Crytek Denies Accusations of Employee Abuse

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Crytek Denies Accusations of Employee Abuse

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Crytek co-founder Avni Yerli says accusations that the studio mistreats its employees are "absolute bullsh*t."

An anonymous Tumblr blog dedicated to "the hiring and firing policy of Crytek staff at the Frankfurt head office following the project Crysis 2" levels some rather unpleasant accusations at the company. It claims that Crytek treats employees like "disposable pieces of meat," despite being forced to pay settlements to former employees after losing legal battles over unlawful dismissals. A "polluted work atmosphere" has permeated the company, according to the blog, leading to the resignation or termination of employees ranging from web developers to the chief finance officer.

But it's "absolute bullshit," as Yerli put it to Develop. "One thing that will always be the same is that Crytek respects and values its employees very highly, and equally - that's very important," he said. "Whether it's an intern, whether it's a director, it doesn't change; everyone is important."

He acknowledged that some employees have been fired as the needs of the company have evolved but insisted that Crytek has always complied with, and typically exceeded, German labor laws. "We are always supportive to those staff in ways that are far beyond what is legally required," he continued. "We offer a reasonable severance package that [is] usually beyond the legal requirements, or at least meets the requirements. For us it's important that people who leave the company go on good spirits."

He also denied several statements of fact made in the blog, including the downsizing of the Frankfurt offices, the lost court cases and the resignation/termination of the CFO - "We don't have one. We had a guy in finance, and he resigned." - and said that allegations of six-month crunch periods were "ridiculous." He claimed that the Crysis 2 crunch was "three months, maximum" and that employees were offered "huge compensation" for volunteering to work one day each weekend over that stretch.

As usual, the whole thing ultimately boils down to a tale of "he said, she said," although I'm inclined to give a little more weight to the on-the-record word of a known studio executive than to the nameless grumblings of someone who may or may not be a former employee with an axe to grind. It'll be a different matter if more accusations surface, especially if they can be shown to have some substance to them, but for now the great likelihood is that it is exactly what it appears to be: anonymous anger on the internet, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

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On a related note, Crytek admits to processor abuse.

I bet Cevat Yerli pulls all interns/new hires into a backroom for a lap dance regardless of gender. He seems like that kind of guy... you know, the creepy bullshit artist who says and does anything he wants then tries to justify it with more bullshit after the fact. I mean really, he probably thinks he is giving his employees a "gift" by allowing this.

Here is an idea developers:

How about you work steadily enough, hard enough and set reasonable goals so that you do not have to have any crunch time unless something goes terribly, terribly wrong at the end?

Radical idea, I know.

You would have to work people like dogs to make that engine so damn awesome. I wonder if Slavery runs on the Cry engine hehehehe.

I really hope this doesn't hurt the company too badly, if they go out of business it will be a sad day.

They say that while they are smacking their employees with a pipe.
But really, i don't believe they treat them like meat...i believe they just run their company a bit dictatorially...with whips...and chains...

Prof. Monkeypox:
On a related note, Crytek admits to processor abuse.

Heh Heh HEh

It's always "he said, she said" bullshit.

I have to say, I have worked in toxic environments before, and it certainly is debilitating. But at the same time, that doesn't mean that people weren't let go because they couldn't fulfill their job requirements.

If there were no overt threats of firing, or being told you MUST work beyond normal hours or you would lose your job. If there was no undo pressure put on employees and they were told that their job performance was lacking before termination, a paper trail if you will. This is going to be everyone's chief complaint when they lose their job. I have worked places that things change and people who work there do not want to change how things are done, despite them not working in the first place.

It's hard to tell though, I know Crytek blew up real fast. From nothing to something huge in a relatively short time.

On the other hand, I don't like Crytek that much. I feel their products are by and large disappointing, and since they all start at that $60 pricetag that comes with having EA as a publisher, I don't usually go for their games. Not since Far Cry 1 & 2.

Paragon Fury:
Here is an idea developers:

How about you work steadily enough, hard enough and set reasonable goals so that you do not have to have any crunch time unless something goes terribly, terribly wrong at the end?

Radical idea, I know.

You're clearly a fan of EC- have you seen their video where they explain why that's not really possible when talking about games?

If so- that's my answer.

Like they would say "Yeah, we mistreat our employees" if they were.

Not saying they ARE, don't get me wrong, I'm just saying that EVERY company from factories to cleaning services to game development to government offices are going to deny employee abuse, regardless if they are or aren't. You just can't believe anybody anymore.

The Virgo:
Like they would say "Yeah, we mistreat our employees" if they were.

Not saying they ARE, don't get me wrong, I'm just saying that EVERY company from factories to cleaning services to game development to government offices are going to deny employee abuse, regardless if they are or aren't. You just can't believe anybody anymore.

EXACTLY. If Crytek was abusing its employees, do you really think the co-founder would go "oh yeah, we treat our guys like shit." No, they would outright deny it.

I'm going to let this one play out, because making assumptions at the moment is pointless. If nothing comes of it, fine, but if Crytek is found guilty I'd like there to be something done about it. Also:

koroem:
I bet Cevat Yerli pulls all interns/new hires into a backroom for a lap dance regardless of gender. He seems like that kind of guy... you know, the creepy bullshit artist who says and does anything he wants then tries to justify it with more bullshit after the fact. I mean really, he probably thinks he is giving his employees a "gift" by allowing this.

lolwut

Crytek put a video up on their site and they literally have a room labeled "Hell" in their offices where people crunch for ridiculous periods.

Don't believe me?

skip to 6:30.

I like that he says "Crytek has always complied with, and typically exceeded, German labor laws." after they have already been sued and lost for unlawful dismissal. While i know that courts aren't always right i think they need better damage control here.

Paragon Fury:
Here is an idea developers:

How about you work steadily enough, hard enough and set reasonable goals so that you do not have to have any crunch time unless something goes terribly, terribly wrong at the end?

Radical idea, I know.

Doesn't matter how realistic goals are, something always has to be cut and crunch periods are inevitable if you want the game out in less time than DMF. Any dev will tell you that there was stuff they wish they could have put in the final version of their game that they could not, it just comes with the territory, and so does crunch.

Baresark:
It's always "he said, she said" bullshit.

I have to say, I have worked in toxic environments before, and it certainly is debilitating. But at the same time, that doesn't mean that people weren't let go because they couldn't fulfill their job requirements.

If there were no overt threats of firing, or being told you MUST work beyond normal hours or you would lose your job. If there was no undo pressure put on employees and they were told that their job performance was lacking before termination, a paper trail if you will. This is going to be everyone's chief complaint when they lose their job. I have worked places that things change and people who work there do not want to change how things are done, despite them not working in the first place.

It's hard to tell though, I know Crytek blew up real fast. From nothing to something huge in a relatively short time.

On the other hand, I don't like Crytek that much. I feel their products are by and large disappointing, and since they all start at that $60 pricetag that comes with having EA as a publisher, I don't usually go for their games. Not since Far Cry 1 & 2.

I think the part for me that makes it go from 'angry ex-employee making dubious claims' into the realm of possibility is the court cases. It is harder to claim innocence on this when you have lost several court cases involving unlawful firings. Of course, as another poster has pointed out, claiming innocence is what any company would do whether the accusations were true or not. The only 'fact' we have here is that Crytek has a proven history of unlawful firing.

They obviously cannot say that they do not abuse employees. They may not do it a lot, they may be sorry, this may have been an isolated mistake, but the fact is that it has been proven by a court of law that they unlawfully fired one or more employees. If it was not mistreatment, than they would not have been punished with a fine.

Saying they don't abuse employees is clearly bull. Potentially more true: "We don't abuse current or active employees." However, even so that obviously goes out the window for them if they are considering letting you go. Perhaps to them, you are considered an ex-employee long before they make you aware of it so they don't consider it employee abuse.

Paragon Fury:
Here is an idea developers:

How about you work steadily enough, hard enough and set reasonable goals so that you do not have to have any crunch time unless something goes terribly, terribly wrong at the end?

Radical idea, I know.

Damn, I guess they just never thought of that.

Baresark:
It's always "he said, she said" bullshit.

I have to say, I have worked in toxic environments before, and it certainly is debilitating. But at the same time, that doesn't mean that people weren't let go because they couldn't fulfill their job requirements.

If there were no overt threats of firing, or being told you MUST work beyond normal hours or you would lose your job. If there was no undo pressure put on employees and they were told that their job performance was lacking before termination, a paper trail if you will. This is going to be everyone's chief complaint when they lose their job. I have worked places that things change and people who work there do not want to change how things are done, despite them not working in the first place.

It's hard to tell though, I know Crytek blew up real fast. From nothing to something huge in a relatively short time.

On the other hand, I don't like Crytek that much. I feel their products are by and large disappointing, and since they all start at that $60 pricetag that comes with having EA as a publisher, I don't usually go for their games. Not since Far Cry 1 & 2.

Just throwing it out there but every Far Cry game and expansion after the first one was actually developed by Ubisoft, if it stayed with Crytek I think it could have been a better game series but that is just my opinion. I am a huge fan of Crytek, I love every game they have made and love the fact that they actually try to improve their games rather then release the same game every year ad nauseum. The fact that they have released a sandbox editor for every game they have made while others wouldn't bother with any modding what so ever, just goes to show they respect their community and makes that $60 well worth it imo. They work hard and they deserve credit where credit is due, even 4 years later the modding community is still modding Crysis and with the free Cryengine 3 SDK out there, people have the opportunity to make full games for free if they want.

Well, the response from the company makes me actually think that the allegations are true. I have some knowlege of these kinds of matters and how they work.

The guy seems to be mostly argueing in terms of "we followed the law" rather than specifics, his comments about "good compensation" and "exceeding the legal requirements" mean very little when you don't know for sure what those requirements are, or without qualifiers.

I also notice that he's pointing fingers towards a finance officer and the comments about court cases. If the German systems are anything like the US ones, there are probably non-disclosure agreements in force from the moment these guys were hired. Meaning that even if fired someone like a finance officer can be sued or arrested for discussing anything about his employment at all, including the situation he was fired under, even if the company lies about what happened. With court cases when things are settled, it's usually done to protect the reputation of the company, and part of the agreement is to not discuss the case or the grievences in return for the compensation.

Right now there is a tendency in busineses in general to want to hire and fire people rapidly to prevent them from garnering benefits and seniority. Paying some dude that's worked for 10 years is a lot more expensive than someone who has worked for one or two, and in many cases the skill differance isn't always going to be noticable, especially when it comes to "skilled work", someone who bangs out code in a specific programming language, or works a specific machine at a certain level of competency to begin with doesn't gain all that much effectiveness with time, especially not enough to pay all those promised benefits.

Hiring people, promising the world, and then tossing them out the door with a severance package is par for the course. If you signed an "at will" employment agreement, which most people require, you really don't have much recourse since the company can choose to fire you at any time without any justification, and you agreed to that... you either do, or you don't get a job. It effectively negates any long term benefits your promised.

Right now with the economy the way it is, and the sheer number of people with college degrees in computers and such people have given that it was a "boom industry" that got overpopulated, it really doesn't surpise me that Crytek is behaving this way. It wouldn't be anything unusual, just them operating like every other business.

I know something about being screwed by big employers. I used to be the guy who walked employees out of the building and stood around during "exit interviews" to be "on the safe side". The day came when I myself got screwed, I knew enough to make it more of a fight than most, but I lost. Of course unlike a lot of other people I'm now officially disabled and can collect social security, so I landed well enough not to be desperate for the moment.

Prof. Monkeypox:
On a related note, Crytek admits to processor abuse.

Well this just made my day, thank you kind sir.

On topic, eh, If you are mistreated in the workplace take your business elsewhere even it means less pay. Pride over money.

*looks at Activision*
well a end of the project crunch is expected haha
but I suppose Crytek has yet to pull out the big guns of abuse in the industry just yet

"we didn't actually use the cattle prods... we just kept them in the corner..."

The Virgo:
Like they would say "Yeah, we mistreat our employees" if they were.

Not saying they ARE, don't get me wrong, I'm just saying that EVERY company from factories to cleaning services to game development to government offices are going to deny employee abuse, regardless if they are or aren't. You just can't believe anybody anymore.

Well this seems like it will be pretty easy to prove or disprove. Does anybody have any records of these supposed court cases? I can't believe nobody would write them down.

Weslebear:

Prof. Monkeypox:
On a related note, Crytek admits to processor abuse.

Well this just made my day, thank you kind sir.

Thank you. Your praise made MY day. :)

"But it's "absolute bullshit," as Yerli put it to Develop. "One thing that will always be the same is that Crytek respects and values its employees very highly, and equally - that's very important," he said. "Whether it's an intern, whether it's a director, it doesn't change; everyone is important."

Not knowing much about the company, I can tell you that THAT line sounds like utter bullshit. You really value your intern as much as your lead developer? Bullshit!

"No, of course we don't abuse our employees. Who told you that? Was it Mark? Mark, your turn in the Comfy Chair."

well its not like they are going to brag about it or anytyhing.

So the employees of Crytek are crying right now?

It can't be entirely "he said/she said," if people sued Crytek there'd be a record of it, win or lose. If someone claims Crytek has lost multiple unlawful dismissal cases there should be an impressive paper trail.

Am I going to go looking for it? No, I don't speak German and I bet the judicial system over there isn't conducted in English. But presumably the person making these accusations can back them up. And if they can't back them up that rather undermines their argument.

A lot of employee abuse by video game companies these days. Not quite sure what that says.

A lot of employee abuse by video game companies these days. Not sure what that says.

EDIT: Sorry for the double post.

Meh.. They are a multiport Dev company now.. i cant imagine being held back by crap hardware in todays modern game design world being any fun anyways..

MAXIMUM EMPLOYEE ABUSE

The Valve Operations model should be the universal model for any developer that holds itself to such high esteem.

A tale told by an idiot = anonymous anger on the internet?
OK. I'll buy that.

Damn it, here I was thinking I'd be clever for putting an 'abuse to computer parts' pun or irony or sommat' here. Oh well.

Paragon Fury:
Here is an idea developers:

How about you work steadily enough, hard enough and set reasonable goals so that you do not have to have any crunch time unless something goes terribly, terribly wrong at the end?

Radical idea, I know.

Yeah, I've always wondered about this. Why is it that every game ends with a massive crunch period?

Anyways, I'm going to have to side with Crytek until this guy puts out some evidence.

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