Revolution Continues: Deep Silver Buy Homefront Off Crytek

Ironically for a game about reclaiming a homeland, Homefront is now moving on again. After a month of downplaying reports of financial strife, Crytek have confirmed they’re selling the Homefront property and all its assets to Deep Silver. The team working on open-world FPS sequel Homefront: The Revolution–which was only announced in June–at Crytek UK will transfer over to a new Deep Silver studio to finish the game. Crytek had itself bought Homefront, which was created at Kaos Studios, last year in the collapse of THQ.

Crytek’s co-op shooter Hunt: Horrors of the Gilded Age is also moving, going to the Frankfurt headquarters as the Austin studio making it is cut down to offering CryEngine licensee support.

Deep Silver’s new Dambuster Studios is opening in Nottingham, the same city as Crytek UK, so it shouldn’t be too disruptive for people there. You know, after the weeks of fretting about their futures. Reports said many had stopped coming into work after pay was late. I wonder how many have already moved on. It’s the end for the studio formerly known as Free Radical. Crytek do say they’ll invite Austin folks to apply for new jobs in Germany, but who’d move to another continent to work for a company clearly in trouble?

Getting Homefront adds another THQ series to Deep Silver’s mantlepiece, joining the Saints Row, Dead Island, and Metro properties they’d bought in THQ’s clearance auctions.

Crytek are also reviewing an unannounced project their Shanghai and Seoul studios were collaborating on, they say in their official statement brimming with optimism and enthusiasm about a future publishing online games. The company said earlier this week that they’d secured more funding to back that transition. I guess we now know where that came from.

Crytek are now relying heavily on their three free-to-play games: MOBA Arena of Fate, hilariously-named FPS Warface, and Hunt: Horrors of the Gilded Age. This seems hopeful.

They had been growing awfully fast and opening lots of studios–peaking at nine–without any obvious way to support them in the long term. Crysis is nice but not big enough for that. Crytek’s CryEngine tech has been licensed by a fair few other developers, but not that many. Xbox One-exclusive historical murderfest Ryse: Son of Rome was a flop. Their mobile games didn’t make much of an impact. Their gaming social network Gface is a dead end. They were overambitious. I suspect this isn’t the end of their troubles.

Best of luck to everyone affected by all this.

53 Comments

  1. Delusibeta says:

    So, Deep Silver’s bought Homefront and the effective remains of Free Radical? OK, but they should have also nabbed the Timesplitters IP.

  2. Distec says:

    There’s a lot hand-changing going on for what’s likely to be an okay sequel to a mediocre game that nobody will really give a shit about due to the lack of “WAR” in the title.

  3. Cytrom says:

    Thats a pretty big loss considering that this was the only interesting thing on the horizon for crytek. I’m not sure if their engine licensing business is going that well either.

    Although thats what happens when you team up with EA. Quick buck in the short term, and sure destruction long term (and EA will exploit the corpse for years after)

  4. Clavus says:

    Crytek was pretty much at its height when they made PC exclusives. Ever since then the studio might’ve gotten bigger, but their games haven’t made much more impact than a wet towel. Sad though. Great tech held back by committee design and suits trying to follow market trends.

    • Shuck says:

      On the other hand, they weren’t going to survive continuing to do what they were doing. The PC game market has changed, PC games are increasingly worthless, and selling $50 boxed (or digital equivalents thereof) PC-exclusive FPSes is an ever-shrinking market.

      • sabasNL says:

        If they would’ve kept making games like Crysis 1, PC-only or atleast focusing on PC instead of console-ports, they would’ve done much better. They would’ve been in the same waters as Ubisoft (Far Cry, Assasin’s Creed), but there is (or was) more than enough room for both.
        When Crysis became more and more CoD-like, starting with Crysis 2, it was pretty clear Crytek was doing things wrong. Even EA commented on it, the Destroyer of Franchises themselves! That they pretty much implode now doesn’t surprise me. Bad business decisions and decreasing quality of their games.

        • GunnerMcCaffrey says:

          The 2014 equivalent of Crysis seems like it could be a damn hard sell, though. Not just a PC exclusive but effectively a high-end PC exclusive? I imagine the cost of making that today is comparatively just as high as seven years ago– unlike the amount you could expect people to actually pay for it.

          Anyway, the sequel made it pretty clear that all Crysis had left to offer was MOAR PRETTY, bringing nothing new to the genre, leaving it to go up against CoD — which, as the new trailers suggest, was more than happy to cannibalize its one good idea and spit out its bones.

          • Shuck says:

            Yeah, exactly. The cost of making a game like this has actually increased substantially – Crysis 3 development being 3 times the cost of the first game, for example – making it unsupportable as a PC-exclusive, even if the PC side of the market hadn’t shrunk, which it definitely has. Dramatically higher costs, significantly lower revenue. That’s not a survivable trend.
            Doing things the way they used to be done has never been, on the whole, a great survival strategy for game developers, but definitely not right now given the current degree of upheaval in the industry.

          • aepervius says:

            Shuck crysis 3 cost 3 time the development, but also it was for 3 time the palterform, and how much was the marketing cost ?

            Sometiems simply slide back the “bling” for the graphic still make it great, but instead of developping for the next generation of PC you develop for the current one. After all many of us bought crysis not for the way it looked, but for the gameplay.

      • waltC says:

        Well, if fps games are the only kind of game Crytek knows how to make–then, yes, their days were always numbered. The PC market for games in general, however, has blown through the roof and is still going like gangbusters, with no end in sight. It is by far the largest market for games in existence. Much, much better these days to go PC-exclusive than to go console-exclusive, imo, if you have to make such a choice.

    • cpt_freakout says:

      But getting hit with a wet towel hurts like hell!

  5. PopeRatzo says:

    Crytek’s co-op shooter

    God dammit.

  6. CookPassBabtridge says:

    All I want to know is that Sky Surveillance Whale’s future is assured.

    • Gap Gen says:

      SKY SURVEILLANCE WHALE SAYS HELLO THERE YES I AM DOING FINE THANK YOU I HOPE YOU ARE HAVING A GOOD DAY TOO JUST KIDDING I KNOW HOW YOUR DAY IS GOING I SEE EVERYTHING OOPS GOING INTO A CLOUD GOT TO GO BYE

      • stiffkittin says:

        Ha, reminds me of the baby sperm whale from Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

        • Gap Gen says:

          If I’m honest, it probably is a little influenced by that.

  7. Lucid Spleen says:

    Crysis averted. The new Homefront was the only product of theirs that I was even remotely interested in, so that’s a relief. Hopefully, it’s in safe hands.
    Crytek have been going down hill for a while now. To an outsider such as myself the broadening of their business in such a hasty fashion always seemed unsustainable, there was never much evidence of the financial success needed for a company to diversify in such a manner. Hopefully there isn’t too much fallout from this jobwise.

  8. caff says:

    I often wonder how handovers like this work in the games industry. It can’t be particularly pretty. I imagine the engine & assets are the key thing in terms of software. What about the design, the vision and the people?

    Whatever happens, Crytek are a great company with a great history and hopefully everyone involved in this comes through ok.

  9. Jerkzilla says:

    I can’t believe someone paid money so they can make a game with the single dumbest setting in the history of all media.

    • Zenicetus says:

      Not only that, but they can’t even do the obvious thing to rescue a setting like that, which is to go over the top with caricature, like the new Wolfenstein did. Can’t do that, and still sell to the Asian game market.

  10. Dave L. says:

    I really don’t see how Crytek is going to be around for longer than a year or so at this point. Going ~four months without paying your employees, and then only being able to pay them again by selling the only IP that you own that has any sort of buzz going for it at the moment, along with the studio developing the game, and then severely downsizing another studio does not add up to a stable financial future. It’s like a combination of the 38 Studios and THQ collapses.

    The subscription based licensing model for CryEngine hasn’t worked out for them nearly as well as it has for Epic, either (based on how many UE4 games are known to be in development right now versus CryEngine games), and it seems highly unlikely that they’re going to get a flood of new licensees when ongoing support is as much in doubt as it is right now.

  11. Anthile says:

    That confirms that the Homefront IP is obviously cursed. Is Deep Silver next? Tune in next week.

  12. Rindan says:

    Man, I really hope they don’t ruin Homefront 2. Ever since Homefront, I have been dying for the sequel… ahahahaha! I’m sorry, I just can’t keep a straight face.

    Why the fuck anyone would pay actual money for that franchise is completely beyond my comprehension. Homefront was a truly awful game that deserved to die and stay dead. Its bad gameplay was only topped by its even stupider story. If you want to make a game about Americans resisting occupation, go for it! Sounds like fun, but why oh why would use Homefront IP? Just hand a child a crayon and ask them to write a story and you will get something more coherent and less stupid than the original Homefront story. In Homefront, the poorest nation in the world invades the richest nation in the world that has over 20 times the population, is 2500 times larger, separated by the largest body of water in the world, has the largest military in the world, and has the largest navy in the world. Canada or Mexico would have more sense. Hell, the UK looking to reclaim the old colony would have made more sense and been more plausible. Just doing an alternate history where the USSR wants to mix it up would have been perfectly good. But North Korea? For fuck’s sake.

    • KenTWOu says:

      Because Homefront: The Revolution actually looks promising.

      • Zenicetus says:

        The game mechanics look promising. The setting is still stupid.

    • Arglebargle says:

      It was originally going to be China doing the invading in Homefront, but developers or publishers got cold feet. Decided maybe it wouldn’t sit well there. At least China has a large military, is expanding its strength, and could crash the American (and the world) economy anytime they want.

      After that dumb decision, they had to gerrymander the story using what they could that would mesh with their art assets, etc. And try to sell it with a straight face….

    • Philomelle says:

      Have you actually played the game at any point?

      Because literally the first ten minutes mention that USA devastated itself when it caused a global oil crisis by fueling conflict in the Middle East with weapon supplies to the point where Iran and Saudi Arabia nuke each other, ruined its public morale by mismanaging its medical system to the point where millions of people died from an epidemic, and finally underwent a complete economical collapse (that also crippled Japan’s security due to America pulling out its military forces). Korean unification is a thing, yes, but its rapid growth mostly happens because USA’s constant meddling in foreign affairs + mismanagement of their internal policies causes numerous problems worldwide.

      The story that happens during the game is horrid, yes, but the backstory is pretty great because the entire situation is USA’s fault in the first place.

      • Arglebargle says:

        Having N. Korea as the invading villain is only slightly more believable than an invasion by aliens, demons, or unicorn riding elves.

        • Philomelle says:

          And that is an issue how? I was not aware that a fictional story about dudes shooting other dudes is supposed to be even remotely believable or realistic.

          • Distec says:

            There’s degrees of stupid that can be put up with. Mileage may vary.

          • Philomelle says:

            Yeah, because a small and poor country rising to power in the wake of multiple major super-powers collapsing is such an unrealistic and outlandish affair. It’s not like the fall of Rome changed the growth of numerous civilizations or anything.

            Do you even world history?

        • Premium User Badge

          tigerfort says:

          And no-one has ever made a successful FPS based around shooting demons or alien invaders. Yes, “NK invades USA” is a stupid plot, but it’s hardly alone in that, and it isn’t necessarily relevant to how good (or successful) the game is.

      • Rindan says:

        Yes, it does make some half hearted attempt to come up with how North Korea manages to invade the US. It is still so unfathomably stupid hurts and an utterly transparent attempt to not hurt anyone’s feels. Jesus, just make it space Nazis or time traveling Nazis if you don’t want to hurt feels. No one likes Nazis, and time traveling Nazis continue to be more plausible than even a unified Korea invading (still rocking 1/4th the population and 1/1000 the land area) the US. Make the US invade someone else and play the defending rebels. Hell, make two made up countries if you must. No matter how you dice it, Homefront was a terrible game with a backstory so stupid you could feel your brains oozing out. The only thing worse than Homefront’s stupid backstory was its terrible plot and worse game play.

        • Philomelle says:

          I’ll repeat what I said above. If you really think that a small and poor country rising to power following a collapse of multiple major super-powers is outlandish and unrealistic, then either you must have been really dedicated to sleeping through your world history classes or I’m in despair for the current state of the education system.

          You should email that to your history teacher so they can heckle you for thirty minutes regardless.

          • rpsKman says:

            Rise to power =/= occupy the USA.

            The things we read these days…

          • Philomelle says:

            Are you trying to say that there is a mystical voodoo shield over USA that makes it impossible to invade even in a situation where it’s undergone a complete economic collapse and has no effective military at all?

    • Goodtwist says:

      “Stupider”

  13. MeestaNob says:

    The good news about Crytek imploding is that it may be much easier for Nordic to gain access to former Vigil employees now at Crytek and get them making Darksiders 3 instead.

    Darksiders 3.

    DARKSIDERS 3!

    DARKSIDERS 3!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Deathmaster says:

      Indeed, said Austin studio is left only with the licensing of CryEngine meaning all other employees should be available. Let’s hope Nordic is watching and more so.. reacting.

  14. Megakoresh says:

    Is it just me or is Deep Silver really trying to become the “Big 4th” among the Ubisoft, Egoistic Assholes and Fucktivision?

    • Premium User Badge

      Matchstick says:

      It’s not just you and considering Deep Silvers at times reprehensible attitude towards PC releases, that doesn’t fill me joy :(