Free PC game makes leap to consoles using brand new game engine

First released as a free, open-source download for PC gamers in 2005, the fast-paced twitch shooter Nexuiz is to arrive on consoles as a downloadable title, powered by the tech behind visual feast Crysis 2.

The original Nexuiz was a game in the style of hit retail titles Quake III Arena and Unreal Tournament.

Just like other free games in the 'arena shooter' genre such as Cube, Sauerbraten, and Warsow, it was a relentlessly fast-paced multiplayer requiring lighting-quick reactions and tactical thinking.

Though big-budget blockbusters such as the Call of Duty and Halo series share much of the same heritage, the Nexuiz console conversion has a lighter footprint and is destined to become a downloadable title rather than sold in shops.

Initial versions were on display at March's Game Developers Conference in San Francisco and June's Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles.

It used technology licensed from id Software, the creators of the Quake series, whose upcoming Rage won the Game Critics Awards for Best Console Game, Best Action Game, and a Special Commendation for Graphics after the E3 show closed.

Originally expected to launch during summer 2010, development studio Illfonic decided to re-code Nexuiz using Crytek's CryEngine 3 after seeing it in action at E3. The team have until September to get that new version up and running in time for an appearance at the PAX Prime expo in Seattle.

If it can make it onto the network stores for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 before Crytek's own flagship Crysis 2 in November, Nexuiz could yet give console owners a tantalizing first taste of the new tech.