UPDATE 13/5/10: Mark Rein has contacted us regarding Capps’ claim that Crysis: Warhead was intended as a console release. "Since Mike is away on his honeymoon and unable to comment on the conversation himself, on behalf of Epic I’d like to apologize for the misstatement and note that we’re all looking forward to playing Crysis 2, which looks great!"
Epic president Mike Capps is surprised Crytek is being taken seriously as a crossplatform engine company before it has shipped a console game.
Capps is confident Unreal Engine 4 will be the market-leading development engine for future PC titles and the next generation of console games. Asked whether he expects the engine – which has been in the works since 2003 – to show the same kind of dominance as its predecessor, he told us:
“Are you kidding? More and better dominance! Unreal Engine 3’s done remarkably well this generation, and I think that was a mix of us making an educated guess about where the tech was going to be on consoles, and the shift to console happening at the same time. So we had a DX9 engine just when everyone had been crunching madly on their last Xbox or PS2 game, and they look up and go: “Oh, jeez, it’s actually a big leap”. They needed us, which was perfect. And of course RenderWare dropped out of the equation, so thanks very much to EA.
“Looking at the next generation, it’s really murky compared to last time,” he added. “I’m sure you’ve heard just as many rumours about when it’s going to happen, and they all get overturned every year. Three more months, I always think, until I’m going to know for sure what the platform is – and I think I could find you an email from three years ago saying just that. So we’re all a little nervous. But if you look at what’s happening in the PC market – Larrabee and all that – it’s really taking off, and I think the jump to next generation’s going to be another really big one, which is great for tech guys. Most likely, you’re not going to want to make that massive investment yourself, you’re going to look to come to a company like Epic.”
Capps also questioned the hype surrounding Crytek’s CryEngine 3, which is currently being used to bring Crysis 2 to PC and consoles.
“Honestly, I’ve got a lot of respect for those guys; I know many people who work there – and I’ve hired a few,” he said. “But it’s difficult for us to know what their position is. They’ve positioned themselves strongly as the ‘we’re gonna be on console, push one button and it’s great on all three platforms’ engine. Warhead was going to come out in 2008 and was going to be their first big console game, and then they just cut console development from CryEngine 2 entirely, and suddenly we had a new engine. So, they’ve yet to ship an Xbox 360 game and we’re five years in. It surprises me that people take them seriously as a crossplatform engine company. We don’t know how to compete against a company that hasn’t shipped yet. It’s all potential, so we’ll see.”
Capps was speaking in the latest issue of Edge, E215, out now.