Report: Crytek Not Paying its Employees (Again)

Report: Crytek Not Paying its Employees (Again)

Crysis 3 The Lost Island DLC screenshot

Reports are suggesting that Crytek hasn't been making a profit for a long time.

About two years ago there was a big scandal with German games studio Crytek in which its employees refused to come in to work because they hadn't been paid in months. Now, it looks like it might be happening again. Reports have been coming in via social media and reddit that the company's Bulgarian studio, Crytek Black Sea, hasn't paid its employees in as long as six months.

Sources speaking to Let's Play Video Games say that the reason for the delay in payment is pretty simple: Crytek hasn't been making a profit for a long time. Other explanations claim that the company is currently preparing to be acquried by a "big name game company."

Crytek Black Sea is currently working on free-to-play MOBA Arena of Fate, and is the first game to be developed by the studio since it was acquired by Crytek in 2008.

In 2014, when the company was facing a similar crisis (no pun intended) CEP Cevat Yerli acknowledged that the company missed making its payroll to keep itself out of bankruptcy.

We've reached out to Crytek for an official comment.

Source: Let's Play Video Games

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Taking bets on who ends up buying them and/or their catalogue rights. My bet is Ubisoft.

The company made some weak shite on their high-tech engine noone needs, and now struggle to sell the engine to at least someone as noone needs it; it's too complicated and too not free for indies, at the same time AAA-players all have their own stuff to play with; and at the same time they have released - what - 0 proper games in 3 years and have 3 projects that won't sell even judging by their title. WHAT A SURPRISE THEY'RE HAVING PROBLEMS, I WONDER WHY IS THAT.

If they'd made a proper sequel to Crysis back in the day this probably wouldn't have happened. But they lacked vision and instead they tried to go where they thought the money was.

Hey, maybe the Star Citizen guy will buy them. XD

Rastrelly:
The company made some weak shite on their high-tech engine noone needs, and now struggle to sell the engine to at least someone as noone needs it; it's too complicated and too not free for indies, at the same time AAA-players all have their own stuff to play with; and at the same time they have released - what - 0 proper games in 3 years and have 3 projects that won't sell even judging by their title. WHAT A SURPRISE THEY'RE HAVING PROBLEMS, I WONDER WHY IS THAT.

I think we need to separate hobbyist game studios(people that file an LLC for fun on the side job) from indie studios.
$120 a year is not that expensive for a product licencing. It's cheaper then Unity subscription for +100k companies, and $120 is way less then unreal % based fees.
Source is the only one cheaper at free for everyone, but it is PC games only.

The rest is right, you need to sell a product at some point

Pyrian:
Hey, maybe the Star Citizen guy will buy them. XD

No, he'll just hire everyone that leaves. At least, that's what happened last time this happened.

This kinda shit is sad to hear. Especially so near the holidays. Hope those affected employees have something to fall back on if Crytek is this far up the shit creek.

What amazes me is that people still go to work despite not getting paid.
The law in Germany is actually pretty solid in this regard.
You basically warn the company and give them a reasonable deadline (10 days apparently). Once they miss it you declare the right to withhold performance and stay home, or do whatever you see fit. I recommend: Get a new job in the meantime!
All of that has to happen written of course.
You even get a dismissal protection while exerting the right to withhold performance. The company can't sack you until they paid you and they have to pay you even if you stay home!
Yes that's right: If they need e.g. 4 months to pay you, you get 4 months of salary for fucking free.

Don't know about Bulgaria but it baffled my mind back then with Germany.

My personal experience with this kind of stuff tells me this: Goodwill gets you nothing.

praetor_alpha:
No, he'll just hire everyone that leaves. At least, that's what happened last time this happened.

Star Citizen Game Designer: Can we afford to hire more people?
Star Citizen General Manager: Just release some concept art as a DLC, that should cover it.

*Sigh* It sucks that gaming is the medium I love the most, yet it has so many shady labor practices going on.

hentropy:
Taking bets on who ends up buying them and/or their catalogue rights. My bet is Ubisoft.

Ubisoft's trying to avoid being taken over by Vivendi, you really think they want to carry out acquisitions of their own right now?

I know a guy who used to work at Crytek Kiev. Because of all that shit he had to leave and move back to Moscow.

hentropy:
Taking bets on who ends up buying them and/or their catalogue rights. My bet is Ubisoft.

EA probably has first dibs. Maybe we'll get lucky and all of the talent will leave and form their own studio before that happens.

My recommendation is to make good games again, but i guess it's too late as you need money for that, Crytek is a shell at this point.

CryEngine only fills a very small niche. It's the kind of engine which is generally replaced with a company's in house extra shiny engine, and all the companies which don't have one will generally use Unreal or Unity.

Crytek has always been a mystery to me. They came practically out of nowhere, with an AAA game engine that looked better than anything else and founded three studios out of the blue. I always wondered where they got the money to do all that.
I guess their very first games Far Cry and Crysis sold really well, and then they expanded like crazy, but unfortunately lacking a good strategy. I'm also not sure why they gave away their most successful franchise (Far Cry). It seems Crysis has not been nearly as successful.
Personally, I like all the Crysis game's I've played. The plots are usually utter shit, but otherwise they are good shooters. But it seems they never managed to pierce into that die hard Call of Duty crowd.

They had a sizeable audience which made FarCry and later Crysis very successful.

Instead of making profit on what they had, they started spending 4x the money to make their next games on every possible platform and appeal the widest possible audience, which in the end meant they made games that appealed to no-one and cost way too much to make, which is why they are here now.

Who would continue to come into work for six months without getting paid? You haven't been paid since July and you're working 9-5? Do you not have any bills?!
That seems like an exaggeration.

Silentpony:
Who would continue to come into work for six months without getting paid?

My guess would be that employees are under some kind of contract so they can't just up and quit (which is what any sensible person would do after not getting paid for 6 months).

However if that's the case, I would have to assume that Cry is in a massive breach of contract on their end for not paying them, so I'd have to wonder why the employees aren't suing Cry into oblivion. Unless there's a clause in the contract stating "You agree to be fine with the fact that you won't always get paid"...

RJ 17:
Unless there's a clause in the contract stating "You agree to be fine with the fact that you won't always get paid"...

I don't think there is a single country within the EU which allows you to sign away your rights

RJ 17:

Silentpony:
Who would continue to come into work for six months without getting paid?

My guess would be that employees are under some kind of contract so they can't just up and quit (which is what any sensible person would do after not getting paid for 6 months).

However if that's the case, I would have to assume that Cry is in a massive breach of contract on their end for not paying them, so I'd have to wonder why the employees aren't suing Cry into oblivion. Unless there's a clause in the contract stating "You agree to be fine with the fact that you won't always get paid"...

Yeah, the often overlooked "Slave Clause" in the contract. "You hereby agree to not be a paid employee of Cyrtek Studios, and forfeit all civil and legal rights to become an unpaid slave belonging to Cyrtek Studios. In the event your manager believes you the slave to be deserving of gratuity such gifts shall not exceed $5 US currency, to be delivered in a 12-month window at the manager's discretion."

munx13:

RJ 17:
Unless there's a clause in the contract stating "You agree to be fine with the fact that you won't always get paid"...

I don't think there is a single country within the EU which allows you to sign away your rights

Silentpony:

RJ 17:

Silentpony:
Who would continue to come into work for six months without getting paid?

My guess would be that employees are under some kind of contract so they can't just up and quit (which is what any sensible person would do after not getting paid for 6 months).

However if that's the case, I would have to assume that Cry is in a massive breach of contract on their end for not paying them, so I'd have to wonder why the employees aren't suing Cry into oblivion. Unless there's a clause in the contract stating "You agree to be fine with the fact that you won't always get paid"...

Yeah, the often overlooked "Slave Clause" in the contract. "You hereby agree to not be a paid employee of Cyrtek Studios, and forfeit all civil and legal rights to become an unpaid slave belonging to Cyrtek Studios. In the event your manager believes you the slave to be deserving of gratuity such gifts shall not exceed $5 US currency, to be delivered in a 12-month window at the manager's discretion."

Hey, I'm just spit-balling explanations as to why every employee hasn't quit and/or filed a lawsuit. :P

To everyone wondering why they haven't been sued, it's because you can't sue something that's going or about to go bankrupt.

Hawki:
Ubisoft's trying to avoid being taken over by Vivendi, you really think they want to carry out acquisitions of their own right now?

Are you kidding me? They're part of the studios which are so well known, people will pay them money for whatever game they churn out, whether it's decent or not.

I bet it's EA trying to buy them, ironically there's nothing for EA to ruin about Crytech anymore since the latter did that itself splendidly.

Crytech has been in a spiral of ruin ever since Crysis 2, when they dumbed it down for consoles and ruined the design from the original you knew that this was a dead company walking. All you have to do is compare Crysis (1/Warhead) with 2 and you'll see how they fucked up.

From there their descent to mediocrity and irrelevancy was inevitable, you could see that the company had no vision or idea how to design games and all of their best personnel must have jumped ship because of it.

I have no sympathy for the higher ups of this company. They make cookie cutter shooters with its only claim to fame was if your computer could run it it was considered a badge of honor, keep wanting single player games to die off and get the rights to timesplitters and refuse to do anything with it.

I think it's bullshit that they've dragged Free Radical (Now Crytek UK) through this as well. They buy them up, toss them scraps to work on and do nothing with the Timesplitters rights despite the interest. If they wanted a cash grab they should've made a digital only Timesplitters collection (with or without HD textures, I wouldn't care) and just worked the code so it would run on the current gen and have online play.

Silentpony:
Who would continue to come into work for six months without getting paid?

My theory would be upper management has been stalling. "Oh you'll get paid next month, I promise" and because these people are "doing what they love", they deal with it just a month longer (and then another month and another), holding onto that sliver of hope until eventually they can't deny it any longer.

Game development is a passionate business, I wouldn't be surprised if the company is taking advantage of that. There's also the uncertainty of having no job at all vs sticking around, hoping beyond hope that things will get better. It can be hard to give up that "safety" even when it's a total illusion and they're just denying the inevitable.

Also companies that are dying will do some shady things, what reason do they have not to? What's the worst that can happen, the company dies?

Eclipse Dragon:

Silentpony:
Who would continue to come into work for six months without getting paid?

My theory would be upper management has been stalling. "Oh you'll get paid next month, I promise" and because these people are "doing what they love", they deal with it just a month longer (and then another month and another), holding onto that sliver of hope until eventually they can't deny it any longer.

Game development is a passionate business, I wouldn't be surprised if the company is taking advantage of that. There's also the uncertainty of having no job at all vs sticking around, hoping beyond hope that things will get better. It can be hard to give up that "safety" even when it's a total illusion and they're just denying the inevitable.

That is likely to be the real explanation. It is sad, but as long as game development are mostly young, passionate and gullible, they will be taken advantage of by the higher ups. At least until they get pissed of and replaced by a bunch of new young and gullible grad students... and that is how you end up delivering nothing for the last 9 years.

They could be bought by a different company, but why would they if their track record is almost nonexistent and their management is on fire.

RaikuFA:
I have no sympathy for the higher ups of this company. They make cookie cutter shooters with its only claim to fame was if your computer could run it it was considered a badge of honor, keep wanting single player games to die off and get the rights to timesplitters and refuse to do anything with it.

Agreed! Especially the Timesplitters part, I hope a decent company buys the IP off of them at least when they finally kick the bucket and actually put it to some use, its been too long since we got a new Timesplitters game and it would be perfect nowadays especially with how we've gotten a lot of "return to form" FPS games like Doom, Wolfenstein and Shadow Warrior and so.

 

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