Crytek responds to employee abuse accusations

It’s become a bit of a “thing” in recent years, to post an anonymous blog pointing the finger at games developers, accusing the company of terrible things and poor treatment of employees. It’s happened to EA, more recently to Rockstar and now the latest head on the block belongs to Crytek.

But the German company isn’t taking it lying down, with Crytek co-founder Avni Yerli going so far as to refute the claims as being “absolute bullshit”.


At the heart of the allegations

The Tumblr blog itself is dedicated to “bringing light to the hiring and firing policy of Crytek staff at the Frankfurt head office following the project Crysis 2.”

It goes on to explain that many staff feel “uncertain of their futures” within the company, as they are treated as “disposable pieces of meat” and made to work in a “polluted work atmosphere”. This is despite Crytek losing several legal battles with former employees over claims of unlawful dismissals. A number of employees, ranging from lowly web developers all the way up to the Chief Finance Officer, Global Talent Manager, Lead Games Designer and the Producer of Crysis 2 have allegedly resigned or been unlawfully fired from the studio.

Speaking with Develop, Avni Yerli seemed disappointed by the allegations:

One thing that will always be the same is that Crytek respects and values its employees very highly, and equally – that’s very important. Whether it’s an intern, whether it’s a director, it doesn’t change; everyone is important.

He goes on to explain that – at the end of any project, and as the needs of the company evolve – people have left Crytek, but that many of them have been replaced, or new positions created. The net effect – months after Crysis 2 hit shelves, the employee numbers are still the same as they were at the peak of development.

Some of these people have been asked to leave, but Yerli denies any claims of illegal terminations:

We offer a reasonable severance package that [is] usually beyond the legal requirements, or at least meets the requirements. For us it’s important that people who leave the company go on good spirits.

Interestingly, Yerli fervently denies the blog’s statements that Crytek had lost “several” unfair dismissal court cases. He explains that two former employees – positions that were listed on the blog – had taken the company to court, but that Crytek had won in both cases.

Of the list of sixteen employees, over an 18-month period, nine resigned, one was a contractor, and four were “released”, to use Yerli’s phrasing. Two took the company to court.

(Yerli explains that there was never a “Chief Financial Officer” at Crytek – but that one “guy in finance” had resigned. The company has since employed a “high-profile” CFO.)

Allegations of six-month crunch periods were squashed, Yerli claiming the crunch time for Crysis 2 was “three months, maximum”. Employees were apparently offered “huge compensation” for volunteering to work one day each weekend during that timeframe.

Crysis 2

Crysis 2 - Causing controversy

It comes down to determining who you are more inclined to believe. A blogger, hiding under the cover of anonymity, or a company co-founder who’s gone on the record stating apparent facts – some of which are not-so flattering for Crytek. Until we know who has written the claims, we won’t know the motive behind it, but Yerli seems to have hit the nail on the head:

That’s the thing, this blog is very misleading. I think it was written to purposefully harm us, actually.

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