Crysis" has slowly evolved into a snowclone phrase over the years, as PC gaming has become more widespread and accessible thanks to lower priced PC peripherals and computational advancements plateauing. The phrase has been changed to accommodate for more recent technical milestones, such as RSI's Star Citizen , changing into "But can it run X" (Minecraft example shown below).