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Crytek interview: 'We don't want to be the company that just does sci-fi shooters'

Crysis dev on Warface, mobile and a secret shooter...

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Alongside the triple-A shooters, you're now equally well known as a technology company. Your GDC press release built buzz around your 'nex-gen' engine features, how much is Crytek starting to think about preparing itself for that?

It's always a continuous evolution on our engine. We delivered DX11 for Crysis 2 and we've continued evolving that. Our next-generation PC stuff looks great. We are showing some of that, so we're really pushing the boundaries on PC. PC is our next-generation and we'll keep going with that.

We are constantly adding new features and constantly stretching what we're doing. We have some incredibly talented tech guys who go, 'I want to go and work on this bit', and all of a sudden we have a new module. So we're always advancing it. Each of the game teams are pushing the tech, we're quite certain we're quite a long way ahead of most people.

Does the desire for middleware increase going forward? Yes. We're putting a lot of effort into procedurally generating stuff, because four times the visual fidelity doesn't mean you can spend four times as much on art. So we need to provide tools that allow people to produce that kind of graphical fidelity a little bit cheaper. We're putting a lot of focus on the tools that allow us to produce these really stunning things, but not for four times the cost.

It's a much more reserved message you're sending compared to Epic's gun-ho 'next-gen' demos in the hall next door...

Zoom
Ryse: MiA since E3

Well we've shipped a game with DX11 and we did it because we wanted to, we did it because it was important to us that we made a PC experience that looks stunning. Yes, we do have complete redesigns of the engine, but CryEngine 3 is already far enough ahead. We're always looking at adding new things.

Epic's Mark Rein told us he thinks next-gen launch games will run on current tech like Unreal Engine 3...

Funny that Mark would say that! CryEngine 3 is already visually stunning. The PC next-generation that we have is way beyond what we can deliver on these current-generation of consoles. So if we're looking at next-generation platforms that aren't PC then we're already a long way ahead.

We were at the Xbox Spring Showcase and your Kinect title Ryse was nowhere to be seen...

I cannot talk about that one...

Is it alive?

Yeah, absolutely. It's doing really well and we're really, really happy with where it's going. It's our annual thing; we show a trailer for Ryse at E3. It's going really, really well. The team actually delivered a milestone yesterday, which was quite nice. It's kind of good to see that. We're really happy with the progress. At some stage will be showing and giving more information about it. Unfortunately again we're kind of constrained by our publisher.

Does Crytek have any plans for this year's emerging platforms, PS Vita and Wii U?

Our tech works on Wii U. We've ported the engine to Wii U. None of our current games have Wii U versions, but we certainly don't rule that out. I think it's going to be interesting and I'm looking forward to seeing Wii U. So we're not doing anything with our current franchises at the moment but we're not ruling it out.

We'll end on an easy one: You've been called "one of the most ambitious independent developers in existence". Is that fair?

Yeah (laughs). We want to do the best with whatever we do. We're doing quite a lot of different things; Warface is a really big thing for us, it's a new market, so it's really important that we deliver a really high quality product. Our approach to tablets was we only wanted to do it when we were ready.

We certainly are ambitious. We have some really talented people and hopefully that puts us in good stead for the future.

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