Crytek is the independent studio responsible for the recent VR sensation Robinson: The Journey as well as titles including the original Far Cry, all the while taking on an elusive Timesplitters project. Since its inception, however, the studio has grown to 9 studios across Europe despite only stamping its name on a handful of titles in recent years.
Far Cry threw the company into the spotlight in 2004, and from there a massive European base was built with bases in the US, UK, Budapest, Bulgaria, Korea, China, Turkey, Hungary, Frankfurt, Germany and Kiev, and Ukraine. From here the company found even more fame in its CryEngine software which is used regularly by outside developers.
From its foundations in 1999, to its standing today among the community, Crytek has been a staple, if slightly unsung, of the industry. Nevertheless, its massive expansion as a result of a few wins may be its downfall in the coming year. Worries began earlier in 2016 when employees spoke out against the company for irregular salaries. It seems devs and artists alike weren’t getting paid on time, with the studio explaining that the cheques were being withheld to keep the company from redundancy. If this wasn’t enough, today brought the news that Crytek is closing 5 of its 7 remaining studios after it was forced to close its UK and US branches. Leaving the company with studios in Frankfurt, Germany, and Ukraine, the cutbacks have seen a large proportion of the dev team without jobs.
It seems that Crytek was looking to get Robinson: The Journey out safely, while riding off the cash they banked from selling the rights to Homefront: The Revolution, before letting go its staff. It’s a sad state at the moment, with very few people in the know about the current state of the studio. A tellingly vague press release suggests things are rocky over at the Crytek offices.
While bosses are reassuring fans that the company is sizing down in order to focus on its work “to develop and work on premium IPs”, it’s difficult to see how major layoffs are a plus for a company that boomed to success off of a couple of well received games and an engine. Perhaps Crytek has realised it’s invested too much too early with the slew of mediocre titles it’s pumped out in the middling years, and their engine’s relatively lacklustre uptake in recent years.