Crytek announce “royalty free” CryEngine “as-a-service” subscription to undercut Unreal 4

This Roman face, or one like it, coming to an indie game near you.

Blimey: engines haven’t changed so dramatically since ‘lectrics replaced steam locomotives. Just hours after Epic announced their monthly subscription for Unreal Engine 4, Crytek have revealed their own “engine-as-a-service” initiative for indies.

They’ve only gone and halved the price Epic are asking for, and all.

Where Epic are asking for $19 a month, plus 5% of any gross revenue a developer might make, Crytek are pitching lower.

From May, indie developers can pay $9.90 a month for the use of a fully-featured CryEngine – the same toolset used to build Ryse – and won’t owe any royalties to Crytek should their game become successful.

The subscription version of CryEngine will incorporate the features Crytek have been showing this week at GDC, including physically based shading, geometry cache and image based lighting – some of which you can see demoed in the trailer above.

That’s all we know about the program for now – but Crytek promise there’ll be more to talk about in the near future. And they reassure users of CryEngine’s free SDK that it will continue to exist as is.

“When we announced the new CryEngine this was our first step towards creating an engine as a service,” said Crytek business man Carl Jones. “We are really excited to make CryEngine available to hundreds of thousands of developers working with Crytek to make awesome games.”

Some of the same worries that surrounded the Unreal announcement apply here too – namely, that indies don’t necessarily have the need or manpower to work with cutting-edge graphics. But it could do wonders for games like Wander, don’t you think?