Current gen 'to last until 2012' - Crytek

GDC Europe 2009: Cevat Yerli speaks about the next iteration of Cryengine and why games aren't going to get any better looking over the next three years.

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COLOGNE, Germany--As the head of one of the highest-profile PC development studios in the world, Crytek CEO and founder Cevat Yerli is well placed to hold a session titled "The Future of Gaming Graphics." Crytek has been responsible for Far Cry and Crysis--two of the most cutting-edge games on the market upon their release, and he is currently hard at work bringing Crysis 2 to the PC as well as Xbox 360 and PS3.

Cevat Yerli addresses his peers.
Cevat Yerli addresses his peers.

Yerli was keen to stress that between now and 2012, we shouldn't expect games to advance much beyond what they look like today. "Games 'til 2012 will not look very different than [they do today], since engines are bound to console cycles." Yerli forecasts that the next major CryEngine upgrade will arrive in 2012, around the same time he believes the next generation of console hardware will arrive. That said, he fully acknowledges the strength of the Wii and the prospect of an elongated console life cycle and warned that if a new generation didn’t arrive in 2012-2013, then "it could be a long time."

While Yerli claims that the current graphical benchmark has been set, he says that we should still expect "huge gains in physics, AI, and simulation of special effects" over the next few years. He also says, in reference to the Fox animated movie series, that by 2013 "you will be able to do Ice Age in real time." Matching animated movies in real-time seems to be a major goal for Yerli, who used Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within as a benchmark for CryEngine 3.

"We wanted to beat the faces in the Final Fantasy movie, but doing in real time what they were doing offline. Every day I was getting posted images from the Final Fantasy movie," he joked. He then proceeded to show a video of the incredibly lifelike facial models in the latest iteration of the engine. "One face has more technology than the entire first Far Cry," he claimed.

CryEngine 3 is the company's current technology foundation, which Yerli claims will form the bedrock of the company's games until 2012. Yerli showed off a demo of Crysis rebuilt using the latest technology. It included 3D volumetric clouds, soft particles, parallax occlusion mapping, and a 7km view distance. Clearly, Yerli is undeterred by the criticism he received for the original Crysis and its high system requirements. “It was always my dream to have a game that I could play now, and then in two years when I upgrade my PC, play again,” he stated.

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