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According to Kotaku’s sources,  since yesterday the majority of Crytek UK’s employees are no longer going to work. This isn’t yet another industry lay-off session; they’ve stopped going to work because, much like their friends in the China-based Crytek offices, they haven’t been paid. Earlier in the week, it is believed that a group of Crytek UK employees handed the company an official grievance letter before leaving their posts and the building.

While the exact figure is unknown, some sources have indicated that up to 100 people have left Crytek UK since the company’s trouble began. Whether this includes the number of Crytek UK employees who were laid off last month is unknown.

Homefront: The Revolution, which was revealed at E3 last month, is currently in development at Crytek UK. That development has likely ceased or has at least hit a major slowdown since the staff departures. It has been suggested that the remaining Crytek UK staff are hopeful that the game’s publisher, Deep Silver, will purchase Crytek UK so that development on Homefront: The Revolution can continue. We also hope that happens, because what we saw of the game at E3 was looking really good.

Source: Kotaku

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If you thought the news that Crytek was facing financial hurdles weren’t big enough worry for the company, their Shanghai, China office is practically in a state of chaos. Eurogamer have learned from some of the developers working for the China-based offices that not only are salaries being paid in odd ways, there are also imminent legal battles that the company will soon have to deal with as a result of a breach of contract with their Shanghai staff.

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Although they are the original creators of the Far Cry and Crysis series and have had some interesting games and game announcements come out in the past year or so, Crytek seems to be struggling on a few hurdles that they haven’t managed to cross over. The 800-man company stretched across more than five countries is currently in a bit of a crisis themselves, with layoffs at their UK-based studios happening this week and a number of people and publications coming forward to discuss how the company is not doing very well right now. Can they avoid another THQ saga?

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When THQ became bankrupt and had all of its assets sold off to bidders in an auction, one of the franchises on offer was Homefront, a first-person shooter that explored the possibility of a universe in which North Korean troops invaded the United States. Although I’ve never played Homefront before, I’m definitely keen on seeing where the series goes under the new owners of the IP, Crytek. Although it wasn’t known if they were going to be doing any work on a new game for the series, Crytek has now revealed that a sequel was in the works. The game is called Homefront: The Revolution and it’s heading for a 2015 launch.

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Aspirant designers of first-person shooters set in lush jungle environments with a Lord of the Flies-inspired narrative need cry no more as to where they will acquire an engine capable of rendering their vision in its true majesty. Crytek has officially launched its CryEngine on Steam with their previously announced subscription-based model.

The CryEngine is being offered via monthly subscription with varying levels of discount if you sign up for longer periods. The Steam version gives you access to the full set of CryEngine tools and documentation, and the offer comes in at roughly half of what the Unreal Engine costs and with zero royalty fee requirements. Crytek have launched a real salvo in the game development space by getting their development platform onto Steam, and it’ll be interesting to see whether Unity or Epic Games follow suit.

You can access the Steam store page (and its several screenshots of grass and foliage) here, or give Crytek’s blog post a read for more details.

Source: Crytek

The current generation of consoles from Sony and Microsoft both managed to tally up in a few hardware specifications towards the end of their design, one of them being the insanely huge 8GB of RAM installed on both machines. But despite the vast difference between today’s machines and the Xbox 360 and PS3 which only had 512MB to work with, Crytek’s US Engine Business Development Manager Sean Tracy says that it isn’t really that big and that the memory allocations both consoles have for games (around 5-6GB) isn’t difficult to fill up.

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Things are getting interesting on the Linux front. Yesterday Valve pushed a DirectX to OpenGL translator to help game developers port over their titles quicker to be compatible with Linux and now Crytek has also announced that it is integrating Linux support straight into CryEngine 3. This means that any game made with CryEngine 3 and its derivatives in the future will automatically also sport some Linux compatibility out of the box and it may possibly help to port titles currently running on a variation of CryEngine to be ported over as well. CryEngine 3 joins the ranks of Valve’s Source engine, the Unreal engine, the Unity Engine, every id Tech engine to date and Unigine among dozens more that support the open-source Linux platform.

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Yesterday it was revealed that Crytek had hired 36 staff members from the now shuttered Vigil Games. Those staff members now make up a US based Crytek team in Austin, Texas. At the time it was uncertain what this meant for Vigil’s flagship IP Darksiders. Speculation was that the IP might find a new home at Crytek as well, but in a recent interview with website Gamasutra, Crytek CEO Cevat Yerli has confirmed that his company has no intention to purchase the IP. It looks like that series’ fate remains in limbo for now.

Source: Gamasutra

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Last week, when the decomposing corpse of THQ was hacked up into bite-sized pieces and thrown into the gaping maws of rival publishers, two extraordinary things happened. The first is that Crytek paid actual money in order to become the new owners of Homefront. Granted it was the cheapest sale during the auction but still, this is Homefront we’re talking about here.

The second extraordinary thing is that nobody wanted to buy Vigil Games, which is the studio behind the Darksiders franchise. As a result of this, a few days ago the staff of Vigil packed up their desks and embraced unemployment. Vigil Games is officially dead, and as for the Darksiders IP, it looks like that has also succumbed to the influences of the protagonist from Darksiders II (i.e. Death – come on people, keep up.)

It seems that Homefront wasn’t enough to satiate Crytek’s hunger for THQ morsels, and as a result, the company has hired Vigial Games’ co-founder David Adams and another 35 Vigil staff members. The new Crytek employees will be heading up a new Crytek studio based in Austin, Texas.

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Stop thinking about the end of the world or today’s competition for a moment. I’d like to transport you back to March 2008, when everyone was either running XP or Vista, Windows 7 was still in very pre-beta phase and the word “Ultrabook” wasn’t even invented yet. That was the month that Crysis was released and ever since, Crytek’s titles have been looked to as a standard that will always push hardware to its very limit. Crysis was insanely taxing on then-modern systems and only last year did we get to the stage where playing it on Ultra (comfortably) was possible with most mid-range cards. Far Cry was hard on most systems too, but it didn’t have that same kind of oomph-sucking ability Crysis did, even though it used the same engine. Over the years we’ve had Far Cry 2 (Dunia engine, based on the Crytek engine), Crysis Warhead (Cryengine 2.0) and Crysis 2 (Cryengine 3.0) pushing the boundaries of what’s capable on a mix of different hardware and platforms. This year, Ubisoft returns to the throne with Far Cry 3 – once again returning to an island paradise and, once again, bringing even systems costing R15,000 or more down to earth to eat humble pie. Its running the new Dunia 2.0 engine and it looks spectacular.

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