Here's how sexy Crisis 3 is. Having spent about an hour hammering the playable demo on God's own PC at E3 in June, within hours of arriving home I'd sourced a new high-end graphics card and a gargantuan monitor in anticipation. And the game isn't even out until next February. Can it run Crysis? It bloody better run Crysis.
The game itself feels inventive, relaxed and fun - certainly more so than its occasionally stuffy predecessor. And of course it looks gorgeous, with its sun-splashed New York trapped under a dome and overrun by nature and aliens in equal measure.
CVG met with Crytek producer Mike Read to discuss the value of the PC, what he makes of Wii U, and whether the next-gen will be about anything other than extra graphicsosity.
Interview: Crytek games producer Mike Read
CVG: One of the things we took away from the Crysis 3 E3 demo was the impressive level of polish. It also felt a little looser; a more relaxed game than Crysis 2. Is there a sense that this was the game Crytek really wanted to make with Crysis 2, but that it ran out of time to quite achieve because it was wrestling with consoles and trying to get the graphics engine running on them?
READ: That's actually bang on what happened with Crysis 2. That's not to say we feel that Crysis 2 was a failure by any means. But coming back to delivering Crysis 2 for consoles, that was a huge milestone we really needed to hit, and tech became a bigger focus over some of the hurdles we had of making all of that work on consoles and creating an experience across consoles and PCs.
So this time we have the engine completely ripped apart at this stage, so we have the ability to do Xbox 360, PS3 and PC.
It's no secret that consoles are at a stage right now where CryEngine is really pushing the limits of what they're capable of doing. So now that we have that separated out, we can focus on the PC and really giving the PC users that much extra of a visual experience.
Given the relationship between EA and Crytek, will Crysis 3 be an Origin exclusive?
That's still up in the air right now, but as it's currently for digital distribution it will be available on Origin.
Cevat Yerli recently claimed that Crytek is transitioning from being a packaged goods games company into a developer of exclusively free-to-play titles. Is that likely to signal an end to Crytek's relationship with EA?
It's not a signal of the end of the relationship at all. I think Cevat's statement was more of a broad industry statement as to where free-to-play is going. Some people may not be familiar with the free-to-play title we have out there right now called Warface, which has done very, very well for us in Russia and the Eastern Bloc countries, and we've started to explore the possibilities of expanding that out to all the different markets as well.
So we see the value in free-to-play, and I've talked a number of times to people about where the market could potentially go. Crysis 3 won't be free-to-play, but the way industry trends are going, I mean free-to-play used to be synonymous with a 'crappy games' tag, but the likes of Team Fortress 2 and Tribes Ascend, for instance, have really created a triple-A experience in a free-to-play environment.
I think there are a lot of possibilities with where free-to-play games can go. Maybe games will have single player elements where you're selling different single player packs or different co-op packs or different multiplayer packs all within the same universe, so people can kind of pick and choose the direction that they want to go.
Or maybe they will use an episodic subscription model like Telltale has done with its adventure games; we could possibly look at doing things like that in the future with Crysis.