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Crytek's Expensive 'Gift' To Its High-End Players
Crytek's Expensive 'Gift' To Its High-End Players
June 22, 2011 | By Frank Cifaldi, Kris Graft

June 22, 2011 | By Frank Cifaldi, Kris Graft
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    32 comments
More: Console/PC, Art, Business/Marketing



When Crytek released its first-person shooter Crysis in 2007, it was -- and in many ways still is -- a benchmark for high-end PCs.

It was one of the first commercial games to utilize the Direct3D 10 framework of DirectX 10, and playing the game at its maximum settings was practically impossible for any consumer-level computer. Even the game's minimum requirements were above what many gamers had under the hood at the time.

"Crysis 1's intention was, if I were to play it three years later, it looks great. And it does, actually, it fulfilled that. But it made it difficult for entry-level players," Crytek CEO Cevat Yerli related to Gamasutra. "So with Crysis 2, we took a different direction, and it backfired a little bit."

The sequel was much more accessible (thanks in part to its cross-development on consoles), so much so that it didn't even support DirectX 10, staying safely in DX9 territory.

The change disappointed many of the original game's fans, who came to equate the franchise with cutting-edge graphical performance.

Now, three months later, Crytek is getting set to release a substantial patch to address the needs of these players, adding support for DirectX 11.

With that comes tessellation and displacement mapping, HDR motion blur, parallax occulsion mapping, and many other tweaks and enhancements, including a high-res texture upgrade. It is, he said, an attempt to "please everybody."

Yerli admitted that there was no profit to be made from the time and money put into the patch, as the game is unlikely to sell many more units based on the free upgrade.

"This is much more like a gift to the high-end community," said Yerli. "And I think gamers will appreciate that. It lifts up Crysis 2 and gives a sneak peak of how PC gaming will evolve in the future, if you support a high-end preference."

The Crysis 2 version 1.9 patch will be available Monday, June 27th. A version of the patch was available on Crytek's test environment as recently as Wednesday, but has since been pulled.


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Comments


Dave Voyles
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Why wasn't Direct X11 already packed in with the engine to begin with? I've used it on several occasions, and the thing is a beast. I love it - and this is from someone who uses UDK on a daily basis.



As much as I love Crytek, and I do, I'm just kind of bummed that they would look at it as doing a favor to the community when it really should have packed in with the game and the engine in the first place. Just sayin'.

Ian Uniacke
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You do realise that adding support for DX11 would require potentially months more work adding features and it's not just a case of ticking a box? I'm not trying to be snarky with that comment, just curious.

Jamie Mann
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Let's have a look at the Steam hardware survey:

http://store.steampowered.com/hwsurvey/?platform=pc



% of users with a DX11 card: 5%

% of users with a DX10/DX11 card: 75%

% of users with a DX9 card: 20%



Common sense indicates that the majority of those with a DX10/DX11 card will not be able to run high-end DX11 visuals. Therefore, with the market being so small, it's simply not cost-effective to put significant development effort into producing DX11 visuals.



Admittedly, it could be argued that Crytek missed a trick; part of the reason Crysis attracted so much attention was because it was so GPU-intensive. But at the same time, it can be argued that the positive impact this had on the hardcore audience (i.e. overclockers, review websites, etc) was outweighed by the negative impact on the mainstream market. It's a tough one to try and balance...

Jose Talbott
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Nice pull Jamie it's nice to see people use the steam analytic to make a solid case not enough "gamers" look at the dollars n sense side of the industry. They just want to think about "me me me" that's why I love looking at steam numbers because it really does explain alot about whats going on in the Hardcore gaming market.

Eric Schwarz
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I guess EA's new policy is: focus on the console version, patch in expected features to the PC version two months after release, nobody cares about them anyway.

Michael G
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Now compare that with Rockstars policy of not releasing their games on PC at all. Or Remedy's policy of making a PC exclusive game, then making it for PC and Xbox 360, then PC, Xbox 360 and PS3 and then just PS3 and Xbox 360.

John Ingato
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I prefer DICE's policy.

Jose Talbott
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Micheal what are you talking about?



LA Noir is coming to PC and all the GTA, plus Bully, Max Payne, Midnight Club, ManHunt are on the PC so what are you bitching about.

Chris Melby
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Hopefully they'll patch Dragon Age 2 with a whole new game that's actually a sequel to the first. :)

Craig Dolphin
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The internets have now been won. Thank the rest of you for playing. ;)

Jamie Mann
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Hey, if it was Activision, they'd have released this as chargable DLC. Crytek should be commended for releasing this sort of significant upgrade for free.

Bill Jones
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Dice dumbed down BF3 for the playstation kiddies big time, it looks exactly like COD now, completely scripted.



Crytek didn't dumb down Crysis 2 OTOH. It's smaller environments but still has actual open gameplay, which the playstation kiddies cant handle.

Jose Resines
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I prefer Valve's policy of making a game mainly for the PC, respecting PC gamers, and then (assuming their games where bad, which they aren't) not spew some bullshit, like Yerli, Acti, EA or the rest do.

Nick Quackenbush
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Making an game more accessible can never backfire. Just because the vocal minority of your consumer base wants you to add features doesn't mean you should.



Crytek was in the right here, they made the game playable to a larger audience and thus gave them a chance to purchase the game. I bet the 'backfire' of making the game inaccessible would have been a whole lot worse then this.



It's nice that they released this patch but far from a necessity.

Brad Borne
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Unless you water down your game in the name of accessibility.



Is Bejeweled a better game than Demon's Souls?

Nick Quackenbush
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You could argue yes or no on that. I have had more entertainment out of Bejeweled then out of Demon Souls. And so has millions of people. Where as Demon Souls probably only truly reached a fraction of the amount of people that Bejeweled has.



Of course you don't want to water your games down to nothing, but Crytek did far from that.

Harlan Sumgui
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In marketing, exclusivity can be an effective way to drive sales and profits. By NOT making something accessible, you drive up demand and you create mystique. Gucci, Bentley, Cristal, etc. are what they are because they are exclusive. Accessibility is one marketing strategy, but not the only one.



The original Crysis was a triumph of marketing. It is a legendary game, a benchmark, and something that every self respecting pc gamer played. It appeared in every hardware review, and forum thread on gpu performance. Moreover, it's very exclusivity transfered over to the Crytek name as well.



Crysis2 might as well have been Bulletstorm or any other of the umpteen $60 shooters released in the last couple of years. It pretty much destroyed the brand. It was as if Gucci started selling their watches alongside timex at wallmart.



Good ol Yerli aint releasing this patch for charitable reasons. It's being done to bring some mystique to the bespotted brand; to bring Crysis2 into the hardware reviews and threads again.



As an aside, it is interesting to note that "Crysis 2" returns over 50 million hits, and Bulletstorm only 17 million despite similar sales numbers and Metacritic scores.

Bill Jones
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"Triumph of marketing", yet I'm willing to bet that by virtue of being on console, in the end Crysis 2 will easily outsell Crysis 1 (Crysis 1 supposedly sold 1.5m, many of which were bargain bin I'm guessing, C2 should beat that easily in the end across 3 platforms).



So you're just another whiner on a message board with no grasp of reality.

Harlan Sumgui
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Generally I don't respond to people who make themselves feel better by being an aggressive ass on interwebs, but...



You missed the point. the reason c2 sold so well and is written about so much was because of the brand-name, which was a direct result of the way c1 was positioned.



I could care less about Crytek cashing in on their Crysis brand, just as I wouldn't care if Gucci started selling $29 watches at Walmart. Companies cash in on brand-names all the time (although usually only after they've been sold to a Chinese consortium:wink:).

Christophe Couderq
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Crysis 1 sold 3 million units back in May 2010 (+1.5 million with Warheads). Crysis 2 will probably sell more since it's on 3 platforms. But given that it also cost much more to produce & advertise I'm not sure it will be more profitable...

Nick Quackenbush
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One could also argue that Crysis was 'successful' because it was the last of its kind. AAA FPS PC Exclusive. To me it was a very generic game with high production values and extremely bad writing. I always said that if it had to compete with the big boys (console FPS') it wouldn't get reviewed as well, but would sell more. That does seem to be the case and is a much more logical view then just saying 'mystique' made it a better game.

Harlan Sumgui
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Who cares what game is 'better'. IMO, all FPS are boring and predictable.



What I'm talking about is marketing and brand building; and that is all about perception. In those terms, C1 was a winner and C2 a loser.



C2 has pretty much disappeared from the radar of gaming communities as measured by online play and the steep drop off in sales. The DX11 patch is an attempt to regain some of the lost ground.

Brad Borne
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Crysis 1 was a fun, but definitely not great, game. People bought it because of it's status as a benchmark. It really looked like something that consoles couldn't pull off, there was a certain novelty about playing it.



Crysis 2 just ruined that. It should have looked fantastically unique on the PC, and great on the consoles.

Bill Jones
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Ehh, arguable.



There's lots of people around the internet screaming about "diminishing returns". Aka, the difference between a 1 poly model and 100 is huge, now the difference between a 10k and 100k model is much less. That's diminishing returns in a nutshell right?



So I'm just saying, why are people attacking Crysis 2 for not having fantastic graphics, when there's other people saying "oh, graphics cant get much better anyway"?



That said, I sill think Crysis 2 PC arguably looks better in a lot of ways than Crysis 1, and is also one of the best looking PC games there currently is, if not the best. So why not criticize Valve, or Bethesda, or any of a million companies whos games dont look nearly as good as Crysis 2 in the first place?



But getting back to your point, the reason Crytek made C2 for consoles is because most PC gamers steal their games, and PC games sell like 1/10 as much as console games. Sorry it's just fact. Maybe lets not blame crytek, but blame the PC thieves (pirates).



Now, Battlefield 3 looks like they actually made a version for high end PC's, AND a cut down console version (speaking only of graphics, the gameplay is clearly dumbed down), rather than just a console version they ported to PC. However, pretty much no other games do this, (99% of PC games are simple console ports) so again I cant really BLAME Crytek.



Besides, once again, Crysis 2 on PC already has more graphical superiority to the console version than almost any other game, and I imagine once this DX11+texture pack are added, it's going to look even more amazing, so again, the criticism of Crytek by PC gamers is really really dumb. Crytek is actually going farther for Pc gamers than almost any other company, yet the PC gamers are shitting on them in return.



Would it have been nice for Crysis 2 to be a PC only game with ball busting graphics? Sure, but again thats not market reality when they can make a lot more profit on the consoles.



Besides, a lot of people bitched at Crysis 1 originally because "it's impossible to run, system requirements too high" etc etc. Now they're bitching at Crytek for the opposite. So WTF is Crytek supposed to do? No matter what people whine.



But oh yeah, it's funny how people act like Crysis 1 was some kind of classic so they can whine more at Crytek about Crysis 2. Believe me, anybody who's beaten Crysis 1 know's it's not a classic, it was also pretty much the most bug filled game I've ever played (another thing nobody talks about now). Crysis 2 is buggy, but at least they're not showstoppers like Crysis 1's. I actually couldn't complete C1 correctly because of the horrendous bugs. I dont think either game is great, but I'd have to easily rate C2 over C1 as a pure game.

Darcy Nelson
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I'm surprised people had responses to this other than "Yay! Free stuff!" but I guess I'm naive like that.

Bart Stewart
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I certainly don't mind a bit more graphical bling -- I can't use it myself (still running XP), but others will.



Speaking for myself, however, I'd much rather Crytek concerned itself with not watering down PC gameplay by excluding standard PC features like quicksave/quickload. Those who enjoyed exploring alternative tactical approaches to problem-solving in the original Crysis have been vocal about missing it in the unnecessarily console-centric checkpointing save system of Crysis 2. But as far as I know, Crytek hasn't said anything about restoring this other feature of the original Crysis.



Given a choice between DX11 and quicksave, I'd take quicksave. Crysis 2 seems pretty enough; restoring player-centered design matters more.

Harlan Sumgui
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The can't restore multiple approach/open world gameplay because that would make it a different game. Nor are they going to patch the idiotic AI. No, all this will do is make gpus work harder and give the PC crowd something to bench with.

Bill Jones
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Which is pretty much all the supposedly beloved Crysis 1 did in the first place...



Player centered design? This player hated quicksave in C1. It means there's no challenge, for one thing. It also was just another horrendous bugfest in C1, constantly glitching, I would get "stuck" in some spot with low health often, with like ten straight quicksaves taking up all my slots by some bug as well. Incredibly annoying. Then again Crysis 1 was one of the worst designed games of all time, a true torture to play.



With quicksave if you get to a tough encounter you can literally do this, duck out, get one hit on the enemy without being hit in return, save. Rinse and repeat. Horrible, game breaking. It also adds immensely to the bugs. The whole last level is broken if you quicksave at some point. If you do something you're not supposed to, it triggers some event, then you quicksave, your game is bugged out forever.

Luis Guimaraes
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That's it, Bart. Better AI and quicksave back (even thou C1 AI was pretty cheaty, specially the chopper).



I also have to say I liked more the old suit from Crysis 1, the weapon collecting. The enviroment in C2 is better looking, sometimes to the point of nonsense, due to the linear approach of the sequel. I may have lost count of some places I could guess took 2 months to make, while I took 30 seconds to pass by.

David Jara
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The only people complaining about this update are the people that will whine at everything and the trolls. Go to the link in the article and it will direct you to the forum where the update was originally posted.

The first 5 pages are all actual crysis2 PC gamers thanking, freaking out, and raving about the update.



That is the great thing about PCs. We can make our games scale over time and most of the time there is support from both the community and the developers to continually add features and content and fix stuff on PC games, for free

Derek Smart
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People are complaining about this? Seriously? This - right here - is everything that is wrong with gaming.



When you bought the game, you paid for what you KNEW you were getting. Crytek never said they sold you something other than what they released.



Now Crytek decides to give a DX11 freebie update (which I'm sure cost them at least 3-4 months of additional work given what I know of DX11 vs DX10) and some people are trotting out the entitlement banner?



Get a grip guys.

Joshua King
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I think Crytek should start focusing on cutting edge NPC behaviours. Too much focus on eye-candy and not enough on bug-free AI. Not to mention crap like this:



http://forums.tripwireinteractive.com/showpost.php?s=621f41bc8f40
5ae825d19fb4282801f4&p=722989&postcount=216


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