Crytek UK Losing Senior Staff Over Financial Troubles
When we reported last month that Crytek was in the midst of major financial troubles, we knew that those sorts of stories tend to get worse before they get better. Well, it looks like Crytek’s UK studio might be the hardest hit with senior staff leaving the studio and others walking off the job because of unpaid wages.
A couple of weeks ago, Kotaku cited sources at Crytek UK who said that upwards of 100 staff walked off the job after handing in formal grievance letters as a result of unpaid wages. Late payroll has also led to a number of staffers leaving in recent weeks believing that was the only way to get paid to work.
Crytek UK isn’t the only Crytek studio with payroll issues. As we mentioned last month, Crytek Black Sea is reportedly months behind on payroll payments. A more recent report from staff at the company’s lead studio in Frankfurt, Germany, indicates that the final paycheques of some staff who have recently left are late.
It’s not just the hands-on developers who are leaving Crytek UK. Game director for Homefront: The Revolution and free-to-play shooter Warface, Hasit Zala, has left Crytek UK. Crytek UK development manager Ben Harris has also left his post. And Crytek UK’s studio head, Karl Hilton, is no longer at the studio but is still employed by Crytek and is expected to be reassigned internally.
Possibly related to all these financial troubles is a report that Microsoft has cancelled a sequel to Ryse: Son of Rome over a dispute over whether Crytek or Microsoft would retain ownership of the Ryse IP. It turns out that the answer may be no one and that looks like the worst answer for Crytek.
Neither Crytek nor Deep Silver, Homefront: The Revolution’s publisher, have commented on the matter. Internally at Crytek UK, the hope is that Deep Silver steps up to save the game and the studio so they can get paid.
If I was to hazard a guess, it would seem that a change in business model coupled with a rapid expansion quickly left Crytek short on cash. They’re making a hard switch to self-published free-to-play titles with the likes of The Collectables, Arena of Fate and Hunt: Horrors of the Gilded Age which means they’re not bringing in money from publishers to cover development costs. All the while, Crytek has added five new studios in the last five years. That’s not exactly an inexpensive endeavor for any company, especially an inexpensive one that has a lot of upfront costs for its products.
Hopefully Crytek sorts out its money issues soon. It sounds more and more like they need a solution and fast.