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Crytek: Free-to-play future "isn't mutually exclusive"

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Crysis 3 Ceph-thrower

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Crytek CEO Cevat Yerli's enthusiasm (opens in new tab) for incorporating burgeoning free-to-play business models into the PC-melting Crysis franchise (opens in new tab) is about as strong as a nano-maxed punch. Like hunting space squids with a bow and arrow, though, such a marriage takes time. In an interview with Rock, Paper, Shotgun (opens in new tab) , Yerli believed that the free-to-play future he envisions "won't happen tomorrow" and Prophet-ized a peaceful coexistence between free and fee.

“I don't think F2P's a mutually exclusive way of looking at things," he explained. "I mean, the future is definitely free-to-play, but likewise, retail can co-exist with it. Premium games can be free-to-play. When I said free-to-play's gonna be our future, I meant that and I hold to it. But I didn't mean it for tomorrow.

"When I say there will inevitably be only free-to-play games, I mean that there might be ones where you can just download them with a free-to-play business model, or you can go to the store and buy it for $60. So that's what I meant: There's gonna be free-to-play available, which brings the entry level down to zero from a price perspective.”

Yerli also revealed prior considerations for turning Crysis 2's multiplayer into a free-to-play standalone while packaging Alcatraz's journey as priced content, but the final product wound up combining both in the traditional retail combo. Crysis 3—which de-cloaked (opens in new tab) its North American February 19/European February 22 release dates today—will follow suit, but Yerli hopes for something a little less spendy in the future.

"My desire is that everybody can just play Crysis and don't have to spend money from day one," he said. "So people don't have to think, 'Oh, do I really want to pay $50 for that game?' I don't want that question to be asked. I just want them to be able to give it a try. And then they can make their choices about spending money. That's honestly why I'm most excited about free-to-play: Regardless of [how it'll impact] storytelling, single-player, multiplayer, and co-op experiences, I think there's an answer to all of those problems.”

Omri Petitte is a former PC Gamer associate editor and long-time freelance writer covering news and reviews. If you spot his name, it probably means you're reading about some kind of first-person shooter. Why yes, he would like to talk to you about Battlefield. Do you have a few days?