Crytek Boss Hits Back At Crytek Boos

By John Walker on September 5th, 2011 at 10:11 am.

I am so imaginative.

Rumours emerged this weekend that all isn’t happy-times at Crytek. The Crysis developer has been accused of mistreating staff, and sacking employees unlawfully, the accusations appearing on a Tumblr blog. But these are accusations Crytek’s co-founder Avni Yerli has rushed to deny, speaking to Develop. Amid suggestions that six-month crunch periods leave employees not knowing if they will still have a job, Yerli insists that Crytek respects and values staff.

So the anonymous Tumblr blog says,

“Crytek still treat staff as disposable pieces of meat to be discarded at will.”

While Yerli says,

“One thing that will always be the same is that Crytek respects and values its employees very highly, and equally.”

Of course, this all descends into “he said/she said”. While the accusations from the Tumblr blog remain anonymous, Yerli clearly has a position of authority in the debate. But then of course whistleblowing is always more complex than simply saying that your company is great, and everything’s fine.

Yerli doesn’t deny having fired some staff. But he does state that they offered above the legally required severance packages, and the two former employees who sued for better bundles both lost in court. He repeatedly insists that the blog is “misleading”, and that while the sixteen mentioned positions were vacated, nine were voluntarily, and with a staff of a few hundred, it’s not unusual for a few to go, he says.

Other claims made by the blog Yerli describes as “bullshit”. The company is moving offices, as the Tumblr claims, but not to a location with seventy fewer seats. There are more desks, in fact, the boss insists. He also hints that the company may be becoming more than a traditional games developer, but doesn’t explain what that means.

As for that six month crunch, Yerli insists that it was at most three months, and that staff could volunteer to work one weekend day at their own discretion, and offered “huge compensation” in return.

If you’ve worked at Crytek, or still do, and have any comment to make, get in touch.

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49 Comments »

  1. Chris says:

    Crysis 2, pretty, but not very good.

    Really just dumbed down for vast bovine masses of the console herd.

    • AndrewC says:

      Let’s all look at Chris. He is an extremely silly man.

    • KauhuK says:

      Crysis 2 was such a dissappointment after Crysis 1. I got Crysis 2 from summer sale for 16 euros and even that was too much from it imo. They ruined the decent scifi story that started in crysis 1.

    • Henke says:

      IF ANYBODY IS A COW HERE ITS YOU

      your the cow

      -Console Gamer

    • Squirrelfanatic says:

      @Chris: What has this to do with anything?

    • Kaira- says:

      How appropriate, you fight like a cow.

    • HermitUK says:

      I thought the setting was great, and certain combat sections had a very nice emphasis on vertical gameplay, but it was just far too linear. I was hoping for Crysis style design; Not a completely free roaming New York, but each level having a decent amount of alternate routes and strategies.

      The new suit power system made a fundamental mistake, too. In Crysis the idea was that Maximum Armour gave you some protection while your energy recharged. In Crysis 2, when your energy hits 0 you’re a very slow moving target with no defences. It really altered the flow of combat – In Crysis 1 you could switch between suit powers and armour mode without breaking off from your Korean baiting. In Crysis 2 you spend large chunks of combat cowering behind boxes waiting for your energy to max out again.

    • woodsey says:

      When Cyrsis 2′s setting was announced I was expecting to be leaping from 20-story building to 20-storey building, not running around in a car park.

      They also neutered the Nanosuit and made weapon customisation bizarre (from what I remember, if a weapon was described as a stealth or assault weapon – even if they were the same gun – you could only mod them slightly, and not in the same way.)

      Crysis had its problems, Crysis 2 didn’t even seem to acknowledge that fixing them would produce something better than just trying to make something else entirely.

    • Ringwraith says:

      I actually found Crysis 2 to play better than the its predecessor, possibly because it was much more focused and actually fixed the brokenness of cloaking quite well.
      Crysis 2′s combat is about hit & run attacks, and the game actually tells you this, due to the limited capacity of the energy supply, and the fact there is a delay before it starts recharging, which makes you have to think more carefully about you spend it, as if you are caught in the open without any energy, you are a sitting (and soon to be dead) duck.
      Besides, you’d probably spend 90% of the time in armour mode in the first game, which suggests they hadn’t balanced the modes very well if you’re spending so much time in one compared to the others.

    • woodsey says:

      That’s because armour mode was the just the default mode.

      And the stealth was broken in the second – the amount of times I could just run straight through an area because the game told me the exact stealth route to take was ridiculous.

      As for all the delay on recharging and stuff, that’s all in Crysis, so I’m not entirely sure what you’re talking about.

      They even used respawning enemies (ala CoD), which completely negated any tactics you might try and employ in certain areas.

    • Ringwraith says:

      @woodsey
      Actually, they balanced the “sneak past everything” option out a fair bit, seeing as you can’t get the stuff to upgrade your abilities if you do that, and it’s the same story with sniping stuff, as it’d disappear if you didn’t get to them fast enough.
      Also, there was never a delay before energy recharged in Crysis, at least not to the degree of the delay in 2.
      Additionally, there is only one place in the game where enemies constantly respawn, and only then two at a time, there’s friendlies fighting them off pretty well, and your current objective is completely in the opposite direction, and they stop coming once you actually need to go that way and kill them anyway. Therefore, I fail to see how that affects anything.

    • Yosharian says:

      @AndrewC I see no reason to laugh at him, considering he’s right.

    • yourgrandma says:

      Far cry Instincts for the orginal xbox was a better Crysis game than Crysis 2 was. It had a much more open level design and better powers… even the AI was better. It’s quite sad how much games are being dumbed down now days… i dont think we will ever see another game like Crysis or Far Cry 1 from Crytek any time soon as they have gone to the dark side.

    • KenTWOu says:

      Crysis 2 combat was so smart and fluid, that I would like to see it in Deus Ex Human Revolution.

  2. woodsey says:

    Can’t say Cevat Yerli has ever looked like he could be the office psychopath. The same couldn’t be said for that Brendan McNamara guy at Team Bondi, he err… looks a little scary.

  3. Magnetude says:

    “He also hints that the company may be becoming more than a traditional games developer, but doesn’t explain what that means.”

    I remember watching a tech demo for the Crytek engine that was very heavy on its movie-making potential. Are they aiming to become to the movie industry what Unreal is to games?

    • bear912 says:

      An interesting suggestion. I could see vast potential for real-time or near-real-time rendering or previewing of content to save time for artists.

    • JohnnyMaverik says:

      They have been pushing the engine’s potential for 3D animation and movies have been mentioned (not actual movies in production, just “hey, people can even make movies with it”), but tbh they’re still yet to crack the games industry with the CryEngines (mostly IMO due to consistent bad timing of release, as well as it has to be said prior to 3, a focus on the PC market) so I doubt they’ll have much luck. There are a few real-time CryEngine 2 animations on youtube but I haven’t seen anything made in Cryengine 3 yet.

    • KenTWOu says:

      “He also hints that the company may be becoming more than a traditional games developer, but doesn’t explain what that means.”

      I guess, this means Free-2-Play.
      http://crytek.com/games/warface/overview

  4. bear912 says:

    Perhaps this anonymous blogger is telling the truth, but I’m afraid that to me anonymous blogs like this reek of the IceFrog “truth” fiasco, in which an anonymous blogger who claimed to be a Valve employee painted a picture of IceFrog as a pathological liar, whose hiring was set to ruin Valve’s corporate culture. Except then some real Valve employees apparently called the lie.

    And then it became a meme.

  5. Joshua says:

    Those legally required severance packages are apperently quite decent in Germany. I am quite sure that if what is said about crytek is really true, people from ‘outside the industry’ would take a few hints too(mainly goverment officials and or journalists).

  6. Groove says:

    I have been a Rock Paper Shotgun (TM) employee since 1873 but I have only recently found the courage to speak out.

    I have only found my voice with the removal of ‘Hacksaw’ Smith. With the most depraved of these monsters gone I know that if I am discovered it is only myself and my immediate family that will suffer. The rest will be spared.

    My main concern is the firing of fellow employees recently. Out of the castle’s giant shotgun, at rival news organisations. We have long abandoned chairs as not being motivational enough, which we have learned to understand. Now budget cuts are causing them to remove the replacement spikes, meaning we drop directly into the pit of eels. I don’t know how productivity will rise in these conditions. Our only job security is found in the chains around our necks and the eminent gaze of ‘Hammers’ Rossignol

    They claim we are in the ‘final months’ of our 138 year crunch period. I know that they will never end crunch work, but if their lies turn to truth I fear they will feed my withered form into the castle shotgun furnace.

    Every day I pray for death.

  7. JohnnyMaverik says:

    I’m certainly not saying this is evidence of staff mistreatment but you can tell when a game has been made with love as well as hard work, and Crysis 2 isn’t one. It’s certainly a very professionally made, competent game, but it doesn’t feel like anybody has really sweated blood and tears to get the most out of every good idea.

    Compare to say overgrowth, which obviously isn’t even close to out yet, or even Natural Selection 2, which will be out (I presume) fairly soon, watching the dev videos you can see they’ve gone over everything time and time again, even stuff that was perfectly ok, because they know they can do better than perfectly ok.

    It’s what makes Valve games, on the whole, so great. They’ve been plucked, groomed and polished beyond the required mark. Every time they found something was good, you know they took that thing, worked out exactly what was good about it, and worked on it until that goodness had been fully unleashed.

    I can’t think of many games I really, really love, from old school text adventures to the your glistening 16x anti-aliased modern 3D games, that haven’t felt like the people making it had gone beyond the professional pride of wanting their work to not be crap, to a real love for the thing they’ve been making and a need for everything good about it to be as good as it could possibly be. Even the really janky, buggy, good despite itself ones like say VTM:B. Sure it was bugged to hell, barely finished and there was plenty bad about it, anything that was good about it was really, really bloody good, which is why it was good despite itself rather than a complete disaster which considering it’s state on release would for 99% of games, be what they would be.

    I imagine working conditions as much as the quality of the original idea (in the case of Crysis 2, we need to make a new game, lets call it Crysis 2 because people know what Crysis is, it needs to be shiny but also work on the console toys) have an effect on whether the people working on a game are willing or even able to go beyond professional pride and really put some of themselves into the project.

    • Rii says:

      “or even Natural Selection 2, which will be out (I presume) fairly soon”

      Ah, the eternal optimist.

    • JohnnyMaverik says:

      The recent dev videos have shown a game that to me at least looks pretty finished. Although I’m sure it could well take longer than I personally expect (no more than 3 months at the very most) and in so doing prove my point.

      It already looks like a completely different game than it did six months ago, when I thought it looked fine but a little underwhelming, and a lot of people were expecting an imminent release back then. From graphics to mechanics in that time they’ve overhauled massive chunks of bad and polished up massive chunks of good.

      If that game comes out and fails to attract a solid and more importantly loving (the Red Orchestra, Killing Floor, hell even TF2 (probably not anywhere near as big as TF2) kind of loving where they make their own maps and have at least 5 “favourited” servers) fan base as well as distinctly above average reviews especially from the pc centric games journalism outlet… places, I’ll eat my own face, and that’s not an easy thing to do.

    • Rii says:

      All I know is that NS2 has been “coming soon!!!” for what seems like a decade now and I no longer care to lend its purported existence any credence until it’s actually released.

    • Nick says:

      well, at the very least it does exist, I have played it. It was ages and ages ago and it was a buggy mess, so I haven’t tried it again since, but I probably should.

    • Nethlem says:

      Natural Selection 2 is well along the way..
      Just a few weeks ago they released a patch that massivley improved on alot of things, making the game feel way better.

      The game is basicly out allready, you can go and buy the game to get the current build which is very much playable. Maybe even more so then earlier builds of the original mod, but balance and performance are still issues.

      But sadly it feels like the game lost it’s momentum because they had to go into beta too early for the money. Now they basicly sold the game allready to everybody interested and it’s not even released/finished yet.

      So i fear that the real “release” when the game is actually finished won’t give the game that much of an pbulicity push.

  8. Lobotomist says:

    All I know is that situation in major game industry is dire.
    And this “rumor” doesnt surprise me.

    Its a big turning point happening, with more and more experienced developers trying to make it on their own with indy titles.

    And its only for the best

    • JohnnyMaverik says:

      I agree 100%.

      It’s also cool that indie devs that have come from a big AAA background are usually not only coming from fairly unspectacular, mid to entry-level positions, but also from places not usually noted for producing work that really displays any outstanding talent.

      Why I find that exiting is that is means it’s quite likely the industry is absolutely brimming with talented people, it’s just the culture at the large corporate driven development teams means for numerous reasons that talent isn’t being put to effective use, or even being allowed to be displayed. With indie becoming more and more commercially viable as well as tried and tested, what we’ve seen in the past 2 or so years could, despite looking like a massive indie boom, be just the tip of the ice berg.

    • Lobotomist says:

      btw,

      “I have a friend that knows a friend” JK

      I have a friend that is good friends with people that made original Far Cry , i could ask him if he heard something….

      Dont know if its same group of people working there, though….

  9. ReV_VAdAUL says:

    To quote Sir Humphrey “Never believe anything until it is officially denied.”

  10. The Sombrero Kid says:

    Crytek are almost certainly in the wrong, almost all games companies mistreat their staff, they have to in order to compete and the only way to stop it is to unionise.

    • FunkyBadger3 says:

      Awh, how cute.

      I wondering how exactly a games industry strike is going to bring the country to its knees…

    • The Sombrero Kid says:

      The goal of a union isn’t to bring a country to it’s knees, that’s the fascist cult you belong to that you are thinking of.

  11. rocketman71 says:

    Cevat Yerli saying “bullshit” to other people?. Incredibly ironic.

  12. wodin says:

    Don’t believe Yeri…he is bound to say it’s rubbish…if it isn’t I hope he loses his job…gets behind on his mortagage and have to go begging for a job at a new studio run by one of those he mistreated…if it is true of course.

  13. D3xter says:

    Eh, all I know is that a friend studied game design in F/M with a lot of the staff having worked or still working for CryTek and apparently they haven’t really had many nice things to say about it… (e.g. bad pay in comparison with other fields, long hours and not much “stability”) In fact he actually decided to do something else after he graduated because of that.

  14. vodka and cookies says:

    “He also hints that the company may be becoming more than a traditional games developer, but doesn’t explain what that means”

    Crytek is a software/technology company not a games company, they started as games but they have been increasingly investing in markets outside of games. Lots of industrial companies license Crytek software for use in various environments including the oil/gas industry and military’s too.

  15. Forceflow says:

    I’ve visited the Crytek offices 2 times (for a job interview), and the impression I got was that – although the workload was pretty high – everybody was having a good time. They were in full Crysis 2 crunch back then, but the staff I talked and dined with were great folks.

    On the other hand, who’d complain about working at Crytek to a possible new colleague.

    (Oh yeah, I didn’t get the job. But I do recommend applying for a Job at Crytek. They flew me over to Frankfurt, paid for all expenses and were incredibly professional.)

  16. Jake says:

    The Crytek logo has the same 4 colours as the Xbox buttons on it’s d-pad arrow design, but they are in the wrong order. This bothers me.

  17. BobsLawnService says:

    If there is a lot of legally unfair dismissal going on you’d think that the German equivalent of the labour courts would have stepped in.

    • harmlos says:

      The labour court (“Arbeitsgericht”) will only become involved if those fired make a complaint. If they are foreigners (or Germans with little legal knowledge), they might not know that they can complain, or that German labor courts uniquely amongst all German courts are allowed to give legal advice to complainants (so you don’t need to pay for a lawyer to figure out if you have any chance of winning your case), or that you do not necessarily have to cover your employer’s legal fees should you loose the case (again unlike most other German courts). Of course, it is also possible that this is just an disgruntled ex-employee blowing smoke from his or her rear end out of spite.

  18. psyk says:

    “And the stealth was broken in the second – the amount of times I could just run straight through an area ”

    I remember using invis to get through most of the first game.