Big news broke this weekend and it’s not okay. In a bit of déjà vu, Crytek is once again in a dire financial situation. (I won’t make the pun, the headline is enough). In 2014, Crytek was having trouble making payroll, with some employees working two months without pay.
The situation then was only solved by a reorganization and downsizing, saving the company from insolvency. The U.S. office (made up of former Vigil Games staff) was shuttered and the U.K office (formerly Free Radical Design) was sold to Deep Silver. The sale also included the rights to Homefront: The Revolution and the studio was renamed Dambuster Studios and continued their work on the game.
To seek further funds, they sold an unlimited license to the CryEngine to Amazon, who remade the engine into Amazon Lumberyard. This new engine from Amazon interfaces with Twitch and Amazon Web Services. It is also free, competing against CryEngine, which also made the switch to a pay-as-you-go model.
Now, reports of pay delays and irregularities are back.
An Oct. 9, 2016 post on career reviews site Glassdoor stated “Salaries not arriving on time since last 6 months with no heads-up from the management nor the owners. Every time is the ‘last time.’ No apologies or explanations were offered.” “The founding brothers, [Cevat, Avni and Faruk Yerli] finally decided to address this issue on a company meeting, but dodged all the specific questions and promised that ‘the situation’ is now resolved once and for all.”
But was it? No. Another complaint filed on November 28th said paychecks for the month of October wouldn’t be paid until sometime in early December. These two complaints originated from the company’s HQ in Frankfurt, Germany. Other complaints have also been seen from their Black Sea Studio.
These delays and irregularities in pay have been ongoing for six months, with no money seen since August for most employees. One employee reported that he hadn’t been paid in two months and for the five months before that, pay was late by two to four weeks.
The reported reason behind the late pay is that the company hasn’t made a profit in a long time and has simply run out of cash. A move to obtain a loan is taking longer than expected and management is not communicating to the employees effectively. One brother, Cevat, hasn’t even been in the meetings for months and it isn’t known if he has left. The other two brothers still show up to work but have refused advice from other members of management.
The state of Crytek’s projects isn’t known with rumors that both Arena of Fate and Hunt: Horrors of the Gilded Age are cancelled. Furthermore, Crytek Black Sea, who is/were working on Arena of Fate is rumored to be for sale and that “a big company” has expressed interest already.
Crytek’s issues spawn from a shift to free-to-play and VR games, not of which are particularly successful for them right now. The company has not moved forward with their stronger IPs such as Crysis, Timesplitters, and Ryse. The company’s latest games have included The Climb for Oculus Rift and Robinson: The Journey for PlayStation VR, as well as the free-to-play shooter Warface.
The whole situation seems really shady and it is not okay to not pay your employees.