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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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Brendan Sinclair avatar
Brendan Sinclair: Brendan joined in 2012. Based in Toronto, Ontario, he was previously senior news editor at GameSpot.
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