Sources Suggest Crytek Woes Include Cancelled Ryse 2, Staff Departures, Unstable Working Environment
Crytek is currently in deep trouble if recent reports are to be believed, and tensions are at a high with the suggestion that the company could be facing bankruptcy in its future. Now more information has come in on the matter, again via reports from various sources claiming to have inside knowledge. Of course that means it can’t be taken as fact, but the information presented does seem believable.
The sources, speaking to Kotaku, claimed that Crytek has been consistently losing staff since March. In our previous coverage it was suggested that Crytek has more than 800 employees, which is absolute madness, but it can be believed due to the fact that there are eight studios under the company, namely Crytek Black Sea, Crytek Budapest, Crytek Istanbul, Crytek Shanghai, Crytek UK, Crytek South Korea, Crytek USA and Crytek Ukraine.
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The unnamed sources have also claimed that one of the cancelled projects by Crytek due to alleged downscaling was a sequel to the Xbox One exclusive Ryse: Son of Rome. Of course, because as it is with Homefront: Revolution, people were dying for another Ryse game, right?
Anyway, reports indicate that work ended on the Ryse sequel due to conflict between Crytek and Microsoft over who would own the rights to the franchise. This strikes me as a little weird considering that Microsoft are happy to let Insomniac Games keep the Sunset Overdrive IP apparently.
Microsoft said it has “nothing to announce about the future of the franchise at this time” when asked for comment on Ryse.
Back to the company with problems, apparently some Crytek UK employees have only been given about a third of their wages after the cancellation of Ryse 2, while others indicate that they have not been paid “in months”.
While Crytek has already denied that it’s facing bankruptcy, the company has not yet responded to these claims.
It must be noted that employees have had very different experiences, as mentioned by Kotaku, with some being paid accordingly in April and May but others not. This can’t be proven of course.
The sources describe Crytek offices as having a “tense, unstable environment, plagued by poor communication and a number of high-level staff departures at the company’s biggest studios in Germany and Britain”. Various staff at the studios have reportedly been having open discussions about leaving or seeking out new jobs.
Furthermore, it has been suggested that over 100 people have left Crytek so far in the past three months and, speaking anonymously, employees have said the firm is “frequently missing payments and regularly assuring employees that everything will be fixed in the future, only to continue sending out checks late”. Again, these claims haven’t been verified so we can’t know the truth.
The departure of 100 employees is believable though, because if you’re on a downward spiral and you’re employing far too many people spread over far too many studios, it makes sense to start cutting heads off your own hydra.
“Trying to confine the problem rather than tackling it is not the way to go about this any more; it’s too big now,” said a purported Crytek employee, discussing the problem with hope that it can be fixed.
“Honest communication, inclusion, and a work environment based on trust could have gone a long way, and may have stopped people from leaving.”
As expected, Crytek head of PR Jens Schäfer stated that “the information [Kotaku] got is not correct.”
Crytek also responded with an official statement to the reports of it facing bankruptcy.
“Regardless of what some media are reporting… the information in those reports and in the GameStar article itself are rumors which Crytek deny,” said a spokesperson.
“We continue to focus on the development and publishing of our upcoming titles Homefront: The Revolution, Hunt: Horrors of the Gilded Age, Arena of Fate, and Warface, as well as providing ongoing support for our CryEngine and its licensees.
“We have received a lot of positive feedback during and after E3 from both gaming press and gamers, and would like to thank our loyal employees, fans and business partners for their continuous support.”
I can’t say I’m surprised at the woes of Crytek due to how wide they’re spread and how little they focus on making actual games rather than expensive tech demos that don’t really sell stellar amounts.