In June of this year, Jason Schreier of Kotaku broke the story that Crytek had fallen behind in paying its staff. To my knowledge, and the word of other editors, such as Colin Moriarty of IGN (Podcast Beyond #350), Schreier was first to reveal this startling information.
Kotaku revealed that they had received an anonymous email from an individual claiming to work for the company in their first story:
“I am an employee in the Frankfurt studio,
None of us have been paid last month’s salary. It is normally paid before the end of the month.
It is 11 days late and none of us have been given an explanation by management. All we have to go on are rumors.
This is not the only sign of troubles at Crytek.”
Apparently the information had been sent some months prior, before the issues began to be written about.
Jason Schreier reached out to Crytek for clarification, but the rumors were denied. Unsatisfied with the answer, he even approached members of the company with the same questions at their E3 booth, but to no avail.
Following a report by the German magazine GameStar, which further stressed the company’s financial woes, Crytek responded with a statement on Eurgamer denying the rumors:
“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 licenses. 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.”
Ironically, as with most denials, rumors swirled even more furiously in the days and weeks that followed, with reports that a sequel to Xbox One’s Ryse being dropped, the Staff at Crytek UK stopped going to work, and Homefront’s Director resigning; all of which Schreier continuously brought to readers on Kotaku.
At last it was revealed that Crytek UK employees were being paid once again:
“After month of missed paychecks and walk-outs, the staff of Homefront developer Crytek UK were finally paid this week, according to two people familiar with the company. It’s a welcome bit of news for employees who were worried they might never see what they were owed in full.”
The article on Kotaku also featured a statement by Crytek in which they chose to lift the veil they pinned over their blemish.
This is a difficult situation, with Crytek sounding dangerously close to circumstances that we’ve heard before; circumstances in which other companies met a bitter end. It’s a story in which anyone who cares for games development should keep up with. This industry has always been considered notoriously hard to work for, whether it’s in the hours, the pay, bonuses being withheld for the oddest reasons, visceral reactions from a community that could cost one their job, or failure brought on simply because your audience chose to hold off on purchasing your work. If we want to see greater quality and greater frequency in games, and an overall better environment for developers to create their works in, then it’s important for journalists, and consumers to declare, “this is not ok.”
To stay up to date on this situation, keep it here with this article, on Middle Of Nowhere Gaming, or check in with Jason Schreier on Kotaku.com, where you can get the full details on these stories.
Crysis 2 is one of my favorite shooters thus far. While I don’t entirely understand the workings of game engines, I can recognize that the CryEngine is incredibly powerful within the spectrum of gaming tech. Obviously it’s a shame when this happens in the industry but we should hope that their issues have been permanently resolved. We should also give credit where it’s due, to writers like Jason Schreier. He and others, like those at GameStar, did not sit by silently as rumors surfaced that were difficult to substantiate.
Scott Deisner is an Associate Writer for MONG. He enjoys story and character driven content above all else, things made from potatoes, and long walks on sandy beaches ;P You can follow him on Twitter.