Cevat Yerli talks Crysis 2 tech, console hurdles

Q&A: Crytek CEO on taking the shooter sequel onto the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, technical limitations, and which console games he thinks look great.

The original Crysis is still held in high esteem by many who see it as one of the pinnacles of PC gaming visuals. So when Crytek CEO Cevat Yerli recently showed Crysis 2 running off an Xbox 360, many were wondering if the cross-platform sequel would live up to the graphical benchmarks of the original. From our brief look at the game last month, we were left more than impressed at what we saw, with Crysis 2 looking extremely sharp. So what did Crytek do to its proprietary CryEngine 3--the tech powering Crysis 2--to get the game up to speed on consoles? GameSpot chatted to Yerli to find out how the sandbox nature of Crysis 2 affected console development and to gauge his views on the future of graphics in games.

GameSpot AU: When GameSpot spoke to you last year, you mentioned that Crytek had done three years of research and development into consoles before work on Crysis 2 started. What sorts of things were you looking at?

Cevat Yerli: If I wanted to make a linear experience in New York, where I break certain things at a certain time, then that's easy. But if I wanted it to be systemic experience, where it's a sandbox and the game reacts and ties things together like physics, AI, graphics, and animations in a systemic way so they can interact with one another in an unpredictable fashion in the game, then it puts a much bigger burden on technical requirements. That can cause a huge demand on processing and memory, especially with new kinds of geometry formations. If I break a wall, it creates new geometry. If I deform a car, it creates unique deformation. All those things occupy more memory as we go.

If you're on a console with limited memory, then you have to deal with optimisations that allow you to make these kinds of games. On a PC, what do you do if you need more memory? Well, you just ask for more memory. Memory is not an issue on a PC. For me, I wanted to translate that type of interactivity in a live world with a sandbox nature before I could commit to a game on the console. Our console research has shown more and more progress with systems that can interact with each other. Those systems were getting more and more optimised, and we even optimised the PC version, so ultimately we were able to pull it off.

If I wanted to create an explosion in a game in New York where it's just linear, we could do it--every game engine can. It's just a matter of quality difference. But in our case, it's not just a quality bar, but the unpredictable nature of our sandbox gameplay. You may actually cause 10, or 15, or 20 of those explosions, or none at all, and the technology has to cope with it.

GS AU: How much do you think you are pushing the technical limitations of the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 now?

CY: I really think there's not much left--there may be 10 or 15 percent more. But we are already doing more than even Microsoft or Sony said we could do. It's not really about just pushing technical power, but how you can algorithmically optimise and rethink some strategies; otherwise, we would have hit the wall two years ago. We needed to look at the basics--how do you do light, how do you do shadows, physics. We challenged everything so we could get more quality out of it.

GS AU: You've said in the past that graphically games aren't going to get much better in the next few years because it's tied to console life cycle. Do you think we've reached our visual zenith now?

CY: I think so. This generation is technically bound now. But it's still creatively unbound. And that's why in Crysis 2 we are trying to make a creative push--by being fictionally more rich, by telling more stories through the graphics, through the art and design direction. We want more creative expression in Crysis 2, whereas with Crysis it was all about pushing the boundaries of reality. And we still want to have realistic physics and materials, but we also want to push into style to tell more than the real world can tell.

GS AU: What games do you personally think are pushing the visual boundaries in this generation?

Welcome to New York, Nomad.

CY: I think Uncharted 2 looked very interesting. God of War has some very interesting style, but again something I wouldn't do, but it uses technology to provide a stylised experience. Uncharted 2 does try to be realistic, but with vibrant colours and some interesting art direction. I liked Uncharted 2 quite a lot, but I think there's none of them that I would say has the vibe of what I would like Crysis 2 to be.

GS AU: What are your thoughts on 3D gaming? Is that something that will take off?

CY: It's something that you will hear from us really soon in a very interesting way.

GS AU: So does that mean Crysis 2 will be in 3D?

CY: I didn't say that (laughs).

GS AU: Cevat Yerli, thanks for your time.

Written By

Randolph is the managing editor of GameSpot, and needs more time to play games.

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Discussion

150 comments
raptor400k
raptor400k

This looks pretty cool, though I hope there are little glitches as this game really looks like its pushing the systems. Getting this for PS3.

godofwar1229
godofwar1229

I will definitely consider getting this game on ps3.It looks awesome the graphics look amazing.

person2
person2

@psycold - you're missing the point. The article is about the console version, and all sections share the same comments so it doesn't matter AT ALL what section you are looking at the comments from. You are still talking in the comments for a console article.

EricJRW
EricJRW

My PC is not powerful enough to run Crysis (or any new game for that matter), though I would love too. However, I felt it a better deal to buy a 360 than to fight with a PC (hardware upgrades, software licenses, etc.) for playing games. I would love to see the title on the 360.

coasterride509
coasterride509

After seeing these screenshots I can honestly say that I've never been so impressed by shadows in my life.

Wuoh
Wuoh

Hot damn, 3D!

lozvil
lozvil

OMG, CAN'T WAIT!!!

thrasher510
thrasher510

well another thing if i can get half the titles for PC why pay for a 360 when i can play online with dedicated servers plus i don't have to play online. and you completely missed my point the 360 does not have a large VARIETY of games, many of the games you mentioned were shooters and i named games of a different genre read the comment and understand both perspectives of the situation before commenting. another thing the other guy was obviously wrong if you read his comment because he did not have a source to back it up.

AnelZukic
AnelZukic

I'll probably get the game for PC, but I'll see to play the console ones also, to see the difference :) I really have high hopes for this game, can't wait to see it released, Crysis and Crysis: Warhead were really great game :) Crytek never disappoints :)

ocstew
ocstew

@CovertChris........ No not necessarily since the console can only process a certain amount of detail, the rest is just HD movies and audio. Audio and movies take up a much larger amount of space than the game will ever do. Crysis, the best looking game is only around 6gbs while you have games like FF taking up a whole Blu-ray disc.

Bashers79
Bashers79

@Psycold like Person2 said this was an Xbox article when I responded, plus the article title refers to the console versions, so, to quote Person2 again, "Epic fail!" Seeing as you're the one with all the thumbs down, public opinion says you're the moron

CovertChris
CovertChris

@Squall83 Having more memory on a disc means a lot. It means putting more data on it, therefore more detailed graphics and such. Why do you think Blu-Ray movies look 10 times better then a DVD? Because there is more room on them to put stuff.

Psycold
Psycold

@person2 - that doesn't change the fact that it IS IN THE PC SECTION AS WELL...and he is still a moron

kubb724
kubb724

why is it always new york ...cali has huge citys to . im starting to see little indentations of the illuminati in games if any one knows what im talkin about.

GravityDs
GravityDs

This game will look phenomenal. Based off of CY's response, him and his company actually care about their profession. It seems that they are going about it in an intelligent and open minded way, and because of the care they are showing to deatil, the game should be bound for greatness. The first crysis was a beast for my PC, and i'm afraid i won't be able to handle this one at all most likely until I upgrade. As far as piracy of PC games goes, it's a weird situation. I have done it but most ppl like me usually pirate to try games out, delete them if they're not that great, and buy the ones that really make an impression, not too mention they take up soo much space to store AND install. This company may join the few Dev's that are great, and there are only few. I'm interested in the future of this company, and what else they have to offer aside from crysis based games.

person2
person2

@Psycold - The same comments show up no matter what console you have selected when you load this page, and the article is about the console version. epic fail

Psycold
Psycold

@Bashers79 - Actually this is in the PC SECTION...but nice job being a moron

RitsukoEX
RitsukoEX

@theonlylolking Killzone 2 is TOTAL GARBAGE!

zombiechopper
zombiechopper

@thrasher510...Sorry I forgot to mention that Heavenly Sword sucks too. Sorry.

zombiechopper
zombiechopper

@thrasher510...here you go, 360 exclusive list...Gears of War 1/2, Left 4 Dead 1/2, Fable 3/4, Forza 1/2, C&C3 Tiberium Wars/Kanes Wrath, Supreme Commander 1/2, PGR3/4, Mass Effect 1/2, Crackdown, COD2, Burnout Revenge, Lost Planet, Prey, Halo 3/ODST/Wars/Reach, Metro 2033, Dead Rising, Condemned, Test Drive Unlimited etc etc, and thats not including Live Arcade titles like Geometry Wars, . And yes I know some of those are on PC, but crucially not on P$3 which also has some good exclusives but nowhere near as many. Also if you notice, they are all different genres not just shooters, and as for Japanese RPG's (Tales of Vesperia, Blue Dragon, Eternal Sonata etc) the 360 has cornered the market pretty much, the only one of note on the P$3 being Valkyria Chronicles really. As far as P$3 goes, you're left with pretty much the few games you mention, except for Heavy Rain which sucks big time lol.

theonlylolking
theonlylolking

Crysis 2 on the consoles wont look as good as killzone 2 from what I have seen so far, but the PC version will rock our socks off. It will be a slap in the face if the graphics for PS3 version don't look as great as the exclusives sony has.

dbe425
dbe425

As a PC gamer I welcome the console versions. They help keep game developers in business. Piracy with PC games (and software in general) is completely out of control. I could go on for hours on that rant but mainly we are our own problem. Anyway, the problem comes when the different versions are treated as if they are the same. MW2s PC version is an example of a game that was treated too similarly to the console version. At any rate, I have a nice rig and it might be even better by the time this game comes out. Let's see what a hex core/480 GTX SLI machine will do with this game?

wiiboy77
wiiboy77

This should do good on the consoles but better on the PC. I wish more company's were like Crytek. Crysis 2 will be the best FPS in the fall; so i hope.

ikotz94
ikotz94

yay crysis coming for the consoles :D but im still gonna buy it for the pc :O because..... amazingcakes

alkaline_DnB
alkaline_DnB

wonder how much debt users will accrue to play the game at max settings.

Bashers79
Bashers79

@Psycold Here's hoping they do then. One less PC elitist, trolling console articles can't be a bad thing

thenephariouson
thenephariouson

Lets not confuse tons of colour saturation with 'great graphics', and anyway what do you think would be a good and accurate definition of 'Great Graphics'? [[Having not seen the PC version, we can't yet say what the visual disparity is going to be between the various platforms, but Yerli told us later on that the PlayStation version is nearly identical to its Xbox counterpart and that the PC is still very much the lead platform.]]

freema
freema

"What games do you personally think are pushing the visual boundaries in this generation?" - names two ps3 exclusives I sense a slight ps3 bias on the part of Crysis creator :) . Will see what to make of this when the game finally comes out on both consoles.

Psycold
Psycold

If they F-up crysis 2 for PC, I'll probably quit gaming all together

omegazx100
omegazx100

i wish u would put the 1st one a consleu already thought a 2nd one so why not the 1st crysis

D1zzyCriminal
D1zzyCriminal

As long as they sort out the Xbox controller scheme they had in Crysis I'm happy. Did anyone use it?

jamesbigmac
jamesbigmac

@ChromeBallz, Thank you so much for saying that. Being a Software Engineer myself, I see all of these things happen in the game industry and pretty much every single gamer is ignorant of it.

koorkoor
koorkoor

So "the next generation of console hardware will arrive around 2012-2013" is he talking about whole new consoles or new processors and stuff for the current gen consoles?

squall_83
squall_83

@CovertChris That's not even an argument. Blu-Ray discs have absolutely NOTHING to do with the system's graphic capabilities. Oh well... Either way my Radeon 5850 equipped PC will wipe them both out any day of the week. I can't wait to play this!

CovertChris
CovertChris

Of course PS3 games look better, they use the Blu-Ray disc, and it's just better than the 360. I also believe that in order for consoles to not get behind in the graphical sense, we woud need ways to upgrade them, just like PCs. But I dont really see that happening, atleast not any time soon.

Trickymaster
Trickymaster

"I think so. This generation is technically bound now." So true! Consoles (I love consoles) are at least two years behind. In the future, Sony Microsoft and Nintendo will have to develop consoles that are at least three years before PCs.

rostam93
rostam93

sorry, i have to say it. the creator of crysis called out two ps3 games as some of the best looking of this generation. there, i said it. now bicker

ChromeBallz
ChromeBallz

@thenephariouson Ram wasn't that cheap when the consoles were released, which is about 4 years ago now. The original design was even older, adding to the (original) cost of both consoles. They didn't make them with upgrades in mind, at least, not to the core system anyway, and they can't just release new versions of the console with more memory since that would split the community - Not that any developer would want to make games for a market that would only exist for a few years and have very few customers, given the fact that not many people would be willing to buy the same console again. One also has to remember how restrictions on performance lead to optimization. Part of the "problem" with PC games a few years ago was that new games demand a pretty powerful system to be able to play it as the developers got more and more lazy with their coding. The piracy around Crysis for example was probably due to it's outrageous system requirements /aswell/ as the spread of high bandwidth consumer internet, with people not wanting to invest $50 in a game they might not be able to play at all. The boon of the "consolitis" is that developers are forced to work with hardware constraints, and have to optimize their code to a much, much higher degree than they "had to" before the 360 and PS3 were released. So for that reason i'm rpetty grateful for the limited memory in consoles, because it makes my PC gaming a little better, by indirectly making my games look better and run faster.

cyberdejin
cyberdejin

Turkish game industry is going on well. I hope they would make a new FPS series about war on kurdish terror (PKK) on middle east.

isaacmj
isaacmj

Crysis 2 is one of my most anticipated games, but I hope it never comes in 3D because I'll be getting the craziest headaches while playing it

Ravenlore_basic
Ravenlore_basic

To say that CryEngine-3 to have equal graphics on both consoles is to limit one console. If they were to come out with the best on both then one would be different in some way, Grpahiclly, AI wise, Physic wise and more. My point is that if this were 2 games that had no single director trying to get the game as best as possible then I do not think that they would have the SAME outcome. SO until They make a game with two totally different teams then I will believe them when they say the consoles are pushed to the limit.

thenephariouson
thenephariouson

I understand the importance of system memory (RAM) on a console platform, this has always been a bone of contention for developers of console games, what i really dont understand is why do manufacturers (MS / Sony / etc) only allow for small amounts of it given the that the cost of RAM is quite cheap.

fritigoerd
fritigoerd

Im soo waiting for this game .... I wish I could play the first one , but sadly I do not have a high end Pc nor the dough to get one ..... :( ...... So this game coming on consoles is a great news for me .... just hope that it somehow matches the Pc experience , at least 50% of what the Pc does .....

m7oda10
m7oda10

computers can use 50'' Inch Plasmas is full HD Too u know also they can integrate controllers.......not that it's better than Mouse/Kb