The Crysis series is the first thing that comes to most gamers’ minds when they hear about the CryEngine engine. Crysis and CryEngine were technically disruptive and at the same time nearly led to the closure of the Crytek studio. In the new material, we will cover the features of the engine and notable games on it.
CryEngine и Far Cry
Crytek was founded in the late 1990s by Cevat Yerli, of German Turkish descent. The company was originally based in Coburg, but then moved to Frankfurt and acquired divisions around the world.
Developers from Germany caught the attention of the press at E3 1999, where they showed a technical demo of X-Isle: Dinosaur Island. Later, the first Far Cry (2004) grew out of it.
Far Cry is based on CryEngine. By the mid-2000s, the main licensed engine was already Unreal Engine. CryEngine tried to fight him. It’s unfortunate. On the other hand, Asian MMORPG developers are definitely interested in the engine (take Aion: The Tower of Eternity, 2008). As a result, Crytek even opened offices in South Korea and China.
Let’s go back to CryEngine. Rendering of huge spaces was considered the “trick” of the engine. You could navigate the open world without any downloads and admire the surroundings from the heart. These features are reflected in Far Cry. The shooter takes place on one of the islands in the Pacific Ocean. Crytek has created an island where you want to fly on vacation: the local beaches, water and jungle as if straight out of an advertising brochure. The picture was complemented by crisp sound, believable physics of objects and skillful use of bump texturing.
Ubisoft bought the rights to the Far Cry series and the version of the engine used in the game from Crytek. The French company calls it Dunia Engine and is constantly modifying it. Far Cry 6 is also based on the CryEngine / Dunia Engine descendant. The release of the sixth part is scheduled for October 7th.
Era of Crysis
CryEngine 2 suffered the same trouble as the debut iteration of the engine: few people bought a license and then released the game. It supported DirectX 10, offered “proprietary” realistic physics, shadows “like in life”, natural facial expressions, was better optimized and displayed denser and lush vegetation.
Crytek itself demonstrated its capabilities by the example of Crysis (2007) and Crysis Warhead (2008). German developers have again thrown gamers on the island, this time in the Philippine Sea. Opponents of the American special forces with the call sign Nomad were North Korean soldiers and aliens. The nanosuit came to the rescue in shootouts. It allowed jumping high, running briskly, activating invisibility, plus replaced the body armor. One of the memorable details of the action is the ability to knock down a tree with a machine gun burst.
Crysis Warhead did not show anything revolutionary to the audience. Its events develop parallel to the scenario of the first part, only Psycho took the place of Nomad. If Crysis indulged in open spaces and variable passage, then Crysis Warhead rolled back to the days of linear shooters.
Course on Console
Crysis was called the benchmark for any PC that claims to be a gaming PC. The initiative was supported by the sequel and triquel. However, to offset production costs, Crytek turned its gaze towards consoles.
CryEngine 3 was presented as a multi-platform engine allowing development for PC, PS3 and Xbox 360. Crysis 2 (2011) simultaneously landed on all three platforms. The shooter suffered as a result – it did not look nearly as murderous as the first part at launch. And yet, Crytek surprised users at least by organizing shootouts on the streets of New York, and not on another tropical island.
Two years later, Crysis 3 was released. Here, Cevat Yerli’s charges took a closer look at the requests of the PC community – the version for computers looked much more graphical than the console version. She was remembered thanks to the post-apocalyptic metropolis and the composite bow of the hero.
Cevat Yerli and publisher Electronic Arts unanimously complained about the poor sales of Crysis 2 and 3. They pushed the company to the brink of a financial abyss. However, it was too early to talk about a complete collapse.
In order to keep pace with the times, Crytek rolled out a free version of the engine – CryEngine Free SDK. True, it was intended for non-commercial development. In the war with the Unreal Engine, this did not help. And Crytek’s technical support did not shine, which is why large developers ended up choosing Tim Sweeney’s engine.
Nevertheless, CryEngine 3 is based on more notable games than on its predecessors: FPS set in WWII Enemy Front, multiplayer shooter Warface, platformer Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric, zombie action State of Decay, space Star Citizen.
I would like to dwell on Star Citizen in more detail.
Chris Roberts’ long-term construction history stretches back to 2012, when the game raised $ 2.1 million on Kickstarter. Development started a little earlier – in 2011 at CryEngine 3. In 2015, due to a difficult financial situation, Crytek sold a license for its engine to the Internet giant Amazon, presumably for $ 50-70 million. Amazon made its own engine based on it – Lumberyard. In 2016, Chris Roberts switched from CryEngine 3 to Lumberyard. Crytek considered this a breach of contract and sued Cloud Imperium Games and Roberts Space Industries, owned by Roberts. Among the complaints were, for example, the following: the use of CryEngine in two games instead of one (in Star Citizen and the detached story module Squadron 42), renaming the modified version of the engine in StarEngine and sending the source code to third parties.
To date, Star Citizen has raised over $ 300 million from contributors. Cosmosim is still far from ready.
Collapse and second wind
Crytek knocked down the failure of Crysis 3 and Ryse: Son of Rome (2013), a slasher film about a Roman legionnaire. He turned out to be very beautiful, but “corridor” and with a simple combat system. Gamers could not interact with the scenery, as in Crysis, and go off the path trodden by the authors.
Rice: Son of Rome
Constant setbacks have forced Crytek to sell or close overseas studios. From the empire, which spread over three continents, remained the head office in Frankfurt and representative offices in Kiev and Istanbul.
But engine versions from 3.6 to 4, in addition to Ryse: Son of Rome, served as the foundation for a scattering of popular projects. Here are some of them:
Prey (2017). Smart shooter in the space station premises.
Ключ активации Prey: Deluxe Edition (Xbox ONE, Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S) 2 399 *
Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture (2015). An adventure where you explore a desolate British village after the apocalypse.
Wolcen: Lords of Mayhem (2020). Fantasy action / RPG for solo and cooperative playthrough.
Evolve (2015). Asymmetric multiplayer shooter: four hunters against a monster.
Sniper: Ghost Warrior Contracts (2019). A sniper action movie on compact maps … in Siberia.
Homefront: The Revolution (2016). FPS about the liberation of the United States from the invaders from North Korea.
Kingdom Come: Deliverance (2018). Medieval RPG from Daniel Wavra, creator of Mafia. Judging by the huge world and the impressive scenario, it turned out to be something between The Witcher 3 and Skyrim. For two years its circulation exceeded 3 million copies. Average Metacritic scores are 76/100 (PC), 69/100 (PS4), 68/100 (Xbox One).
Kingdom Come: Deliverance
While Warhorse was forging Kingdom Come: Deliverance, Crytek brought CryEngine V to the world. At first, it distributed it according to the pay-what-you-want scheme, but in 2018 it changed its mind and began to demand 5% of the income from the developers after the profit reached $ 5,000.
The latest version of the engine is “friendly” with PC, PlayStation, Xbox and virtual reality helmets. Crytek is also targeting Android.
CryEngine V breathes life into multiplayer horror shooter Hunt: Showdown (2019), action game Sniper: Ghost Warrior Contracts 2 (2021), sports game Snow (2019), Crysis Remastered (2020) and VR project Robinson: The Journey (2016) … In Robinson: The Journey, you will be thrown into a distant planet inhabited by dinosaurs – a kind of Crytek’s return to the past, to the era of the X-Isle: Dinosaur Island demo.