Please be aware that this is both an opinion piece based on multiple ex and current employee’s facts and discussions. None of the information here is created to harm it’s employees or the products created by Crytek. If anything can be taken from this, we hope that development culture within the Games Industry can change for both the safety of the developers within and those currently seeking employment into it. There are definitely worst jobs out there, but this should not discourage us from pushing the level of a working environment forward into a more productive and friendly atmosphere.
The aim of the blog was not to endanger the careers and prospects of the current or former staff, but to bring to light the environment in which Crytek CEO level staff are treating it’s employees. We fully respect the good, honest and hard work that everyone has been putting in to create the best games possible with the CryEngine and to push the boundaries of aesthetics and design. The aim of the blog is to stop this from happening to future and current employees, and to hopefully change the way that Crytek treats its staff. The CEO’s preach an ethic that just isn’t being filtered down to the bottom rung effectively enough to be taken seriously, and is widely regarded as somewhat of a joke.
We will therefor, be responding to the indivdual responses given by Mr. Avni Yerli from the Develop Online post, found here: http://www.develop-online.net/features/1411/In-Cryteks-defence
As previously mentioned, we do not aim to mislead or give erroneous opinions as this would ultimately decrease the strength on which the blog was first created, and does nothing but bring into doubt the levels of truth featured within.
If German labour codes were being met and strictly adhered to, there would be no need for the successful court cases against Crytek GmbH in which a company lawyer was present. Crytek, if you can provide proof that NO ONE has ever successfully claimed compensation due to an illegal firing then please do so. You cannot. Regarding: “Reasonable severance packages” - One month’s additional pay is hardly sufficient when landlords require at least three months notice when vacating an apartment.
Perhaps the blog was not clear regarding the numerous positions that have been listed and the actual data concerning the status of their decision to either leave the company or having the choice taken out of their hands. This was ideally done to protect former employees and their future careers, however, as the blog post states, “This polluted work atmosphere has resulted in the resignation and / or unlawfully firing of”. Attention should be focused on the people who chose to leave Crytek and cross referenced with both their position and date of departure.
There is a distinct difference between huge severance packages and what is justifiably and morally right. The court cases that were ‘won’, ended with the claimant receiving an amount reached between both the Crytek law representative (acting on behalf of Crytek), the former employee and a court assigned judge. If the law was being upheld by the company then there would be no chance that any further monetary expenses would be given, let alone requested from the courts in order to end the legal claim.
If Crytek was a company who treated their staff well, followed the employment law to the letter and adhered to the ethics that they continue to preach about, no one would have anything bad to say about it at all. The fact that this is now garnering press attention brings to light not only the severity of the Games Industry as a whole, but also the way studios are managed on a day to day basis. We cannot stand idly by whilst this sort of behaviour continues to happen. There must be change on a studio wide level, this is not happening to just one company, and Crytek should not be singled out as an employer who is only affected by this. If the solution is to Unionise, then so be it. For the security of employees and their families and dependants around the world, this can only bring a change that would benefit everyone.
The blog post itself was written in a way to mask the identity of those who wrote it as a matter of preserving integrity. It was never meant to provide in-factual information or to single out any one individual responsible for the decisions that led to it being created.
Crytek employees were told that the newer offices had seventy less seats, this was the basis of the rumour mill that continued internally throughout all teams and the respective members of those teams. The suspected ‘culling’ apparent to everyone around the office was thought to be because of the ‘lack of seats’. However, it was not made clear or official by any senior member of staff that we know of.
In regards to uncertainty, we did not feel as if moving offices was a negative point of conversation. The old offices were situated an unnecessarily long distance away from the centre of Frankfurt and the new offices were always going to be closer, this would reduce at least 90% of the work force’s daily travel time down.
Enforcing weekend work and expecting them to come in are two different things. As an employee, you know that if you aren’t showing the drive and ambition to become a team player, your direct line manager may take a negative stance on your progression in the company. As the crunch time extends further and further, you are receiving less free time to spend with family, to strengthen relationships or to hold one together. As with the EA spouse blog, intention was to change the industry (or at least EA) in order to create a much more family friendly environment with a level of life balance found in other industries. No one in the industry expects to never work weekends or extended hours without a level of financial compensation, but that gives no employer the right to take advantage of people because it is their dream industry. We all entered into it knowing that we wanted to make a career in Games, to be involved in the design, envisioning and creative aspects of it - this is our passion as well as our hobby and we do this all for love of our jobs and the people surrounding us. We geek out every day, we just want to be rewarded for making you millions of dollars in profit.
Three months crunch is a joke, go back and read the emails from when major issues with the Xbox 360 were still being ironed out.
Regarding the polluted atmosphere and the lay-offs, many of these BEGAN in 2010, but with a project due to launch on November 26th of the same year, then being pushed back after an EA team visit and deciding that the product was in no fit state for release, pressure from above was high. Professional relationships were strained, requests denied and resignation letters were handed in.
Finally, we would like to repeat once more, that this blog post only aims to bring to light the working conditions present over the last year or so of Crysis 2’s development cycle and is in no way, no matter how much Mr. Yerli would like to think it is, an attempt to undermine, deter or infect the great work of staff, both current and previous. We make and made great games, we just want to see the atmosphere and the blatant disregard for employee morale improve.