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Crysis 2 available as free download – EA begins investigation

There seems to be a crisis down at Crysis HQ. As with many modern triple-A titles, someone with insider access at the games giant seems to have lifted the code lock, stock and two smoking phased plasma rifle barrels. KitGuru scans police frequencies for chit chat.

While the first game may have had more detractors than fans, original Crysis did satisfy a massive need in the market for DX10 benchmarking.

How much of the Crysis code base was useful for predicting graphic card performance for other games is highly debatable, but it quickly became the standard.

Crysis 2 is the widely anticipated, nVidia-sponsored follow up that promises to have more tessellation than an Open University lecturer's doodle pad.

Originally planned for 2010, nVidia's hot beef injection of $2M in marketing funds meant that delays were inevitable. Sure enough, at the EA fiscal conference we were told that it was being pushed back until at least the end of March 2011.

While that might cause some friction in the gaming community, they are well-used to delays.

The ‘OMG Wake Up Call' this morning comes from EA realising that some dodgy bastard has walked out of a secure area with the code base and made it available on torrent sites across the globe.

Torrent sites across the globe have some version of Crysis 2 available for download. EA stresses that this is an early version and you are strongly advised to wait to buy the final game later this year.

Given the nature of torrent sites, with an entire legion of peer-2-peer copying operations in the background, is that Crysis 2 will be available everywhere way too early for EA.

So here's the killer question?

Which version of the code base has been made available?

No one can tell.

Even if we were to be shown version numbers, there's no way to be sure if that was the ‘core of the final gold release' or a ‘completely different thread of the code that was destined for the bin because it was so weak'.

EA has gone on record to say that it is aware than an “early incomplete, unfinished build” has been released to torrent sites. EA stresses that downloading this version is wrong and that it will, ultimately, damage the software industry.

Given that nVidia bought early and exclusive access for $2M, it would have expected to be able to work with EA's software engineers on the benchmark that will be included.

The first sniff that AMD would have been given of that benchmark would have been when the software was close to launch, so not enough time to fully react to the intimate details of the test.

We're not suggesting that anyone at AMD would touch a copy of this dodgy software, but – in a parallel world where that might happen – it would provide an invaluable insight into what was going to be tested, and how. That inside knowledge would have come for free, rather than $2M. Ouch.

KitGuru says: EA's point that illegal, early downloads damage the industry is 100% true and cannot be disputed. While it may be painful, buying the real/true/final software will ensure that more great games get developed for the PC in the future. If you don't want to be stuck with the cut-down graphics/features/quality/resolution that comes with console versions of games – go for original games. Even if it means waiting a few weeks after launch for the price to drop – it's still helping to ensure a stronger games industry in the future.

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