Crytek Claims It’s Doing Fine, But Rumors Say Otherwise

By Nathan Grayson on June 24th, 2014 at 11:00 am.

Crytek are doing great. They’re walking on sunshine, turning invisible, sneaking up behind the sunshine, and using their nano-powered cybersuit to fling the sunshine 30 feet in the air. Also they’re making a surprisingly decent-looking Homefront sequel, co-op monster mash Hunt: Horrors of the Gilded Age, and fairytale MOBA Arena of Fate. All of that would seem to bode well, except that goings-on behind-the-scenes are – according to a series of rumors – not so rosy. Crytek have categorically denied them, but questions still remain.

Kotaku and German publication GameStar provided the bulk of the rumours, each with anonymous sources declaring that different portions of the sky are falling. Crucially, employees from Crytek’s UK offices have allegedly contacted publications with reports of payment troubles – missing bonuses, some employees not getting paid for a month – since March. Before E3 a Eurogamer source also claimed similar, alleging that Crytek’s Sofia office in Bulgaria hadn’t received salaries for two months. A GameStar source went so far as to claim they’d been close to declaring bankruptcy but had secured more funding.

Crytek, meanwhile, released an official statement denying it all:

“Regardless of what some media are reporting, mostly based on a recent article published by GameStar, the information in those reports and in the GameStar article itself are rumors which Crytek deny.

“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.”

There are further rumblings that Crytek might be looking to strike a deal with World of Tanks creator Wargaming or an unnamed Chinese company, but again nothing whatsoever is confirmed. It would be exceedingly odd, though, for this all to be coming from nowhere. Where there’s smoke, etc.

Does anybody among RPS’ nanoreading ranks know anything? If so feel free to get in touch. Anonymity is guaranteed, as is a fresh-made cookie and a complimentary beverage of your choosing.

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35 Comments »

  1. plsdeleteme says:

    Well, their last financial report wasn’t… “pretty” to look at. It’s not unusual for a company to have a bad year so I wouldn’t make a big thing out of it, but if the following year wasn’t better (which is doubtful judging from smash-hits like Warface) then this might explain the current rumors. Crytek never had a lot of own funds (I think it’s called equity capital in English?) in the company anyway, which would make it hard to cover for bad times.

    • bstard says:

      Seems this compagny just has way (as in 3/4x) too many people on the payroll for what they produce. I understand peoptic titles like Warface need a big croud to think up, but looking at the actual game one suspects it can be done with just a few.

      • Artist says:

        And you can estimate that because….???

        • Premium User Badge jezcentral says:

          Yeah, in the words of wikipedia: citation needed.

        • bstard says:

          Two compagnies who’s core bussness is to make an engine: Epic and Crytec. 160 versus 800 employees.

          • Premium User Badge jezcentral says:

            And a “Homefront sequel, co-op monster mash Hunt: Horrors of the Gilded Age, and fairytale MOBA Arena of Fate”.

            Add anything from in-house HR, cleaning staff and sales staff, which neither of us know about, your figures still look like a made-up piece of guesswork.

            Also, 160 v 800 is 5 times, not 3 or 4.

    • Shuck says:

      These days a successful AAA-ish game might support one dev team, but certainly not four or five. (This is doubly true for free-to-play games.) It’s not uncommon for a game company to have several big hits and assume that all their products will be as successful, and expand accordingly. Unfortunately, since the game industry usually doesn’t work like that, they eventually release games that don’t do as well and have more development studios than they can keep afloat with their revenue.

      • Premium User Badge jezcentral says:

        Exactly. Modern game development means companies are like a gambler who keeps rolling up his bets until, at last, he loses everything.

  2. Marblecake says:

    I really wish I knew anything. I’d like that cookie.

  3. Gothnak says:

    One of my workmates left a month or two ago to go work in their UK office. I now hear that they are coming back next month. Make of that what you will.

    • Creeping Death says:

      That they were signed up for a short couple month long contract to finish someone else’s work? The fact that they are returning to their previous job so easily also makes me think the timeframe was planned out in advance.

      • Gothnak says:

        Well if the chap leaving here was on a full time contract, and moved to another part of the Uk with his family to start at a new company, i doubt it was for a 2 month contract.

  4. MeestaNob says:

    It’s very believable, sadly. They’ve expanded ridiculously quickly over their brief history and haven’t been making games people want.

  5. dE says:

    It would be sad to lose Crytek. I’d miss the rather incendiary comments from the Yerlis. There used to be a time when they walked with all the hubris of the Daikatana Era John Romero. But regardless of my personal opinion, this would be a loss to the games industry.

    For one, their engine is direct competition for the Unreal Engine and that can only be a good thing. Pity it never quite latched on, though. Perhaps even more important to me but probably of no real weight for the international community: Germany would lose one of their Game Development Strongholds. Say what you will about the Yerlis, but they’ve had some decent influence on politics in germany, concerning game development and always seemed to want to improve the scene in general. It’s also one of the last big ones left. The others have crumbled already and are now churning out browser and facebook games. Sigh, my dear BlueByte, why have thou forsaken me.

    • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

      Their engine is also used on a weird MMO i still totally want to try, ArcheAge.

    • Baines says:

      I’m not ready to forgive them for what they’ve done and not done with the TimeSplitters IP.

      No new game. Killed the fan attempt to remake it in Unreal 2K4. Approved the fan attempt to remake it in CryEngine.

      Why is the last one on that list? Because Crytek made an engine that can’t do local splitscreen, so the only allowed fan remake is stuck with no local splitscreen multiplayer. I know PC gamers have a deathly aversion to playing a game with a person sitting next to them, but TimeSplitters was big in large part because it was a great party FPS. Get three friends, add in ten bots, and cut loose.

  6. Maxheadroom says:

    The fanaticism over on the Star Citizen forums kicked up a notch when this news broke. There are calls to start a kickstarter to BUY Crytech and GIVE it to chris robberts so he can continue to develop his gravy boat/money train

    • Zanchito says:

      IT was pretty much a Jest post if I remember correctly.

    • Premium User Badge Malcolm says:

      The enthusiasm with which people will align themselves to profiteering (almost by definition) corporate entities continues to amaze me. I guess its the same need to belong that drives fanatical support of professional sports teams, and the desire to be seen backing the “winner” drives such a level of support which is otherwise unjustified by the reward.

      Or maybe I’m just an old curmudgeon.

      • hamburger_cheesedoodle says:

        It’s at least a bit more understandable with SC, given that Roberts is largely crowd-funded, and I’m sure he could be doing things that make him a lot more money; but this seems to be a work of passion that also happens to be making him loooads ‘a money.

        I could be dead wrong though. Mechwarrior: Online was largely crowdfunded, but the developers have proven themselves to be some of the most unscrupulous money-grubbing bastards I’ve ever witnessed in all of my time playing video games; it’s Zynga-levels of bad, it even makes EA look good. So who knows? We’ll find out when SC is further in development.

        • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

          He’s only crowfunded now, they dropped the investors idea as soon as they got enough cash.

        • Arglebargle says:

          Talking to folks who worked with him, Chris Roberts real love was Hollywood and The Movies. His sojourn there was lackluster to awful. The return to games was more likely a fallback from that failed career move, that just happened to unleash a monster of money kicking his door down. That much moolah can inspire a ton of BS PR.

  7. TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

    “Crucially, employees from Crytek’s UK offices have allegedly contacted publications with reports of payment troubles – missing bonuses, some employees not getting paid for a month – since March”

    Hmmm. Are they based here in Italy? If so, don’t worry, it’s normal!

  8. Premium User Badge jezcentral says:

    I would have thought if vultures were circling, EA would be at the front of the queue (to mix my metaphors). Like all sensible companies, they would wait for bankruptcy before pitching an offer, but it seems odd to me that the people behind World of Tanks would be mentioned before them.

    Speculation ahoy: I wonder if Crysis’ sales suffered from putting too much dev time/money into the frenzy of “COD-has-multiplayer-so-our-game-must”, that blighted so many single-player games over the last 7 years. (And not being on Steam, obviously).

    Anyway, I’m primarily putting this rumour down to a slow news day, for now.

  9. lizzardborn says:

    So that is what Semiaccurate wrote a three months ago. Nice to know my suspicions were correct.

    • Premium User Badge jezcentral says:

      I wonder what the ethics of writing a report like this is. Does it affect the ability of a company to get themselves out of trouble? (Not saying that Crytek is, though).

      Will creditors panic and try and get their money back faster than they normally would, and would debtors drag their feet about paying a company, hoping that they go out of business before they can collect, exacerbating cashflow problems? And the opposite would admittedly hold true from the company’s point of view.

      I don’t know. It just feels a little tasteless reporting on something like this, when the information seems to hang on such little solid data (i.e. none).

  10. Shuck says:

    Ugh, this story is all-too-familiar in the industry: employees not getting paid and the company flatly denying anything is wrong. Inevitably it turns out that the company has been desperately looking for funding to save itself, but after the point at which it’s too late to do so, and collapses, owing its employees quite a lot of money. I hope all their employees have some savings and are already looking for new jobs, because they’re going to get financially screwed over.

  11. bigluvin says:

    “Sales on Consoles would’ve been 4-5 times more than PC , due to PC piracy” . Cevat Yerli , Crytek CEO (2008)

    Good riddance Crytek.

    • Tuor says:

      After Crysis 2 and Far Cry 2, I feel much the same way.

      • Premium User Badge Malibu Stacey says:

        Except Far Cry 2 (and later sequels) has nothing to do with Crytek & doesn’t use CryEngine. Ubisoft Montreal developed it as Ubisoft own the Far Cry IP

  12. Thule says:

    I hate to see developers go under and see people lose their jobs because of it. In the case of Crytek though, they can only blame themselves(or more likely management). Crysis 1 was a flawed gem, it’s open-world elements were great. It was alot of fun to play for the first few hours, but then after that it turned into a rather stale linear shooter. Instead of building on the element of freedom of Crysis, Crytek decided to turn the next Crysis games(2& 3, Warhead was alright) into generic linear shooters and the series never really struck a chord with me after that.
    The insane anti-pc sentiment regularly expressed by Cevat Yerli also didn’t give me any more faith in Crytek and the direction they were going in.

    • Tuor says:

      Yep, they abandoned the PC-first mentality in how they constructed their games, and instead started turning out console games. The original Far Cry was a great game, and Crysis (and later Warhead) was pretty good, too. A shame they couldn’t stay on that course.

      • twincast says:

        Yeah, and that’s the very reason I couldn’t give a damn about Crytek croaking and would probably even dance on their metaphorical grave in glee (although the Yerli bros. will most likely be fine, so the main point of it would be kind of moot) if it weren’t for Star Citizen (and Kingdom Come).

        I’m pretty sure there haven’t been any obnoxious statements by them since that started, so my stance on them has mellowed somewhat–they aren’t the only ones releasing crappy “pretty” game after crappy “pretty” game after all (with some of the worst German translations out there–which is saying something–despite being a German studio, to boot), and other developers are actually making good stuff with their engine.

        Well, I’m pretty sure CryEngine is at a point where CIG can (since in part it already does) handle further development all on their own. And if push comes to shove regarding potential future licensing issues, buying the engine (or if need be, the whole company) shouldn’t be impossible, although that daughter or sister venture would probably need “real” investors.

  13. Titus Balls says:

    I worked with the Yerli brothers back in 99/00′ when they were just starting out as Crytech (and had 3 different games engines on the go).

    Based on their actions then, this doesn’t surprise me now.

    They built the company on a bunch of naive young people around Europe (me – I was 18 at the time and had just dropped out of 1st year of Uni) who wanted to get into the games industry – most of us worked for free on some spec work with the intention of them moving us to Germany.

    Specifically I worked on the Silent Space team – but they had been working on the X-Isle engine (which would form the basis of CryEngine) and they showed it off to nVidia and everyone loved it.

    At this point they basically dropped all the other teams – up to this point mostly unpaid – and persuaded a few core members to move to Germany (and I heard some first year rumours, but unconfirmed).