Crytek CEO claims he was "surprised" by employees unhappy about payroll delays
Over the past few months, Crytek has looked very much like a company in trouble. Reports of missed paydays and high rates of employee turnover were unsubstantiated but persistent, and in July a couple of high-ranked employees left the company for greener pastures. It all seemed to come to a head last week when Deep Silver acquired Homefront and Crytek UK was closed down. But Crytek CEO Cevat Yerli recently insisted that the company didn't need to downsize, and claimed he was surprised that some employees were unhappy about not being paid on time.
The interview with Yerli obviously only offers his perspective on the Crytek situation but even so, it's surprising at times how he brushes off concerns that Crytek was in trouble. Employees weren't being paid on time because of a "diminished capital resource" caused by the shift to free-to-play, he said, not because of any underlying structural problems with the company; he also claimed shock that "some people were very impatient and got angry at the smallest delay" in their paychecks.
"I was surprised and upset a little bit that the intention of us keeping together everybody upset a few of them. But I understand that situation," he said. "Some people live in very tight financial planning. That's their own privacy. They can do whatever they want. Those guys, when they get under pressure it can become emotional. We tried to individually help out. Like if somebody gets in trouble they can talk to us directly so they don't get under pressure. We tried whatever we could do. But you can't make it right for everybody."
Yerli also claimed that Crytek was never in danger of bankruptcy, and that it didn't need to downsize or close the UK studio because it had already secured a financing deal that would have actually allowed it to expand rather than contract.
"It is an optimization stage that we said we should do strategically right now in order to focus short term our mindset on the launch of Warface, Arena of Fate and Hunt," he said. "It wasn't a pure commercial deal. It was a strategic deal for focus. We didn't need to sell Homefront or the UK office."
Yerli comes across as perhaps a tad tone-deaf in the interview—can he really be surprised that people were unhappy about being paid late?—but it's well worth reading if you have any interest in the recent troubles at Crytek. Check it out in full at Eurogamer.