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Crytek's Cevat Yerli talks free-to-play, TimeSplitters and more

'There's no reason gamers shouldn't get triple-A for free... and we're going to do it'

Crytek's made a name for itself delivering super-high-end PC content, but since 2006 the company's output has gradually diversified into consoles, mobiles, social networks and even non-game markets.

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CVG met with company CEO Cevat Yerli to discuss the new grounds the company is hoping to cover over the next two years.

What has been the focus of your showcase at E3?Most notably we have Warface here, which showcases our free-to-play, triple-A approach to online shooting - it's what we call a "social FPS". With Warface we are proving the concept of quality and price point can be high and low respectively. So you can have triple-A quality for an entry barrier of zero cost.

Also, from a specifications perspective, the scale is trying to look as good as possible while also trying to run on as many PCs as possible. So there is a technical split between running on very minimum specs and looking as good as possible. It scales extremely well; it's designed to run on aging PCs to modern PCs.

It introduces a new PvE experience with smart AI and we also have a very innovative approach to our PvP modes. It's a very cinematic experience for you and your friends.

We also have Crysis 3, which is pushing forward the story of Crysis 2. It's set 20 years later and you play the role of Prophet, and his motive is now revenge after he had a vision of the end of the world and how the aliens want to destroy earth. He's mightily pissed off by that vision and he wants to take everybody down, one by one, to stop it.

We are implementing very 'hunter-enthused' gameplay as Prophet is hunting the hunters. We're also pushing the limits of PC single-player campaigns but also setting new benchmarks for current generation console graphics. We've been working a lot on new refreshments and features that I think will shine through very well.

That's pretty much what we're showing. Also as partnerships go, Warface is part of a strategic partnership with Trion. We can't talk about it much at this stage. The relationship effectively is to take the best of both companies and make Warface launch through G-Face, which is our new social entertainment platform, and leverage in Trion's backend technologies.

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How well does Crysis 3 run on consoles?

I think it runs better than ever before. Crysis 3 as a technology gets more and more optimised every day. This game has to launch in China in internet cafes - and their PCs are a joke, way lower than a console. So effectively the engine runs great right now, I can't complain about it. It scales beautifully from the last seven years into the next three years.

So a ten year span - that's the most scalable engine right now, easily. That is phenomenal; it can deliver you online games running in China right up to next-gen console titles. That's beautiful from a developer perspective, and it runs on mobile, tablets and we've shown it on browsers... everywhere that's relevant right now.

Our future games that are leveraging that multi-device connectivity... we have a strong pipeline, and we're very excited about the next few years to announce some of the new genres that we're working on. I have a weekly review of the things we have happening and I wish I could share it with the world. There's some amazing stuff coming and I think you'll love it. We're all focussing on the future of the company and largely it's about online, free-to-play, high quality and G-Face.

As rival companies reveal their own purpose-built next-gen tech, what is the future for CryEngine?

Behind closed doors we are showing the latest iteration of CryEngine - CryEngine three-point-something. It's a moving target and we are updating frequently now. We are at 3.7 at the moment and literally next month it will be at 3.8, then 3.9...

As you can guess there will be the next iteration - a major revision. We have two teams working in parallel; one is refreshing the current version of CryEngine and the second team is working on a major version. We have been touting CryEngine as a next-gen technology for about three years now. Since 2010 CryEngine has been next-gen ready. When we have been messaging that people have been sceptical, but if you look at today's next-gen offerings with supposedly next-gen graphics... That's exactly what we were talking about two years ago.

People have by now caught up but we haven't been sitting around - we've been pushing the boundaries as well. A lot of these features will be visible in the next iteration for the engine. We were one of the first studios in the world to get access to all of the next-generation consoles. Obviously we can't talk about what they are but we know what next-gen entails. I think people... I'm not going to judge it because it'll get me in trouble, but next-gen is actually not a clear picture right now.

I think we are way beyond next-generation consoles already. We were already next-gen two years ago.

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