Crytek, it appears, is falling apart. Less than a week out from the studio announcing that things were now fine and dandy and extra funding had been acquired to pay their staff and continue development there have been layoffs en masse from the Crytek Austin offices and the studio has additionally sold off the Homefront IP, which they had previously acquired from the now-defunct THQ back in 2012. What a mess this has been…
Homefront: The Revolution
Firstly, the Homefront IP has been sold off to Deep Silver, who are currently also publishing the Metro series (developed by 4A Games) and who additionally bought out Volition Games, the guys who did the Red Faction and Saints Row games. Deep Silver is one of the only developers who has made any money on their purchase thus far, as Metro: Last Light pulled in some decent sales numbers – decent enough to give them the funds to make ports for the game to the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 and to re-work the 4A Engine for PC, which resulted in Metro 2033 and Metro: Last Light Redux.
The Crytek UK studio based in Nottingham, formerly known as Free Radical Design, was working on Homefront: The Revolution for a 2015 launch and all staff there will now be re-organised under a new studio belonging to Deep Silver, called Dambuster Studios. Once the contracts for the developers are up following the completion of Homefront and its DLC, it’s possible that they will continue to do work for Deep Silver to continue the series.
“As we look to cement Crytek’s future, this strategic deal with Koch Media (Deep Silver owners) would allow us to continue with our ambitious goals to become an online publisher,” Crytek CEO Cevat Yerli said in a statement given to Gamespot. “With Warface, Arena of Fate, and HUNT, we believe we have the perfect portfolio and teams to make that happen.”
“We would like to thank all our staff–past and present–in both Nottingham and Austin for their contributions to the company, and we wish all the very best to anyone who may no longer be under the Crytek banner moving forward.”
Now that they’re actually being paid on time, former lead director for Homefront: The Revolution, Hasit Zala, will be returning to the studio to finish the project.
Crytek Austin no more
Things are not looking so good for Crytek Austin, however. The staff in that studio have all been laid off permanently and development on HUNT: Horrors of the Gilded Age has been transferred to Crytek Frankfurt, which was the original studio for Crysis and Ryse: Son of Rome. A Kotaku report that surfaced earlier yesterday made mention of the fact that several of the lead staff on Crytek Austin’s payroll had left because they weren’t being paid (and hadn’t been paid for the last three months). Crytek Austin was formerly Vigil Games, another ex-THQ studio.
In addition, the staff stopped coming in to work by 20 July and one anonymous employee told Kotaku that most of the people that left the Austin studio had already found employment elsewhere.
A report by Gamespot further mentions that there’s a real possibility that Crytek Shanghai (China) and Crytek Seoul (South Korea) were under review for a reshuffling into a single group, while the rest of the studios should be continuing as-is. This brings the total number of Crytek employees down to about 670 people stretched across eight studios around the world.