Crytek doubles down on the movie business with standalone Film Engine

CryEngine developer Crytek has formed a new company around Film Engine, a suite of "real-time cinematic production software" aimed squarely indie, big-budget, and VR filmmakers.

CryEngine developer Crytek has formed a new company around Film Engine, a suite of "real-time cinematic production software" built on its Crytek engine that's aimed at a broad swath of the movie industry, including VR, indie and big-budget filmmakers.

This is a notable step further into the movie-making business for Crytek, which recently decided to make the latest version of its CryEngine game engine basically free as "pay-what-you-want" software.

The German company has also had its hand in the film industry for some time via Cinebox, a game engine-esque film production toolset the company began prototyping in 2008 that has since been used in the production of movies like Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.

Film Engine is based on a revamped version of Cinebox, and is currently in closed beta testing ahead of a planned launch "in the next few months." The project's creative director, Jean-Colas Prunier, previously spent well over a decade doing visual effects work on films like Guardians of the Galaxy, Avatar and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.

"By addressing the needs of filmmakers with the technology of the games industry, we were able to create an entirely new cinematic production tool that will completely change the way the industry works," Prunier stated in a press release announcing Film Engine's debut.

That's an echo of what Epic Games founder Tim Sweeney told Gamasutra in 2015, when he noted that "a real-time game engine is the common substrate" underlying games and film.

That was the same year that Weta Digital worked with Epic to create an Unreal Engine-powered VR experience based on the Hobbit films, and at GDC Epic Games' Kim Libreri predicted that "the [game and film] industries will unify in the next five years" -- at least in terms of asset production.

For now, developers curious to learn more about Film Engine can get in touch with the company via its new website, though Film Engine remains mum about how much its tools will cost.

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