Crytek plans indie-friendly CryEngine licensing

Crytek is planning a low-cost version of its Crysis 2-powering CryEngine, akin to Epic's Unreal Development Kit, company co-founder Avni Yerli has told Develop. While there are no concrete details for now, it's good to hear.

"We have a business model in mind for this--which I can't get into details of right now--but it will be extremely user-friendly," Yerli said. "The barriers for entry will be very low, and perhaps even for free. Of course this will be compared to UDK and Unity and so on, but we think this sort of competition is very good for the community."

Epic Games' Unreal Development Kit is a standalone version of the ever-popular Unreal Engine 3, free for non-commercial and educational use. It's also handy for indie commercial titles, as developers can start work without paying hefty licensing fees up front. Instead, they accept to pay a 25% royalty rate on sales past the first $50,000. Lovely-looking mech combat FPS Hawken is one such commercial UDK project.

Free CryEngine 3 licenses have been offered to educational institutes since 2009.

Crytek clearly hasn't finalised its plans, so it'd be inadvisable to hold your breath just yet. As Yerli said more choice and competition will be good for developers not blessed with big budgets.