Saturday, 2 August 2014

Don't Panic! Crytek and Cryengine's future


While trawling the Mechwarrior Online forums this week I came across a thread from a user who was genuinely worried that the recent Crytek issues may jeopardise the future of the game, since it's built using the Cryengine.  Now I don't work in the industry (duh!) but I can make an educated guess that any issues that Crytek may be having will not impact any game currently being developed in their engine.

The reason for this is that the company will have bought a license or outright bought the use of the engine for a lump sum.  The benefit of buying an engine from a company like Epic who make the Unreal engine is that they can provide assistance in getting certain parts of the engine to work in the way you want it to.  Now in the case of the Cryengine 3 being used by Mechwarrior Online and Star Citizen, both developers have had to pretty much create their own code for multiplayer and it's backend systems meaning said support from Crytek would have been moot anyway.  Obviously certain aspects of engine support would be available should they need it, but by now any developer using the engine will be comfortable enough to work out any problems themselves without this level of support.

So what if Crytek did end up going south and go up for auction?  Well in all likelihood the Cryengine would be a hot commodity for whoever bought it as it would allow them to continue to license the engine and potentially build their own version, under a different name perhaps depending on the sale.  It wouldn't mean that the developers who were working on that engine come into work that day and suddenly all of their progress has magically deleted itself and set them back to square one, as amusing an image that creates it just doesn't work that way.

It reminds me of the Star Wars purchase by Disney which created a brief panic on the Fantasy Flight Games forums, specifically X-Wing, with people asking if the game will now be cancelled due to the new rights owners.  Obviously this was a similar thing as the Cryengine as the only difference would be that you paid your fees to a different rights holder and that's it.  Even if the X-Wing license was to be eventually cancelled by Disney, FFG no doubt have an agreement to produce models for their game for a set number of years before any kind of license negotiations come back up.

If Crytek had died and the Cryengine was dead and buried the developers would continue working on their game without a hiccup in development.  It's not like any single developer can afford to just drop what they're doing, buy a new engine and port everything over.  They would have to create everything from scratch again.  In the case of MWO and Star Citizen this isn't an option and so for all those people worried out there, don't be.  Your chosen game won't be going anywhere even if Crytek was to be swallowed by the Earth with no traces of the company left to find.

Also as a PC gamer let's not forget how dickish Crytek can be to us anyway.  After Crysis came out and made them a small fortune the developer suddenly looked at piratebay and decided that every pirated copy of that game equalled lost sales and basically called us all pirates, shifting development of their titles to consoles.  So any problems they have with the company they deserve, especially with the titles they are rolling out to become a publisher.  Warface looks like a game that came out back in 2005 and if that's the Cryengine then thank Primus third party developers are doing better things with the engine than Crytek itself because Warface looks like ass.  Cervat Yerli, from PC gamers, sorry pirates out there apparently, go fuck yourself.

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