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An Audience with Crytek

Interview: Crytek boss Cevat Yerli grilled

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Where do you see first-person shooter boundaries being pushed in the future?

Yerli: I believe AI isn't finished yet. I believe interactivity - physics and AI - will be the major pushes we'll see in the next generations. After the next two generations you'll also see merging of genres happening. But principally I would bet on AI.

Did you ever expect Far Cry to be as successful as it was?

Yerli: No. We don't expect certain things today either. Generally I say, "Don't expect and you won't be disappointed". I say rather we hope it [Crysis] will have a similar impact as Far Cry.

When Far Cry came out, our only hope was there'd be a clear difference between our gameplay and that of others... I thought, "I hope people will get it, I hope they will get the gameplay".

It was very critical to get the demo out before the game so that people could actually try it first. I was convinced the demo would convert people, that it would evangelise itself.

Zoom
Screenshot from Instant Action multiplayer mode

When the demo came out, we saw people saying on forums, "I hated this game, but you know what? After three times playing it, now I love it".

How would you compare Crytek to Valve and id? Are you in the same league?

Yerli: I would never dare to say anything about leagues or not. I just know that what we do is, we don't care about competition, we don't react to competition. We have a goal, a vision, and we just move as fast as we can.

But if I look at the strengths and weaknesses, I would say that Valve is business orientated still, but also very creative. We are very technically orientated, but very creative, but we can scale. That means we can utilise what we have in a larger production value environment.

id Software is very specific to tech at this stage, but also can't scale very well because their technology depends largely on John Carmack. So it's like a bottleneck there.

But whether we are in the same league? One thing I'd say is, when we started making games, they were already doing triple-A titles. In fact I was playing around in the mod community for Quake and Unreal.

I think an assessment that's more fair is that, if they hadn't existed, we probably wouldn't exist.

Going back to Crysis, the multiplayer mode Power Struggle - it's interesting that you actually considered releasing that as a standalone product...

Yerli: Yeah, we looked at it and said, "Guys, actually this is easily in the same league as Counter-Strike and Battlefield 2". But at the same time we said, "You know what, this decision would be purely from a money aspect, and it's not a gamer- or customer-friendly decision".

So ultimately we said let's make it part of Crysis, but let's make sure we communicate it not just as an attachment but that it's really as versatile as a standalone title. It is, it features everything a standalone title would have.

Zoom
Screenshot from Instant Action multiplayer mode

Will you support multiplayer with internally-produced content once the game has shipped?

Yerli: Certainly. Our support for multiplayer and Power Struggle will go on easily for two years. For patching, new maps, visual updates and whatnot. We'll have a team working on it post-launch.

The single-player level we played, Assault, was very reminiscent of Far Cry...

Yerli: With the core gameplay, you'll catch yourself in the mindset that, when you make decisions and fight enemies, you will reminisce about Far Cry. But I tell you, go play Far Cry again... and you'll see a huge difference."

That's what usually happens actually when people say it looks like Far Cry. Please! Don't say that! Compare it yourself and you'll see it's actually way different.

The speed and intensity of the gameplay is something you won't find in Far Cry. It's also more fair.

One of the goals has been to make every second of gameplay more intense but also make the gamer survive longer.

OK, we won't mention that again...

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