Graphics are '60% of the game,' Crytek CEO says

"People say that graphics don't matter, but play Crysis and tell me they don't matter. It's always been about graphics driving gameplay," CEO Cevat Yerli said.

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The graphics vs. gameplay debate has raged for some time. Unsurprisingly, the CEO of Crysis 3 developer Crytek thinks graphics top gameplay every time.

"People say that graphics don't matter, but play Crysis and tell me they don't matter. It's always been about graphics driving gameplay," CEO Cevat Yerli said.

"Graphics, whether it's lighting or shadows, puts you in a different emotional context and drives the immersion. And immersion is effectively the number one thing we can use to help you buy into the world," he told X360 Magazine.

Yerli said that better graphics make for better physics and all around game design. "Making things look spectacular and stylistic is 60 percent of the game." These comments, of course, come on the heels of Crytek's showing of the latest developments in the CryEngine 3, the company's bread & butter.

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  • reply
    April 12, 2013 3:00 PM

    John Keefer posted a new article, Graphics are '60% of the game,' Crytek CEO says.

    "People say that graphics don't matter, but play Crysis and tell me they don't matter. It's always been about graphics driving gameplay," CEO Cevat Yerli said.

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      April 12, 2013 3:02 PM

      Unfortunately for them, most of their games are only 60% good.

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        April 12, 2013 3:12 PM

        Fortunately Crysis 3 is 99% good!

        (The other 1% being me needing a better system.)

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          April 12, 2013 3:16 PM

          Looks more like 76% good: http://www.metacritic.com/game/xbox-360/crysis-3

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            April 12, 2013 3:35 PM

            That's about right: 60% for graphics, 16% for gameplay.

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            April 12, 2013 3:53 PM

            Wait Xbox 360 has graphics? I thought it had pixel art ;)

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          April 12, 2013 3:19 PM

          Crysis 3 has good parts and bad parts, but unfortunately the bad parts take up a good chunk of the game. People generally preferred fighting humans, and Crysis 3 has the most aliens bullshit yet.

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            April 12, 2013 3:49 PM

            To be fair, these aliens weren't half as obnoxious as the ones in Crysis 2 (The scorcher excluded. That thing really was annoying as hell).

            I said it a few days ago in a valcan thread, that I liked Crysis 3 on its own, if Crysis never existed. It's a solid shooter with an amazing engine, lining up to Yerli's statement. But graphics are all this thing innovates in. It's a linear rail shooter from start to finish, but since everything is put together so well, I found it very fun.

            I was also a big fan of the soundtrack/main theme. Really liked that.

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          April 12, 2013 5:13 PM

          I loved it. I know that's not cool here.

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        April 15, 2013 7:47 AM

        Fortunately for us, you're 100% wrong.

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      April 12, 2013 3:02 PM

      From what I've seen, graphics are a big plus to any game that wants to create a nice atmosphere. Strategy games generally don't need shiny graphics

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      April 12, 2013 3:05 PM

      Design doesn't matter, says business guy, just tech.

      I bet!

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      April 12, 2013 3:09 PM

      So says the company that has tried to push graphics.

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      April 12, 2013 3:10 PM

      Cervat Yerli has made a name for himself saying incredibly stupid shit. He recently called Crysis 3 their studio's masterpiece.

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        April 12, 2013 3:27 PM

        I haven't played Crysis 3 yet but I have played Far Cry, Crysis, Warhead, and Crysis 2. I don't know if I'd call his comment regarding that stupid becuase it wouldn't take much for a game to be their own masterpiece. They're all quite middling when it comes to gameplay, worse when you factor in story. If Crysis 3 is more of the same but visually superior then sure, I believe him. It's their masterpiece.

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          April 12, 2013 3:56 PM

          That's just not true. The gameplay in Far Cry, Crysis, and to a lesser extent Warhead, is superb. Each successive game they make has tighter, more restrictive level design, uglier art design, and dumber writing.

          Their only story I've ever half-liked is Crysis, and that's only because it works as a campy Michael Bay movie.

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            April 12, 2013 4:16 PM

            It is true, go back and play them objectively. Superb is the last word I'd use to describe the gameplay in any of those games. And they all follow the same formula and get even worse when the monsters / aliens show up.

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              April 12, 2013 5:01 PM

              I played Crysis from start to finish last year. It's a tactical, challenging shooter, especially on Delta. I had a blast.

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        April 12, 2013 3:36 PM

        He'd fit in at epic.

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        April 12, 2013 4:21 PM

        The European Mark Rein

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      April 12, 2013 3:16 PM

      Graphics are important but they are no where near the level of 60% of importance. If that statistic was true you wouldn't see indie games having any success at all. You wouldn't see the massive communities around games like Minecraft.

      The most important element of a game is how much fun is the game to play. Does the game do anything new or original or have an intelligent story to keep you interested. The graphics aide the immersion but it doesn't create it. Graphics will only become the most important thing in games are that are as shallow as a puddle. High graphics can enhance the game but its not the end all and be all.

      The things like physics also aren't the same as graphics.

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        April 12, 2013 3:18 PM

        I would assume he'd using the term "graphics" fairly liberally to extend beyond just rendering fidelity. "Production values" in general can encompass physics, intuitive interactions with the game world, stuff like that.

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      April 12, 2013 3:20 PM

      In my opinion graphics have reached a point where they're now detracting from the gameplay. In Crysis 2 I spent hours looking at tessellated brick walls and rocks and other such effects. The game took me 15 hours to complete because I felt obliged to fully admire the pretty environments. It actually ruined the game and I would have had more fun if the graphics weren't quite so good.

      In fairness, it was the first time I'd seen such effects. Once they've become common place I'll probably ignore them and play the game normally. However, there are many effects that you can't ignore.

      I only played the Battlefield 3 campaign, but it was completely ruined by the blinding lights, lens flare and dirt/blobs/smudges on the lens. While you can ignore tessellated rocks, the Battlefield 3 effects where in your face throughout the entire game. These effects didn't look good and they didn't improve the game in any way, so the only thing they achieved was to ruin the game and eliminate any chance of me buying Battlefield 4.

      What's most worrying is that these effects seem to feature in a lot of next generation games. Both Unreal Engine 4 demos features the dirty lens effect, with blobs and smudges that become visible when you look at lights. I don't know why developers are using these distracting and annoying effects. Apparently they've never heard the phrase, "just because you can doesn't mean you should."

      Personally, I'd rather stick with DX9 level graphics and have a good game. I can genuinely see myself losing interest in gaming if developers continue to prioritise stupid visual effects over gameplay.

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        April 12, 2013 3:58 PM

        What you're describing is poor art direction. There are studios with quality artists and good taste, and they will use the new technology to make beautiful games. Look at BioShock Infinite.

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          April 12, 2013 4:46 PM

          Infinite is a great example of a game where the art direction vastly outweighs the graphics quality. On Ultra everything looks amazing but you can turn that game almost all the way down and it still looks stunningly good because the art direction just just so incredibly strong.

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        April 13, 2013 8:00 AM

        I wonder if the BF3 thing was to have an intended effect on gamplay. E.g. flying into the sun during a dogfight.

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          April 14, 2013 3:18 PM

          Possibly, but it wasn't just the sun that was a problem in Battlefied 3; it was things like car head lights and small lights on buildings, which were all absurdly bright.

          If you turn on an outdoor light during daylight hours it's pretty hard to tell it's on in real life. In Battlefield 3 a small outdoor light on the side of a house is blinding, even in the middle of the day and when viewed at a long distance. The blinding lights, lens flares and dirty lens effects were inescapable throughout the campaign mode, and they complexity ruined it.

          The campaign itself wasn't fantastic, but it would have been fun if not for the graphical effects. When the graphics are detracting from the gamplay I think something has gone very wrong. Sadly, I can see happening a lot in next-gen games. Just as many developers over-used the depth of field effect, I think many developers will go wild with DX11 graphic effects, even if it's to the detriment of the gamplay.

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      April 12, 2013 3:31 PM

      I really dislike this guy

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      April 12, 2013 3:37 PM

      Graphics and good art are two different things.

      *Not knocking Crysis as they have both good art and graphics

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      April 12, 2013 3:46 PM

      What are you supposed to say to this? I mean, yeah, graphics are important. If your Crytek, its all you really have, and you godamn well better do everything you can to sell it because they sure seem to have given up on everything else after Crysis 1.

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      April 12, 2013 3:52 PM

      Guys, should I buy Crysis triology game or wait for Crysis 3 into the three bundle games? I haven't played all of them.

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        April 12, 2013 3:57 PM

        Just play Crysis and skip the sequels. The first game holds up great and is one of my favorite shooters.

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      April 12, 2013 3:53 PM

      if your game lacks good gameplay... then yeah, the only thing left are the graphics.

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        April 12, 2013 4:00 PM

        But a game with good graphics will still sell, even if the gameplay is shit. A game with good gameplay but shitty graphics has an uphill battle. People are shallow.

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          April 12, 2013 4:44 PM

          Minecraft would beg to differ. It's true that graphics help sell a game but there are a ton of very successful games that aren't top-of-the-line graphically.

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            April 12, 2013 4:48 PM

            He didn't say it was impossible, it's just way harder. If he was wrong then the text adventure genre would still be doing great.

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            April 12, 2013 5:18 PM

            Yeah, but Minecraft went the "not even trying" route and is visually stylized as a result (yes it also has great gameplay). It's definitely interesting to look at IMO.

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          April 13, 2013 12:35 AM

          It's just that a beautiful game will have an easier time in the marketing department. That's why it sells.

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            April 13, 2013 3:44 AM

            but selling to who? you never see the actual games in tv ads these days, and people like us who keep up with games already know about it so saying it sells because it has better "graphics" just doesnt make sense. games with bigger marketing budgets that sell the idea of "cool" are what sell these day. cod isnt selling because of graphics. ac isnt selling because of graphics. madden doesnt sell because of graphics. guitar hero never sold because of graphics and it was an expensive game to play.

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              April 14, 2013 5:18 PM

              Cool graphics add to the coolness factor of the game, which makes for more impressive trailers, more impressive gameplay demos and presentations, and of course developers bragging about the quality of the engine they have on the game. People fall for those things, obviously.

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      April 12, 2013 4:11 PM

      I would everyone to give 'World of Tanks' a try, 45M people can't be wrong about gameplay over graphics!

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        April 12, 2013 6:50 PM

        WoT is awesome and i wish i had more time to play it

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      April 12, 2013 4:19 PM

      Graphics drive gameplay? Lara Croft was climbing up ledges in 1996. They didn't need amazing graphics for that and shooting guns at things.

      Graphics drive sales.

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        April 12, 2013 5:14 PM

        True. Tomb Raider used huge tits instead.

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        April 12, 2013 5:59 PM

        I don't know how that's comparable?

        In 1996 real 3D engines was still brand new and games like Tomb Raider and Quake were considered "impressive" graphically.

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          April 12, 2013 6:10 PM

          And those amazing 3D visuals definitely drove some gameplay back then, or at least influenced design. Especially when it came to verticality in a 3D space, such as with Lara climbing and diving and exploring or Quake guy.. uhh rocket jumping. :O

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          April 13, 2013 4:06 AM

          They were, I don't argue that. What's is so completely different about today's Tomb Raider vs the original? I won't talk about the controls, as that's engine and graphics don't change that. Lara is still climbing walls, swinging from ropes, shooting things, solving puzzles and getting killed in grizzly ways.

          The graphics changed the aesthetic and the game is better off because of it, but the game play itself could be done in an older engine.

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        April 12, 2013 6:33 PM

        In 1996 Tomb Raider was arguably the best looking game on the market. Tomb Raider and Quake basically launched the 3d card revolution.

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          April 13, 2013 4:08 AM

          That's entirely true, but the graphics sold those cards, not being able to rocket jump in Quake or fight a T-rex in Tomb Raider.

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      April 12, 2013 4:20 PM

      I'd rather have Cave Story, VVVVV or any other game of that caliber instead of Crysis. Although I feel like Crysis is pretty good on it's own as well.

      Still not a great outlook.

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      April 12, 2013 4:20 PM

      I'd say graphics aren't even 50%. While they CAN make a game more immersive, and art direction is very important, and we all like to see new things....in the end, it is the intangible "gameplay" that keeps people playing.

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      April 12, 2013 5:12 PM

      With FPS games graphics definitely drive whether or not I get a game. So I can see his point.

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      April 12, 2013 6:13 PM

      LOL no, Crysis 3 was a poor sequel doesn't matter how good it looked

      also please explain to me the success of Minecraft, dumbass

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      April 12, 2013 6:35 PM

      totally depends on the game. for a FPS, sure, for an RPG, RTS, adventure game, not so much

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      April 12, 2013 6:36 PM

      This is pretty accurate for me.

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      April 12, 2013 6:43 PM

      In other news, Crytek's CEO is 62% bullshit

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      April 12, 2013 6:50 PM

      this is the old id strategy

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      April 13, 2013 12:32 AM

      So, who is this CEO and who let him talk ignorant crap like this in public? Poor guy, is confused.

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        April 14, 2013 3:50 PM

        Guy who founded Crytek with his brothers and created Far Cry and Crysis? He's a key person in the games industry, and their graphical and engine contributions to the industry are essential.

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          April 14, 2013 5:16 PM

          Yeah ok...you can have those, if you think graphics are essential and important. I'll stick to my Gothic 2.

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            April 14, 2013 11:52 PM

            Gothic 2 is my favourite Western RPG. The experience is definitely heightened by its gorgeous environments.

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      April 13, 2013 12:41 AM

      how has crysis 3 been selling? I can't imagine it's doing what its predecessors did

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        April 13, 2013 3:36 AM

        cant have done that well considering the local gamestop had it selling for 40 a week after it came out

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      April 13, 2013 12:52 AM

      He said this in a stupid stupid way, what he should have said is "Video games are largely a visual medium, there for visuals are very important."

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      April 13, 2013 1:09 AM

      Depends on what part of graphics he is referring to - for example high poly models, extremely detailed textures and HDR effects do not matter that much to me than good gameplay. For all it's worth, after playing Skyrim (which is really beautiful) for more than 10 hours, it could almost have the same "graphics" like Minecraft and still would be fun.

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        April 14, 2013 3:51 PM

        I don't think Skyrim would be fun even if it had better graphics than Crysis 3.

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      April 13, 2013 1:59 AM

      Well that explains Crysis 3, pretty to look at, boring as sh*t to play. The series has progressively gotten more and more streamlined.

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      April 13, 2013 4:05 AM

      For Crytek games this may be true. For games overall it's the other way around. Graphics matter much less than gameplay. Also I find it weird to only look at these two factors. What about story, level design, sound etc.? Almost all other game elements matter more than graphics.

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      April 13, 2013 5:00 AM

      Graphics are 60% of CryEngine 3's marketing pitch.

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      April 13, 2013 5:03 AM

      Explains a lot about Crytek games.

      I disagree though. System Shock 2 and Deus Ex both boasted primitive graphics even for their time. Landmark games that can still be enjoyed today.

      I wonder who'll still be playing Crysis 3 10 years from now?

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      April 13, 2013 1:56 PM

      Graphics are very important - just not as important as innovative and satisfying gameplay design. I think Crysis 3 is meh for gameplay. So is Bioshock Infinite. Skyrim is absolute total shit for gameplay. These games are made for the generic masses.

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      April 13, 2013 2:08 PM

      "Graphics are '60% of the game"

      Which explains Minecraft's success.

      /what a moron.

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      April 13, 2013 5:05 PM

      TBH, I agree with him about graphics affecting the level of immersion. But you must flip the coin and understand that a game with amazing graphics and poor gameplay doesn't make it a "good game."

      Crysis to me was really fun, and no one can disagree that it's a gorgeous game. Too bad most people didn't have a comp that could handle it :)

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      April 14, 2013 12:12 AM

      Artwork and graphics are one in the same imo. Really great and unique artwork is important, not just shadows and lighting.

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      July 16, 2013 8:01 AM

      test yeah

      teee