On the note of 3D, what makes you so interested in stereoscopic 3D? You've talked about it quite a lot.
CY: Don't misunderstand that. We're not that focused on it, we just offer it as a cool experience. It's because we're Crytek [laughs]. We always try to be on the cutting, bleeding edge.
The choreographed sandbox doesn't come for free from a technology perspective. It's a huge challenge to make a game that's intense and packs but allows you to go anywhere. You can go anywhere, do anything you want, physics objects are breakable everywhere -- technically, that's a big challenge.
That's why it took us a while with Crysis 2 to get it right. On a console space, there is not much power, much less than on the PC, so cranking all these things up step by step through innovating streaming techniques and computation streaming has been quite a challenge.
With stereoscopic 3D, similarly, we started to do it two years ago on PC as far as researching it. We haven't shipped a game with it yet, but we had done some contract work for some other non-game businesses where stereoscopic 3D was required.
About a year ago, we found a way to make stereoscopic 3D run on the consoles, and since then we've changed this technique to optimize it so we don't lose any frames if you go from 2D to 3D. That's why it's just a button press now.
Typically with 3D games now, when you switch to 3D, they lose a lot of the visual fidelity, or half the framerate, or other constraints, like it will work on one platform but not on another. For us, it runs everywhere on all platforms on all three solutions. We want to be sure that when people play Crysis, they take advantage of the future.
For example, if you play Crysis 2 in 2D on a normal TV, you will have a lot of fun, but if you buy a 3D TV, you will have even more. I want our games to be one of the first games out there to show how 3D could be and what it means for first-person gaming.
There definitely seems to be a sudden surge in interest in 3D gaming, at least from some publishers. Do you think will become a standard?
CY: I'm quite sure over the years it will become standard. 3D entertainment is inevitable. It will come, and the key solution will be if it's easy for the eyes. If it's a challenge for the eyes, people won't like it. But we are trying to make a game that is hours of 3D, and you can judge it yourself. You've seen how easy it is for the eyes, and for me it's critical that people understand we are not naïve when it comes to 3D.
We have been working with 3D for a while. We know the nuances and details, and our approach of concave 3D makes the game ultimately very accessible.
I'm curious what has allowed Crytek to grow so quickly. You said earlier you have six studios. You have only released, I think, three games in some ten years. What is driving that growth?
CY: Part of it is that we have a very good secretive engine business. We have some other contracts going on as well for some other non-game industries. From that perspective, it's been a good, privileged position to be able to do that and also work on our own IPs.
Working with a partner like EA also brings in funds. Our most recent game is signed up with Microsoft as well, which helps us bring in finances to develop technology and awesome games.
So you actually do a fair amount of engine licensing? There aren't as many press releases as there are for, say, Unreal.
CY: Yes, especially with CryEngine 3. Since March, we've been doing very well with that.
What kind of non-game stuff do you do?
CY: There is a whole industry in serious games, and we have a lot of contracts going on from gas and oil companies, General Electric, all the way to SOCOM. We have a lot of military companies working with our technology, in fact.
So you provide simulation and training software?
CY: Technologies, simulations, contract work, whatever they need and whatever they want. We have a studio for serious game development. That studio is a subsidiary of Crytek, but it's not called Crytek. It's studio number seven -- so secret I didn't even mention it! [laughs]
Does it seem overwhelming to have seven studios at this point, again, especially given your output level?
CY: Every studio has its own head of production and studio management. We grew our infrastructure first before we grew with the game development itself. Obviously, it's a challenge to maintain quality everywhere, but it's effectively my day-to-day job to make sure that happens.
Also, we focus on one game at a time. Right now Crysis 2 is the focus, and after that another game. We have a lot of games in the pipe, but we don't talk about them right now.