Report: Crytek UK in Turmoil, Ryse Sequel Cancelled
Multiple sources are reporting that Crytek UK, developers of Crysis 3 and the upcoming Homefront: The Revolution, is experiencing major problems, including high turnover rates, unpaid employees and a general distrust in the company’s management.
According to a Eurogamer report, Crytek UK has seen over 30 employees jump ship since the company started development of Homefront in 2011, including key art, design and programming personnel. This exodus comes as a result of late and incomplete payments by Crytek. Anonymous sources have told Eurogamer that the problem first cropped up last year when bonuses were withheld, and that employees received only £600 (~$1020 US) for one month of work, and £700 (~$1190 US) for another month. The financial difficulties have led to a lack of trust in the company and low morale throughout.
Meanwhile, Kotaku reports that Crytek UK has had to cancel several projects in the last few months, including a proposed sequel to the Xbox One launch title, Ryse: Son of Rome. Reportedly, Ryse 2 was canned due to a dispute with Microsoft over who would own the rights to the franchise. The site also learned from several employees that the Nottingham-based developer forbids its people from discussing salary issues via email, presumably to prevent the spread of negative information about the company.
Last year, Crytek UK, formerly known as Free Radical Design, announced that the company would shift its focus from $60 retail titles to free-to-play games like the upcoming MOBA, Arena of Fate. This has frustrated employees, who see the move as a cash grab, with Crytek UK chasing the last big thing instead of focusing on its proprietary Crytek technology to create innovative titles.
Kotaku’s investigation revealed that while employees went months without full pay checks, high-level executives were treated to expensive chairs, laptop bags and first-class flight tickets, and the company’s co-founders, Cevat and Avni Yerli, drove their Ferraris to work every day. One internal source called this “a slap in the face” to those who are still awaiting payment.
Crytek UK claims that a large cash investment is coming soon, but has yet to acknowledge any issues with employees. Kotaku spoke to Crytek PR head Jens Schäfer about the issues, and was told "the information[...] is not correct." Further attempts by Kotaku to speak with Crytek UK officials have been met with silence.
The big question for gamers here is what will happen to Homefront: The Revolution. The open-world shooter, set in an overthrown Philadelphia, is scheduled for a 2015 release, but massive internal problems like the ones described by Crytek UK employees could seriously hurt the final product, or cause delays or even cancellation. Crytek and co-publisher Deep Silver have declined to comment on the issue, and maintain that the game is still in production. This story is still developing, so we’re sure to learn more about the internal state of Crytek UK and the fate of Homefront: The Revolution soon.