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State Of Play: Crytek

Avni Yerli and Carl Jones on the next generation and why Crytek is embracing free-to-play

Hear the name Crytek and your first thought is probably absurdly polished graphics and the super shooters Crysis and Crysis 2, perhaps the CryEngine. But the German developer is looking beyond the hardcore market and taking aim at more a more casual audience with it's Kinect game Ryse and a free-to-play browser title, Warface.

To find out more about where the company sees itself in the current market and what it's planning for the future, GamesIndustry.biz sat down with founder Avni Yerli and Carl Jones, director of global business development, as the company announces a free CryEngine SDK for non commercial use.

Talking about the companies recent move towards free-to-play, Yerli was keen to point out that Crytek's decision to invest isn't just a case of bandwagon jumping. He revealed the company has been looking into the model for around four years.

"We've been working on it in parallel to other things we have done before, we have been very silent about it, obviously," he says with a smile.

"We realised its actually a good model going forward because it enables a lot of people to try the game, you don't need to make a demo, you don't need to worry about parity, it's maximum penetration and you can have people play the game and test it, and entrance is very easy, low, and in this case for free."

Warface has already been licensed in China with Tencent, and Crytek has also found partners in Russia, and Korea, and it's in talks in the US and Europe. Asked if the decision to move into free-to-play now has anything to do with Crytek's recent interest in mobile and tablet platforms, Yerli shakes his head.

"But the reason we're choosing to do it now is purely to do with the development. We're happy with the game how it is now."

We have a pretty good understanding of what we expect from next generation [consoles].

Avni Yerli

"But that's the future. The connected experience is basically what will ultimately kick in three or four years down the line. You want to have your content always with you. This for sure what will happen in the future."

Talk of the future inevitably turns to talk of next generation hardware. Crytek was rumoured to be working with the new Xbox console something that has since been strenuously denied. But at the mention of next generation Yerli shoots the PR manager a nervous look.

"If they come, and I think they will be more powerful, this will not necessarily be... I have to be careful..." he says.

"We have a pretty good understanding of what we expect from next generation," he finally admits.

"One thing that will be certainly supported, or that we will ask for, is when you look to the free-to-play models, the time it takes to get content out to the gamers, that must be much shorter. It's a small thing but it's an important thing to enable more business models"

He's adamant that no gamer wants to wait weeks for an update, especially not when free-to-player and browser based games allow for massive updates and new content to be added over night. He also wants that connectivity supported on multiple devices. "It's not rocket science."

Jones agrees, and argues that we're already in a transition period, but one that's about player habits and business models rather than hardware.

"We'll look back on the last 15 years in five years time and think "wow, did we really use to do it that way? The game was a static thing that you bought in a shop? And then it didn't change? How could we have had fun with that?"

He wants to see games that constantly evolve with new content and updates that people can play across multiple platforms.

"Whoever gets it right, whoever gets that game that you can play on your console and then pick up your phone and be playing on that, whoever comes up with the game that spans all those platforms and gives their player a compelling experience, they're going to win. They're going to be the next World Of Warcraft."

Whoever gets that game that you can play on your console and then pick up your phone and be playing on that, they're going to win. They're going to be the next World Of Warcraft.

Carl Jones

Jones also has demands when it comes to hardware, but he's not asking for super powered processors or graphics that will make your eyes pop out, he just wants the consoles to be easier to develop for.

"We hope that everything starts getting a little bit architecturally more similar, he says.

"Obviously the whole industry had a great deal of difficulty in the current generation dealing with very different platforms and having to build very different technology for each one. That's a pain that we need to be doing without, because the next generation of gaming at the high end will allow to put so much content onto those machines."

If Sony and Microsoft can achieve that, he argues, then stand out moments of tech wizardry like LA Noire and Crysis 2 will become the industry standard.

"Hopefully they realise that as much a anyone else, I mean these guys make games as well."

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Rachel Weber

Senior Editor

Rachel Weber has been with GamesIndustry since 2011 and specialises in news-writing and investigative journalism. She has more than five years of consumer experience, having previously worked for Future Publishing in the UK.