Epic's not the only one that can promise the world on a platter. Crytek boss Cevat Yerli has gone full-broadside at Unreal Engine 4, claiming that Crytek's own muscle-bound CryEngine tech is years ahead of its biggest competitor.
"The only thing I can say is that CryEngine 3 already exists at the quality of Unreal Engine 4," Yerli told GamesBeat. "It already exists for three years now. You can go back three years ago to the GDC videos. 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.
"Pretty soon you're going to see the next iteration of CryEngine, and I'm not putting a number behind it, just the next iteration of CryEngine. Very soon. But we already said, CryEngine 3 is next-gen ready since three years ago. We stand by that. If I look at what people call next-gen technology now, it's what we were seeing three years ago.
"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."
Unreal Engine's domination of console-based middleware doesn't extend to the "online space", 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."
CryEngine's key strength is that you can edit projects in real time, Yerli went on, making the production process more efficient. "We have invented, back in 2001, what we called 'what you see is what you play,' which is real-time editing of the game in the sandbox using the production tools. We did this in 2001, we put out a video at GDC 2001, and since then it's been the heart of our technology.
"That's something that even until today, our competitors, our main competitor, has still not 100 percent achieved. We're talking about 10 years later, still not achieved. Some other competitors, when they started from scratch five years ago, they of course started from scratch with better ideas. Not a better idea than us, but a better idea than Epic.
"So in productivity and efficiency, it's something where we claim we're the fastest toolkit around. Because we're 100 percent real-time. We're the only engine that is 100 percent real-time. Look at our competitors and you will feel that every time they change a light or a shadow, it computes for hours. In our case, the lighting is real-time."
This is "a huge iterative gain," he continued. "And that's true for everything, whether it's our AI paths, navigation systems, our lighting and shadow systems, everything is real-time in CryEngine. Nothing is pre-baked.