In a recent interview with VentureBeat, Crytek head Cevat Yerli said Unreal Engine 4's level of quality has existed in CryEngine 3 for the last three years. There are also "tangible differences" between the two software engines, something people won't notice when they're comparing in-game screenshots.
"You can go back three years ago to the GDC videos," he said. "What we put out there is pretty much what Unreal Engine 4 put out now. And what many others are doing now too. We haven’t really put out our latest stuff yet."
He goes on to say that the next iteration of CryEngine will be revealed soon, but the current engine has been next-gen ready since 2009.
"If I look at what people call next-gen technology now, it’s what we were seeing three years ago," Yerli added. "We already had massive particle systems, we already had GPU rendering, all these things. Deferred shading. We had tessellation already since we shipped Crysis 2. We already had DX11. We didn’t just talk it up as tech demos, we have games that are shipped and are doing it."
So at this level, what's the difference between CryEngine 3 and competitors like Unreal Engine 4? He said it's the "fluidity of the overall experience," comparing the differences with an Android phone and an iPhone. Both can do the same things, but the iPhone feels more fluid, more organic.
"It’s not just about ticking off boxes next to features," he said. "It’s a holistic experience that has to be fluid and flawless and real. Not show. It must be real. That’s us and what CryEngine always stands for. It was always a very substantial, robust, polished experience that gamers will see."
"I also think that we are dedicated to online games," he added. "When you look at our number of licensees in that space, we have more licensees than any other engine in the online space. In the console space it’s a different story. In the console space we’re definitely not leading. But I think the next time around, it’s going to be a very different picture."
Sounds like a challenge, Epic.