North America and Europe welcome Warface
on PC today, a big step for a game that is itself a big step for its developer, Crytek. Warface
is the company's first free-to-play game, the first step in a planned journey that culminates in the Crysis
studio going fully free-to-play within five years.
At the recent DICE Europe conference
, CEO Cevat Yerli spoke about closing the visual gap between cinema and games, and how Crytek is using advanced lighting and modeling effects to make Xbox One historical adventure Ryse
stand out. Afterwards, I asked Yerli about the difficulties in marrying F2P with the studio's reputation for high-end graphics.
"It's just a matter of time," Yerli said. "We already introduced with Warfare
a much higher quality relative to the current generation of gaming, and Ryse
is [our] first game that launches a next-generation experience. Going forward, I expect free-to-play games to catch up with next-generation offerings as well. So it's really just a matter of time."
Yerli talked about a possible transition period where there'll be differentiated quality across different F2P business models, but as the movement gains momentum he thinks the production values will inevitably rise. Of course, Warface
isn't the only major F2P game coming to Xbox 360 in the coming months, with Wargaming.net's World of Tanks
rolling onto the system later this year. Yerli, who's "buddies" with Wargaming CEO Victor Kislyi, believes implementing F2P design on consoles isn't the major obstacle for both games.
"The free-to-play design mentality and serving it on consoles is not for us a challenge, per se," he said. "The bigger challenge between both of our companies would be to transform a PC experience into a console experience. And there we have had plenty of experience doing that already. So what I'm saying is that, for us, moving Warface
to Xbox 360 is quite a straightforward process where we know what it takes to make a very high quality console experience."
That said, Yerli said Warface
isn't comparable to Crytek's previous work. He described Crysis as a "heavyweight shooter," with lots of things going on, whereas Warface
is "more focused on the core experience of shooting," and as such easier to play and perhaps more accessible.
As for Crysis, where does that franchise fit in the studio's F2P plans?
"Crysis certainly fits into our plans, but currently we have nothing to talk about Crysis and its future," Yerli said. "Obviously as you can imagine, we are pondering a lot of ideas, just thinking about it a lot, but at this moment it's too early to talk about Crysis really."
Which is understandable, given the studio has two major games coming to consoles soon. Warface
is due on Xbox 360 early next year, while Ryse: Son of Rome
is an Xbox One launch game, available alongside the next-gen console on November 22.