Crytek: CryEngine has nearly closed gap with Unreal in West

Cevat Yerli says Crysis studio's engine has overtaken Epic's in Korea and China, but being no. 1 isn't the goal

CryEngine is closing the gap with Epic Games' Unreal Engine, Crytek founder and CEO Cevat Yerli told GamesIndustry International.

"In the Western world, we are getting very close to where Unreal is through a number of licenses that are not disclosed," Yerli said. "But in the Asian area, in the online area, we are actually outpacing Epic right now, despite the fact that we have not really pushed marketing or a strategy to become number one there. The engine just grew to be number one in the MMO and online space, especially in Korea and China."

Despite the success of CryEngine, Yerli doesn't want to make too big a deal of it. The developer said it was good to have but added he's "not necessarily proud" of the accomplishment because it was never a goal in the first place.

"Making a game where the AI's systemic and smart and allows you to play the way you want to play requires a lot of technology that is state of the art...But technology will drive gameplay, always"

Cevat Yerli

"Our strategy has been not to hunt for the number one position ever," Yerli explained. "We are not a technology licensing company first. We are a games company first. We always want to make more money for our company through games business than through engine business. That's a very important part, because otherwise, our company culture would change radically. In order to be able to do what we did, which is expand the studio and explore new things, we would not be able to do that if engine business were the first revenue generator. For us, it's about the games first."

The latest edition of the CryEngine will be on full display early next year when Crysis 3 debuts for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC. And while Yerli emphasized that the company is continuing to push the technical envelope with the series, he cautioned that people may need to look for those innovations in more than just the game's visuals.

"For Crysis, technology is always a core hook, in a way," Yerli said. "We always want to maximize the platform we're arriving with Crysis on. I want people to know when they play Crysis, they can get a technical feast as well. But it is designed eventually to drive content sandbox simulations that are perceived maybe at the surface as just a game experience. But eventually this is very technically demanding. Making a game where the AI's systemic and smart and allows you to play the way you want to play requires a lot of technology that is state of the art, where AI and physics and graphics are interplaying with each other to maximize the experience. Some of it might be more hidden in the future, but in general, it's always going to be a high end experience from a technology perspective. But technology will drive gameplay, always."

Early adopters of Crysis 3 will be able to see for themselves how that advancement has impacted the franchise over its five-year history. As part of a preorder promotion, Electronic Arts is giving away a downloadable copy of the original Crysis to gamers who reserve Crysis 3.

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Latest comments (5)

Adam Campbell Product Manager, Azoomee9 years ago
I'm actually quite surprised by this given the more prominent public image of Unreal but the technology is amazing and in that sense it isn't surprising that studios want to take advantage of it...
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Andrew Jakobs Lead Programmer 9 years ago
Sure you have... Don't fall for this marketing talk, there are still more games out there being created than with the cryengine3 and I believe it's by a factor of 10 or more..
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Curt Sampson Sofware Developer 9 years ago
Sure, but the question is, how many of these games being created with Unreal are AAA games that will see a huge release, and how many are student projects? I don't think you can compare usage based merely on number of units alone.

That said, this is basically a comparison between Crytek's current offering and Unreal 3, right? If my understanding is correct, Unreal 4's big thing is supposed to be not the graphics improvements and whatnot, but the improvements to the production chain to reduce the cost of turning art into assets being used in the game. My impression is that's a pretty large cost, and making some major improvements there might be the biggest win you could get for large games.
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robert troughton Managing Director, Coconut Lizard9 years ago
It comes down a lot more to how many games are AAA as an earlier poster suggested... I've not checked to see whether or not these stats have changed over the last year - I seriously doubt that they would swing far - but last year, UE3 was used for 5 of the Top 10 Best Selling games (all time) on Xbox 360 and 4 on the same chart for PS3.

That is, it was used on around 40-50% of the most successful games on console.

Unity is undoubtedly used on more games than UE3 and Cry Engine - but, you know what? They're almost all mobile and PC... Most of those mobile games, too, aren't using the full power of Unity - people are linking in 2D render libraries...

So of course Yerli doesn't want to make a big deal of this - because he doesn't want people sniffing out the real stats...

(nb. Pitbull are working on UE4 so, of course, people should verify what I say for themselves)
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Martin Fedor Programmer 9 years ago
How can he compare number of licenses? Does he know how many licenses Epic sold for Unreal3? I doubt.
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