When I first heard about Warface, I was surprised. Crytek , the developer behind such legendary shooters as Crysis and Far Cry, was entering the free-to-play arena. To my uneducated eyes the process was simple: produce some incredible games, sell a staggering number of copies, rinse and repeat. But as producer Peter Holzapfel described at the recent Eurogamer Expo, the gaming landscape is changing.
On the surface, Warface is a superbly executed first-person shooter, as you’d expect from a developer with a pedigree like Crytek’s. For the 100-strong team at the developer’s Kiev studio, the game represents something more; an opportunity to find out how free-to-play actually works in the myriad of markets throughout the globe. In creating a lightweight, accessible, team based shooter, the team has built a laboratory of carnage with which to experiment.
It’s an experiment that already seems to be paying off, with Warface launched in some territories. When I asked Holzapfel about how it had performed in Russia, he grinned at me before replying. “What would be the correct adjective… mind-blowingly successful so far?” By partnering with Trion in Western markets, Crytek hopes to repeat that success when beta starts later this year.