Crytek Closes Five Studios After Rough Year

After a year of financial hardship, Crytek is closing its studios in Budapest, Bulgaria, South Korea, China, and Turkey, the developer said today. Crytek says they plan to "refocus on its core strengths of developing innovative games and game-development technology."

Art from Crysis 3

This news comes after months of late and missing employee paychecks at the multinational developer, which will now retain only two studios, in Frankfurt, Germany and Kiev, Ukraine. In a press release, Crytek said that they have "put plans into action to secure jobs and to ensure a smooth transition and stable future" for those who will lose their jobs as part of the studio closures.

Crytek, best known for games like Crysis and Ryse (and, more recently, VR games like Robinson The Journey), has been late to pay staff since May, sending paychecks weeks or sometimes months late throughout 2016.

Last week, they finally paid staff for October, according to people who work there. But Crytek staff have been leaving in droves, sick of late payments and poor communication — much like what happened in 2014.

Rumour at Crytek is that the company also sold its free-to-play games, Warface and its sequel, to the Russian publisher Mail.ru.

"Undergoing such transitions is far from easy, and we'd like to sincerely thank each and every staff member — past and present — for their hard work and commitment to Crytek," said Crytek managing director Avni Yerli in a press release. "These changes are part of the essential steps we are taking to ensure Crytek is a healthy and sustainable business moving forward that can continue to attract and nurture our industry's top talent. The reasons for this have been communicated internally along the way. Our focus now lies entirely on the core strengths that have always defined Crytek — world-class developers, state-of-the-art technology and innovative game development, and we believe that going through this challenging process will make us a more agile, viable, and attractive studio, primed for future success."


Comments

    That's a really odd set of countries to run game development studios in. Aside from Ukraine, Germany and to a lesser extent South Korea, none of those countries have any notable local industry or pedigree of relevant skill. Without those, they'd have a hard time both attracting talented workers and ensuring they have a career and not just a single job.

    I wonder if they were trying to kickstart the gamedev industry in those countries instead? In which case they probably should have let those studios go a long time ago when they first started having financial problems, because they were always going to be a struggle to keep above water.

      The company founders are Turkish, some of the studios were acquisitions, and there were quite probably government incentives and lower operating costs in other countries.

      You'd probably be surprised about the number of developers and publishers that have offices in those countries.

      China and Singapore both have strong developer presences, as do many EU countries now, and India and similar countries are also growing as hotspots - I often get recruiters approaching for developers to work in various countries.

      The basic reason is there are a lot of developers there now who are trained to mostly the same level as our uni graduates etc, but they are available much much cheaper than "western" developers due to a variety of factors. It's treated like "inhouse outsourcing".

        Yep, they're certainly not the only ones. Ubisoft for example, have studios in the Philippines, UAE, Bulgaria and Serbia among their many current locations. They previously had studios in Morocco and Brazil as well.

          Ubisoft's Serbia studio only opened a few weeks ago, currently only has around 15 staff, and was formed with the express intention of kickstarting the game development industry in Serbia which is so far largely nonexistent. Most of Ubisoft's studios in eastern Europe were formed with that same intention (the Bulgarian studio was formed in 2006 for the same reason and Ubisoft moved staff from other offices to bring in skills because they were otherwise absent). The Abu Dhabi studio exclusively makes mobile games.

          I have no issue with companies wanting to kickstart game development industries in countries that don't already have one, I think it's a great way to increase skills and diversity of games available. My criticism is that when your company is in financial trouble, as Crytek has been for a while, these bootstrap studios should be the first to go because they're the hardest to sustain.

          Last edited 21/12/16 1:00 pm

          Spicy Horse (I think that's what they're called), they do the work for American McGee (the Alice: Madness Returns guy), they're located in China.

        I'm not surprised about the numbers, it's something I've had to deal with working on third party middleware for the game industry selling to worldwide clients. The countries I didn't note in my original post have very weak game development industries with the exception of China, however in terms of skills distribution the Chinese industry is almost completely dominated by mobile gaming. You could make an argument for China that I'd be willing to concede, but the other countries on the list have even smaller game industries than Australia does, and our industry here is barely large enough to self-sustain.

        Last edited 21/12/16 12:41 pm

      Games Development isn't a Western Skill. It's something that people all over the world train themselves in. Rather, you have a bunch of countries without many games studios, but a market of people who have been teaching themselves with small projects here or there, ripe to hire cheaply and train up without having to worry about them leaving for a competitor in a years time

        Yes, which is what I said in my first post. But a job isn't an industry, and you need multiple studios to ensure skills transferability. which is necessary for a sustainable industry. That's not the case yet in the countries mentioned, which makes running those studios harder because they're effectively in isolation.

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