Crytek has responded and plainly cried "bullsh*t" that their relocation to a new Frankfurt office would cause about 70 redundancies. It's got "more desks" not less.
“The new Frankfurt office is larger and has more desks than the old Frankfurt office,” said Crytek managing director Avni Yerli. The scathing blog post is more than likely from a former employee of the developer and is still somewhat bitter.
“Our new office is laid out for growth and not for reduction.” Yerli also denied claims that the studio has suffered "several successful" lawsuits from ex-staff that were found to be "unlawfully fired" - it's all a pack of lies, he says.
Yerli admits they've faced two legal disputes with former developers over their redundancies but the courts agreed with Crytek's position both times. They hadn't ditched staff unlawfully and nor had they paid less than satisfactory severance.
"I don’t want to make glory out of this. We are not proud of ‘winning’,” he said.
“This is something sad that happened between us and people we used to work with. We haven’t been found to have unlawfully fired these people, but we don’t want to go to court with our co-workers either. Respecting our staff is crucial at Crytek.”
Why did these former staff members try to sue Crytek?
"...if you release someone, sometimes they get bad legal advice and basically think they can make unreasonable requests like huge severance packages."
“What we offered them they clearly didn’t like but it was more than legally required. So they go to court and ask for much more, but in the end they end up getting less or what we offered in the first place," he said, and go through "the pain" of legal proceedings.
Those who've left Crytek have done so of their own accord and not through "resignation or unlawful firing" as the blog would suggest, said Yerli.
"The current number of employees in the new Frankfurt office is equal to the peak number of employees we had during the production of Crysis 2. That’s the thing; in the normal way that projects work, people will leave during a long production or during the end of it."
"People have families, have job offers, are offered interesting projects, or just want to move to a different country,” explained the Crytek boss. "So of course people have left Crytek, but people have joined as well, and most people have left on their own actions."
“I mean, this is the nature of the business, you have 300 people in Frankfurt, in multiple teams across multiple offices. I wish some of the people who left would have stayed, but that’s life. There’s nothing we can do if, say, one of our staff falls in love with someone who lives in a different country. We don’t want people to feel bad for not staying.”
The blogger remains anonymous though their IP is linked to Frankfurt. So far they haven't responded when their claims have been challenged.
“I think the blog is unfair to the people who are working here at Crytek,” added Yerli.
"It harms the great work they’ve done. It is very distressing for us to think that an individual thinks we have been treating them unfairly. It’s very disappointing.”
Yes, like many studios, Crytek has had 'crunch phases' during development. However the allegation of Crysis 2 enduring 6 months of crunch time was "ridiculous".
“Like any game Crysis 2 had phases of crunch,” he said, “but we had not enforced weekend work – during crunch people were given the choice to work one weekend day, but only if they chose to.” This was for "three months, maximum" with "huge compensation" offered.
The games industry is in turmoil right now over the 'crunch time' issue with L.A. Noire's Team Bondi being the most recent example of employees crying out unfair work conditions. A moot point however as Team Bondirecently, August 30th.
Does the industry need a serious shake-up to rein in crunch times?
Crytek rebukes 'unlawful' layoff claims, "had phases of crunch"
05 September 2011 | By Simon Priest