Crytek for me are the probably the developers I find to be the most disappointing. It’s reached a stage where I’ve started to call them “the developers formerly known as relevant.” They once had incredible potential when they made the original Crysis after Far Cry, which was an absolutely amazing game that also pushed graphical boundaries for years. After that, well, the studio basically forgot how to make actual games.
German video games magazine Gamestar is reporting very bad news for Crytek right now, and suggests that the studio may actually end up going bankrupt. When you hear the reasons, I’m sure that some won’t be surprising but others will definitely raise your eyebrows.
The news was reported by DSOGaming, who revealed that according to Gamestar, the adoption of the CryEngine is not going very well and the reception, based on word-of-mouth, at GDC was quite negative. What’s weird about this is that the CryEngine is one of the most optimized engines, and we all know how impressive it is graphically, but it seems the problem is with the subscription prices Crytek is using, which is a barrier to it being used by other developers.
Furthermore, Gamestar claims that the development of mediocre game and glorified tech demo Ryse was catastrophic for the studio. Apparently, only months before its release, Ryse was severely behind and Crytek had to bring on additional manpower to complete it. Must have been all that work on the boob physics, hey? Anyway, Ryse of course didn’t sell as well as Crytek hoped, which must have hurt extra special because it was a console exclusive at launch.
Avni Yerli claimed that a cash injection for Crytek is imminent, and a contract will be signed really soon. However, apparently a number of big publishers are waiting for a possible bankruptcy so that the talent and IPs of Crytek can be bought.
Wargaming is currently cited as a possible buyer of Crytek, but that wouldn’t be good news for fans of the studio. Wargaming is best known for its Free To Play games, and that would most likely mean the end of Crytek and their single player tech demos.
Here comes the scary part. The financial issues faced by Crytek seem quite crazy. According to Yerli, there were “dramatized rumors” from disgruntled ex-employers, which naturally had a very negative impact on the public image of Crytek as a company. Now wrap your head around this. Crytek has more than 800 employees, which is such a staggeringly huge number that it on its own could explain the company’s financial woes. To somehow make matters worse, Gamestar reported that salaries were paid late, which led to employees sending applications to other studios at home and abroad.
To put another nail in this coffin, Warface was successful only in Russia and Crytek’s G-face platform was a resounding flop.
I can’t say I’m surprised to hear that Crytek is doing badly, but their employee situation is definitely insanity at its worst. However I will stress the same problem with Crytek that I’ve been saying since Crysis 2. The studio has simply forgotten how to make games. They can only make technical marvels. And even those technical marvels don’t impress because their art direction has become drab since after the original Crysis. Beauty is achieved through more than just raw power or technical prowess. I further think that Crytek jumping to consoles and trying to do things like multiplayer were other factors in running themselves into the ground.
I guess now all we can do is wait and see what ends up happening to Crytek, but I doubt it will be anything good.