Game developer layoffs seem to be the “in” thing this year with Activision and Sony both leading the race by shutting down several studios, most notably on Activision’s side where the studios working on the Guitar Hero Games saw massive layoffs and Geometry Wars developer Bizarre Creations was officially shut down. Even THQ announced that they were going to be joining in on the fun by laying off 30 employees from Volition and Kaos Studios. So maybe it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Crytek is about to do the same now that Crysis 2 has been released.
But it isn’t the Crysis 2 development studio of Crytek Frankfurt that is going to be seeing the cuts. According to Gamasutra, Crytek Budapest will be the subject of this trimming as its focus shifts from working on a Kinect FPS title known only as Codename: Kingdoms to developing games for tablet platforms. Crytek Budapest was founded in 2007 and is one of many development studios Crytek has around the world.
The layoffs are rumored to see the Budapest studio of about 80 workers reduced to about 30 or 35 in next couple weeks. While not confirming the layoffs, the new direction for Crytek Budapest was confirmed by Avni Yerli, Managing Director for Crytek Frankfurt.
“We can confirm that our Budapest studio is getting a new direction and focus.”
While not much to go on, it does seem to confirm the rumors about Crytek Budapests’ current situation. The reduction in staff is reportedly as a result of Codename: Kingdoms publisher, Microsoft Game Studios, made a sudden decision to move the development to Crytek’s Frankfurt studio. Apparently nine workers have already been laid off in the transition of Codename: Kingdoms to the Frankfurt studio, while others are being kept on in order to help prepare for the game’s showing at the Microsoft’s E3 conference.
Codename: Kingdoms must be generating a lot of momentum for it to be transfered to the studio that just completed Crysis 2. It may be that this is going to be a title to watch out for at this year’s E3 as Crytek no doubt continues its push for a bigger piece of the FPS pie.
What do you think of the direction shift for Crytek Budapset? With 2 years of experience developing Codename: Kingdoms, should they have been left in charge of the Kinect project?