Crytek Planning a Free CryEngine Release
The developer behind Crysis 2 and the engine behind it, CryEngine 3, has plans to release a free version of their game engine that will be "up to speed" with CryEngine 3. This should help Crytek to further compete with Epic Games and Unity, both of which offer free versions of their respective game engines, Unreal Engine 3 and Unity.
Crytek does currently offer a free version of CryEngine 2 for modders, but this would go far beyond that. "We have a very vivid community of users and modders and content creators, and usually thats a great way of unlocking the engine," Crytek CEO Cevat Yerli told Develop. "That being said, its not the same as what Epic or Unity are currently doing, but we are now pushing harder on this area. We did it before already, but we havent pushed it that far yet."
The free Unity engine garnered more than 100,000 registered users in its first four months. Likewise, in the first week following the release of the free Unreal Development Kit this past November, more than 50,000 people had downloaded the platform. Its a powerful tool, and aside from a few differences, such as access to the C++ source code, there are no differences between it and a full Unreal Engine 3 license. Epic VP Mark Rein assured prospective users back in November that the UDK "isnt watered down."
Yerli makes it sound as if the free CryEngine will be up to par with the latest that CryEngine 3 has to offer. Asked if CryEngine 3 is central to Cryteks future plans, he answered, "Yes, but -- to be frank -- not as a mod. So far thats what weve been offering for free, and its easy entry into the production environment. [But] we do want to make a standalone free platform that people can run independent of CryEngine that will also be up to speed with the latest engine."
Specific details on how or when the free engine will be made available werent disclosed as of yet, but seeing as how beautiful Crysis 2 (pictured above) looks running on CryEngine 3, it may very well be worth the wait.