Crytek to Make the Transition to F2P Studio
Amid the vapid pageantry and bustle of last week’s blandly homogenised E3 shooterfest, one developer attempted to slip out an announcement which was actually quite surprising; the developer was Crytek. Once Crytek has shipped the conventional games that they are currently working on, the studio will then transition into developing exclusively free to play titles that are in a similar vein to their forthcoming FPS title, Warface.
Crytek’s CEO, Cevat Yerli, has let it be known that he is thoroughly unenamoured with the business models which currently underpin the conventional boxed-copy sales of video games, stating that the regrettable industry norm of premium services and DLC are “literally milking the customers to death”. Thus all future Crytek games will be constructed as free to play experiences, and will be supported by GFACE, Crytek’s social gaming platform. For gamers concerned that this is an indication of a forthcoming decline in the quality of the studio’s output, Yerli attempts to assuage such fears by stating that all future Crytek projects will continue to be AAA titles, with budgets of between ten and thirty million dollars.
To be honest, the design and AI of Ckytek’s single-player experiences have never been able to quite match the stunning visual design and fidelity that the studio is capable of – and thus this probably constitutes a logical decision on their part, as it plays to Crytek’s multi-player strengths. That said, for fans of Crytek’s single-player campaigns, playing the forthcoming Crysis 3 will likely prove a bitter-sweet experience.
Ubisoft: The “Big Jump” Made by Assassin’s Creed III was Only Made Possible by Milking the Franchise
Lying frogs, Ubisoft, have this week made the utterly absurd suggestion that the “great creative leap forward” achieved by Assassin’s Creed III was only made possible due to the merciless milking of Assassin’s Creed II with lower quality spin-off sequels. Or to put it another way, if Ubisoft were somehow prevented from making said annualised cash-in sequels, then presumably they would have cancelled their plans for Assassin’s Creed III due to the fact that it would be an unprofitable venture – yeah, sure.
According to Assassin’s Creed III director, Alex Hutchinson, annualised sequels were absolutely necessary to the development of the game, he stated that: “We have multiple groups now working [on the series]. We started this one in January 2010, the same time as Brotherhood and before Revelations. The core team on this one has been working at it for almost three years, which is something you can almost never get in the industry these days – it’s too expensive, too risky. So we need the other projects to support that kind of development – these big jumps.”
If ever there was a time to call bullshit on corporate dishonesty it is here and now at the suggestion that a two to three year development period is in some way uncommon to multi-million unit selling game franchises. That is a claim that simply does not hold water. As this generation of console development has progressed development cycles have in turn decreased somewhat, owing to growing familiarity with the hardware and the increased efficiency of game development pipelines – yet a two to three year development cycle is still far from being a rare occurrence in the industry. Moreover, one must question the Ubisoft claim that the game represents some great creative jump ahead for the series, as, with the exception of naval battles, the title looks to be constructed on much the same foundations as previous entries in the series. Does a great creative jump forward for Ubisoft really just come down to reskinning their Assassin’s Creed sandbox with a Frenchman’s contempt for the great and just achievements wrought by the British Empire?
Saints Row: The New THQ President Just Does Not Get It
The Saints Row series began life as the poor man’s Grand Theft Auto, a knock-off made to capitalise upon the success of Rockstar’s open-world monolith. It was only with the release of Saints Row 2 that the series found a unique voice for itself by embracing the silliness and humour that the increasing po-faced Grand Theft Auto had long abandoned. To put it another way (that readers of Lusipurr.com are sure to understand), Saints Row has become the Nate Liles to Grand Theft Auto‘s Lusipurr. The third game in the series, Saints Row the Third, was a crystallisation of everything that had worked for Saints Row 2, which garnered the title a mid-80s review aggregate, and more than four million units sold – but apparently this is not good enough for THQ’s new president, Jason Rubin.
The bristlingly self-important Rubin is unhappy with the game’s risqué sense of humour, asking of the Saints Row series: “Why could’t that be a Red Dead Redemption or a Skyrim? I look at that title and I say, who cares what it is and why it got to be what it is? From that team we can make something that isn’t embarrassing.”
In answer to Rubin, the people who care about what Saints Row is are the same people who helped it become what it is: a multi-million selling franchise. The reason that it cannot be a Red Dead Redemption or a Skyrim is because those games have already made, and the fiscally harrowed THQ has nowhere close to the wherewithal required to even produce a close facsimile. So then at the end of the day it is Rubin’s intent to have the series come full circle, becoming once again the poor man’s Grand Theft Auto. Inspired.