It’s been clear for some time now that all is not well at Crytek UK. Despite the studio denying rumors of financial troubles last month, stories of staff unrest have continued to emerge, with members of the Crytek UK development reportedly refusing to work due to anger over unpaid wages, and Homefront: The Revolution‘s game director Hasit Zala allegedly resigning from the company shortly afterwards, along with development manager Ben Harris.
A sequel to 2011’s Homefront, Homefront: The Revolution was one of the biggest upcoming titles Crytek UK was developing. The story is set in an alternate version of the USA that has been invaded and occupied by North Korean forces. Mixing guerilla warfare tactics with open-world gameplay, Homefront: The Revolution certainly looks like it has some potential to be a great game.
That potential will no longer be fulfilled by Crytek UK, however, as Koch Media has announced that it has acquired the Homefront brand along with all its assets, and will continue development of Homefront: The Revolution at the newly-founded Deep Silver Dambuster Studios. The new studio is located in Nottingham, the same city as Crytek UK’s offices, and team members from Crytek will transfer to Deep Silver and continue their work on the game. It’s also possible that staff who have already left Crytek will be brought back onboard by Deep Silver.
The press release from Koch Media does not comment at all on the recent problems at Crytek UK, and Crytek itself has released a statement about the acquisition that uses careful phrasing like “strategic deal” and “internal restructuring.” It looks like Crytek’s Nottingham offices are being shut down and the studio in Austin, Texas, that had been developing HUNT: Horrors of the Gilded Age will be reduced to just a few staff members who will remain as part of the CRYENGINE support team.
Since development on HUNT: Horrors of the Gilded Age is now being moved to Frankfurt this means pretty extensive layoffs, though Kotaku reports that Crytek USA’s senior staff had already quit a week ago due to the company’s failure to pay them. Crytek’s statement adds that the staff who are being laid off will be invited to apply for new positions at the Frankfurt studio, but given a choice between finding new work at other studios in the USA and moving all the way to Europe to work for Crytek again, it wouldn’t be too surprising if most people choose the first option.
Right now it’s difficult to see how Crytek will bounce back from this, even if the deal with Koch Media does provide a much-needed cash injection. It’s also unfortunate to hear that so many former employees are now left seeking work, though Crytek’s statement does wish them “all the very best.” So that’s nice.
Homefront: The Revolution is due out in 2015 on PC, Xbox One, PS4, Mac and Linux.