It’s been a troubling few months for Crytek Studios. The developer has been plagued with reports of financial problems, with rumors circling that Crytek was on the verge of bankruptcy and that major projects such as Ryse 2 had been cancelled. Although the stories were denied by Crytek in June, it’s been a cause for concern for fans of the developer.
Those looking forward to the upcoming Homefront: The Revolution, which debuted at E3 this year, were met with even more bad news at the start of July. Insider sources revealed that employees at Crytek’s UK studio were refusing to turn up to work, angry over the late payment of wages. Now, it turns out that even senior employees are unhappy with their treatment.
According to Kotaku's sources, Homefront: The Revolution game director Hasit Zala has resigned from the company. Zala, who was also the franchise director of the free-to-play shooter Warface, has had his departure confirmed by three people “familiar” with the situation at Crytek UK's Nottingham offices. He is also, apparently, not the only senior member of staff to leave the studio.
Ben Harris, development manager at Crytek UK, has also left the company, according to the same report from Kotaku, and a large number of other employees have either left the studio or are actively looking for other projects. It sounds like a potential crisis behind the scenes, particularly since studio head Karl Hilton is also set to leave — albeit for another role within Crytek.
With even senior positions being abandoned, it leaves the future of Homefront: The Revolution — and the future of Crytek UK in its entirety — up in the air. “It creates a weird scenario as there are now no upper management,” one of the Crytek UK sources said. They added that “everything is just continuing on a downwards spiral.” Another course confirmed that “people haven’t been paid for a long time.”
Crytek Studios has remained tight-lipped over the reports, just as the developer did with other allegations of employee unrest. Crytek has not issued a statement on the matter since denying allegations that they were on the verge on bankruptcy in June, and Homefront: The Revolution publisher Deep Silver has remained equally silent.
Crytek certainly needs something to turn around its fortunes, particularly given the lukewarm critical reception of recent titles such as Ryse and Warface. However, with the scheduled release of Homefront: The Revolution not until 2015, and questions raised over whether that target can even be reached given the staff disputes, it could still be mean times ahead for the creator of the CryEngine.
Homefront: The Revolution is due out in 2015 on PC, Xbox One, PS4, Mac and Linux.