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Crytek CEO: "It's always been about graphics driving gameplay"

Crytek CEO: "It's always been about graphics driving gameplay"

Fri 12 Apr 2013 7:09pm GMT / 3:09pm EDT / 12:09pm PDT
PeopleTechnologyDevelopment

Cevat Yerli says visuals provide emotional context, production values are 60% of the game

Crytek has always been known for its focus on graphics that push the hardware, but co-founder and CEO Cevat Yerli told Xbox 360 Magazine recently those visuals are also pushing the gameplay.

"People say that graphics don't matter," Yerli said, "but play Crysis and tell me they don't matter. It's always been about graphics driving gameplay."

To bolster that point, Yerli pointed to vegetation in Crysis 3, noting that players can tell enemy movements by observing the way the grass moves. Ultimately, he said making things "spectacular and stylistic"--through production values, visuals, sound design, and art direction--is 60 percent of the game.

"Graphics, whether it's lighting or shadows, puts you in a different emotional context and drives the immersion," Yerli said. "And immersion is effectively the number one thing we can use to help you buy into the world."

In addition to making its own games, Crytek also licenses CryEngine 3 game engine, which promises developers the "most technically advanced, integrated and scalable animation and graphics technology" in one package.

35 Comments

This is why I refuse to pay 60 dollars, plus tax, for a newly released game. I guess he has no recollection of the 8-bit era. Games weren't the most beautiful, but they had substance.

Posted:A year ago

#1

Adam Campbell
Associate Producer

1,153 933 0.8
I think its possible for graphics to help drive the gameplay and make worlds more immersive, well, actually I'm certain about it.

However, I don't think you can use percentages so easily. How much graphics have an effect on the game really varies...

Posted:A year ago

#2

Greg Wilcox
Creator, Destroy All Fanboys!

2,156 1,075 0.5
Hmmmm... I think ZORK wants a word with this guy... or a few words...

Posted:A year ago

#3

Dan Howdle
Head of Content

280 810 2.9
That'll be 'X360 Magazine' there, Brendan. Winky face.

Posted:A year ago

#4

Eric Pallavicini
Game Master

279 180 0.6
Well, while I agree technology and simulating "the real world" helps a lot to enrich the gameplay possibilities. Although, what Cevat Yerly calls "graphics" is also a lot about physics (considering the description of the grass moving) which of course... in a video game are represented mainly graphically (since we cannot feel the wind...) but also with some gameplay trick (typically walking in a river may slow you down). I guess well made sounds are also part of these "graphics".

Now, the issue with more and more realistic game engines and high end graphics is that they are so immersive and driving the gameplay that you need to buy your game not 60$, but probably around 2060$ considering you need a new monster-machine as well. Otherwise, you cannot fully benefit from that outstanding graphical realism (while still playable on low-end systems, reducing the settings will just get rid of the wonderful advantages of having awesome graphics), which completely ruins the point of Crytek's CEO who's just enlarging the gap between his products focus and it's user ability to benefit what he's willing to bring them.

Edited 3 times. Last edit by Eric Pallavicini on 13th April 2013 7:20am

Posted:A year ago

#5

Adam Jordan
Community Management/Moderation

113 65 0.6
Graphics are a factor but they aren't the driving force behind sales. Crysis was different because it was the first game that took modern day technology past its comfort zone but it also alienated a huge portion of gamers.

Funnily enough in this last week alone I re-installed both Unreal Tournament '99 and Neverwinter Nights 1 and even though they are old games with graphics that would make the biggest "graphic whore" cry a river, they still uphold their gameplaying vows and offer hours of fun.

Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind is in its 11th year of being released and even now the community continues to play it and improve it, sure they have improved the graphics but the heart of the game is still there.

I feel sorry for the next generation of gamers that will be created, they will never understand true gameplay, true story-arcs or true games. They will just pay for the next factory made lip gloss.

Don't get me wrong, I love it when a game allows me to max out the graphics settings and yes the graphics determine whether you can tell the difference between a blade of grass and a rock but if your game is 99% graphics and 1% gameplay then you won't get far in this world unless you are going to depend on the minority of your fanbase that spend thousands to keep up with the graphic and technology advancement

Furthermore, the world is in a global recession...do you think people have money to not only pay $60 for a game but also $800+ on the next graphics card to just play that game?

Overall: You need a balance of everything to make a great game...it's like sport...one man doesn't make a team....one factor doesn't sell a game.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Adam Jordan on 13th April 2013 8:07am

Posted:A year ago

#6

Marty Greenwell
Software Developer

56 38 0.7
I still play Julian Gollop's Chaos: Battle of the Wizards.

Posted:A year ago

#7
ofcourse graphics are factor for right but its not %60... maybe he talks about fps games but for rpg story telling is more important like bastion or we can show example of journey. how about limbo? its sad to see that they are going this way. i belive they are away from their core customers most of the current companies does not understand what people really want and it will turn table at somepoint and i hope it wont be too late for them.

Posted:A year ago

#8

Jamie Read
Junior 3D Artist

126 64 0.5
Nice visuals are always a bonus. Being an artist I love exploring a looking at beautiful worlds. However, gameplay is the heart and soul of a game. I would much rather play an enjoyable game with sub-par visuals, than an uninventive one with shiny graphics.
Diamond in the rough > A polished turd.

Posted:A year ago

#9

Yiannis Koumoutzelis
Founder & Creative Director

360 203 0.6
Mr. Cevat Yerli and his attention seeking ways... contradicting the obvious is always a great way to draw some publicity.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Yiannis Koumoutzelis on 13th April 2013 2:49pm

Posted:A year ago

#10

Private
Industry

1,176 182 0.2
Of course the graphics are a big part of Crysis given that the last game was a 60 bucks playable tech demo. One that isnt very optimized. It didnt push gameplay in any way or form. You dont need the best graphics to make vegetation move. I doubt Crysis would have sold the same amount of copies or gotten the same scores if the graphics where on par with the majority of the other games.

You dont need super realistic graphics to push gameplay. I still love playing games from previous generations. They dont look good graphicaly, but many of them I take any day over Crysis because they have much better story.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Private on 13th April 2013 3:29pm

Posted:A year ago

#11

Eric Pallavicini
Game Master

279 180 0.6
You dont need super realistic graphics to push gameplay. I still love playing games from previous generations.
We are many in that case, I have countless games running on dosbox. Retrogaming, pixelart games, abandonwares are not only there because of some nostalgic feelings related to childhood, but because many 20-30 years old games where excellent at the time, and they still are today in terms of gameplay/entertainement value.

Posted:A year ago

#12

Josh Meier

40 15 0.4
Graphics, aesthetics, gameplay, and story all need to come together to make a good game. Graphical fidelity and production values may be 60% of a game, but without the other 40% the game still fails.

Posted:A year ago

#13

Private
Industry

1,176 182 0.2
I would like to know how much of the desire to make the best graphics had influence on the shift from open world to narrow environments. Because I doubt they could replicate the graphics in an open world environment and Far Cry 1 and Crysis 1 were very good games.

Posted:A year ago

#14

Stephan Schwabe
Multichannelmanagement

74 34 0.5
Planscape Torment dose not have the best graphics but is still one of the best RPG's ever made and at the time it was not state of the art. The same for System Shock2 and Diablo 2. Crysis 3 is state of the art but it is a average game, as many reviews point out. Graphics evolve with new hardware. All you need is a believable graphics styl for your game , a good story+ gameplay.

Posted:A year ago

#15

Christopher Bowen
Editor in Chief

411 567 1.4
It seems like Cevat Yerli is in the news every week or two, proclaiming that his way is the future of gaming, despite myriad proof to the contrary. This is what we expect from him; he's a carnival barker, the gaming equivalent of P.T. Barnum.

Honestly, whenever he says something that has been debunked numerous times in the past, I just want to nod my head and pat him on his. He's just self-promoting.

Posted:A year ago

#16

Justin Trautmann
Studying Digital Media & Multimedia Technology

24 35 1.5
I... think I get it?

Of course, the opinion is easily debatable when you bring up a game like Minecraft. Graphically, it looks like absolute trash. Yet, Minecraft is going to be remembered far longer and by many more people than any of the current Crysis games. Graphics did not push it (Minecraft) - design did. Despite playing a block in a world of blocks; it worked and people were (mildly - the mod community is healthy) accepting of the fact that they were playing a game that looked like it was used with technology from the N64.

Graphics are valuable, but I wouldn't put them on some pedestal of importance over anything else that makes a good game. So your grass moves realistically... great. What does that mean to the story and to the mission? How does that pull me into your imaginary world so that I feel I need to spend 10+ hours in it? Does this grass signify something greater - or is it just a cute trick to amaze me on the level of a laser pointer to my friend's cat?

I'm still interested in reading the full article, though. Unfortunately the link is not working for me.

Posted:A year ago

#17

Kingman Cheng
Illustrator and Animator

949 166 0.2
Minecraft grass is realistic enough for me!

Posted:A year ago

#18

Marty Howe
Director

59 25 0.4
No, graphical fidelity and production values are not %60 of a game. Just because he says it is, doesn't mean it's fact. It's just 1 persons opinion.

You talk about the grass moving to foreshadow an enemy (wow, how dramatic) but when the enemy appears, it's a ridiculous shiny metal monster with red eyes. With.red.eyes. or a military soldier (that we've all seen a million times) And they stand still, and you shoot them, it's excruciatingly boring.

You're trying to trick or 'con' players into playing your game with dazzling visuals. Because there's no substance to the gameplay, its not exciting or exhilarating or rewarding. Its mundane.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Marty Howe on 14th April 2013 1:02am

Posted:A year ago

#19

Paul Johnson
Managing Director / Lead code monkey

810 1,012 1.2
I'm still playing MOO2 often, which was sub-par graphically even in its own time.

Posted:A year ago

#20

Yiannis Koumoutzelis
Founder & Creative Director

360 203 0.6
Nintendo DS

Posted:A year ago

#21

Richard Gardner
Artist

123 32 0.3
This story seems to have exploded in the media last week, it can be very frustrating when media twist quotes. I believe the originally quote was about possibility, not certainty.

" which can make up 60 percent of a game"

Yet media run headlines such as

"Graphics are 60 percent of a game"

Edited 3 times. Last edit by Richard Gardner on 14th April 2013 12:26pm

Posted:A year ago

#22

Keldon Alleyne
Handheld Developer

431 406 0.9
Graphics stopped driving gameplay when we broke the 3d barrier with the Saturn and PSX.

Name me one gameplay innovation since then that relied solely on graphics and could not have been achieved with the graphical capabilities of the N64.

Posted:A year ago

#23

Paul Johnson
Managing Director / Lead code monkey

810 1,012 1.2
Popular Comment
Portal

Posted:A year ago

#24

Paul Smith
Dev

189 148 0.8
Any game with a FMV

Posted:A year ago

#25

Saehoon Lee
Founder & CEO

60 41 0.7
If graphics are the main core game play, then I guess you can argue that such game can be made centered around the graphics. However, not all the games are the same and I would dare to say that more than half of the existing games in the world do not rely on the graphics as a core game play element. For me , graphics are the ice candy on the top which can enhance the game play but when you design the game, it should't be about relying on it to make a fun game.

"Edit" : if the original comment were "CAN be 60%" then I guess I do certainly agree.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Saehoon Lee on 15th April 2013 3:59am

Posted:A year ago

#26

Samuel Verner
Game Designer

131 243 1.9
i like cevat. always good for a joke.

Posted:A year ago

#27

Jade Law
Senior concept artist

72 291 4.0
I'll play a game with bad art direction/assets and great gameplay but i wont play a game with pretty art and bad gameplay so I would say art is not 60%. But isnt good gameplay part of the "production value"?

I bet minecraft has sold more than crysis 3 (now that pc has hit 10million and xbox is at something like 2million), does that make it more graphically impressive?

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Jade Law on 15th April 2013 11:49am

Posted:A year ago

#28

Marty Howe
Director

59 25 0.4
Graphics over gameplay is not a good direction to go in. Bring back the gameplay. Visuals and tech should service the gameplay. Can you imagine Crytek visuals with the linear, choregraphed shootouts in F.E.A.R, Half Life 2 etc (rhythm, pacing, flow) Consumers would go nuts.

Posted:A year ago

#29

Victor Perez
CEO

64 0 0.0
Driving the conversation to something constructive and not a gameplay vs graphics. Your games need to be in sync with the standard graphics released for other references games. If you are not, your challenges to success are strongly compromised.
Some gameplay the hyperrealism is doing a lot, but right now is true reached standards are quite good and acceptable than 5-10 years ago and to improve or to bet the success key of a game on it is very risky business...

Posted:A year ago

#30

Paul Gheran
Scrum Master

123 27 0.2
Star Control 2.

Posted:A year ago

#31
Excuse me, but what he sad with "60 percent" actually in the sentence was:
"Ultimately, he said making things "spectacular and stylistic"--through production values, visuals, sound design, and art direction--is 60 percent of the game." So, in my understanding having a good idea is 40%, how you make it as a game is 60%. Sounds good to me.

Hand up, whose production team has more or about 60% creative game designers working on your current title?

Posted:A year ago

#32

Paul Johnson
Managing Director / Lead code monkey

810 1,012 1.2
5 programmers, 1 level designer, 1 artst.

http://www.rubicondev.com/blog/combat-monsters-multiplayers-coming/

We are trying to leverage as much out of our poor overworked art guy as possible, but the splt of team numbers should tell you where the key focus is. And always will be for us.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Paul Johnson on 16th April 2013 8:50am

Posted:A year ago

#33

Bruce Everiss
Marketing Consultant

1,692 594 0.4
Gaming is about providing an engaging and compelling experience that engenders emotional involvement.
A pretty arrangement of the pixels can be nice but the core game mechanic is king, followed by surprise and delight features.
These days the monetisation mechanic is more important than the graphics. Look at Hill Climb Racing.

Posted:A year ago

#34

Kevin Strange
Developer Relations Account Manager

15 7 0.5
"It's always been about graphics driving gameplay"
Well said Cevat :-)

You can tell a CEO / CTO is a top bloke when a number if his team (non PR) jump in on his side :-)

Cheers Kevin
www.amd.com/neversettlereloaded

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Kevin Strange on 18th April 2013 10:32pm

Posted:A year ago

#35

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