Crytek co-founder Avni Yerli says accusations that the studio mistreats its employees are “absolute bullsh*t.”
An anonymous Tumblr blog dedicated to “the hiring and firing policy of Crytek staff at the Frankfurt head office following the project Crysis 2” levels some rather unpleasant accusations at the company. It claims that Crytek treats employees like “disposable pieces of meat,” despite being forced to pay settlements to former employees after losing legal battles over unlawful dismissals. A “polluted work atmosphere” has permeated the company, according to the blog, leading to the resignation or termination of employees ranging from web developers to the chief finance officer.
But it’s “absolute bullshit,” as Yerli put it to Develop. “One thing that will always be the same is that Crytek respects and values its employees very highly, and equally – that’s very important,” he said. “Whether it’s an intern, whether it’s a director, it doesn’t change; everyone is important.”
He acknowledged that some employees have been fired as the needs of the company have evolved but insisted that Crytek has always complied with, and typically exceeded, German labor laws. “We are always supportive to those staff in ways that are far beyond what is legally required,” he continued. “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.”
He also denied several statements of fact made in the blog, including the downsizing of the Frankfurt offices, the lost court cases and the resignation/termination of the CFO – “We don’t have one. We had a guy in finance, and he resigned.” – and said that allegations of six-month crunch periods were “ridiculous.” He claimed that the Crysis 2 crunch was “three months, maximum” and that employees were offered “huge compensation” for volunteering to work one day each weekend over that stretch.
As usual, the whole thing ultimately boils down to a tale of “he said, she said,” although I’m inclined to give a little more weight to the on-the-record word of a known studio executive than to the nameless grumblings of someone who may or may not be a former employee with an axe to grind. It’ll be a different matter if more accusations surface, especially if they can be shown to have some substance to them, but for now the great likelihood is that it is exactly what it appears to be: anonymous anger on the internet, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.