Crytek Studio shows German Development is Strong
Germany has provided the world with more than just Oktoberfest and beer gardens. They have also had a profound impact on the video game industry, with many indie developers and a few mainline, AAA studios. A few games I’m going to write about today were all born in German studios, and although they have grown to take on a life of their own with an entirely different studio, the basis of the franchises are rooted in German engineering.
Not all German based games are AAA titles, evidenced by games such as Golden 7 and Revolt of the Dwarves. However, there is one developer that is well known, and there is a good chance you’ve played some of their games in the past: Crytek.
Crytek was founded in Germany by three brothers – Cevat, Avni and Faruk Yerli – in September of 1999, and this small team quickly grew to establish two major franchises: Far Cry and Crysis, both of which have become long, solid franchises.
Crytek was only responsible for the first Far Cry title, after which Ubisoft took up the mantle and began releasing the games. However, the idea of what Far Cry was going to be – for that first game, and over the series’ long history – was established in that small, German studio. It wouldn’t surprise me if you thought Far Cry was always an Ubisoft franchise, so if you were unaware of Crytek’s involvement, I wouldn’t be shocked. However, I do believe most people have heard of Crysis before.
Crysis took advantage of an engine created in house call the CryEngine, and the Crysis games pushed the limits of PC’s upon every release. The original Crysis launch earned the company many accolades, including several PC game awards handed to them during E3 presentations, fitting as this conference is ongoing right now.
After launching a number of Crysis games between 2006 and 2001, the company began a new exclusive IP for Microsoft’s new console, the Xbox One. Ryse: Son of Rome was fairly well received when it hit the Xbox One, and was often used to show off the graphical capabilities of the system it was being played on. Crytek had the distinction of being one of the first, 3rd party developers to go exclusive on Microsoft’s console.
Although Ryse: Son of Rome was received with a mix reception by the media, the game did ultimately sell a ton of copies on Xbox One, pushing the company to look to expand further with other IPs and projects. Unfortunately, problems at Crytek quickly slowed their growth.
Since the launch of Ryse: Son of Rome, Crytek has yet to release another big hit. The glory days of Crysis and Far Cry seemed to be over for this embattled studio, but they do have new projects in the work, although both are TBD for release. On the Xbox One, Playstation 4, and PC, Crytek is working on a title called Hunt: Showdown, which is hoping to be a spiritual successor to the Darksiders franchise. However, the closure of the Crytek USA office has slightly stalled this project, although development continues at the main headquarters of the company.
Crytek’s other current project is Arena of Fate, which is exclusive to Windows platforms. Arena of Fate is a free-to-play multiplayer online battle arena title in the vein of Overwatch. Little is known about this project, but the development team – Crytek Black Sea – was recently sold to SEGA. At the time of writing, Crytek is still listed as the developer and publisher, with the game using their own CryEngine.