Crytek defends against allegations of 'polluted work atmosphere'

By Alice O'Connor, Sep 06, 2011 9:00am PDT

An anonymous blog materialized on the Internet last week, alleging that Crysis 2 developer Crytek had "unlawfully" fired a number of employees and treated staff as "disposable pieces of meat to be discarded at will." While it's unknown who's making these claims, Crytek co-founder Avni Yerli has piped up to dispute them.

The anonymous blog talked of a "polluted work atmosphere" at Crytek's head office in Frankfurt, where a "bullying mentality" is rife at CEO-level and people do not feel secure in their jobs. It claimed that several senior staff at the Frankfurt head office deemed replaceable were offered "meager" redundancy packages, then those who declined to take them were soon "unlawfully" fired. Others, it said, "were given a bullshit reason for dismissal and shown the door."

Supposedly, several employees won legal battles against Crytek over being fired.

"One thing that will always be the same is that Crytek respects and values its employees very highly, and equally – that's very important," Yerli told Develop in response. "Whether it's an intern, whether it's a director, it doesn't change; everyone is important."

Yerli does confirm the blog's list of sixteen roles that have been emptied by people either leaving or being fired over the past year or so, but insists this is not an unusual amount for a studio of 300-odd people. According to Yerli, nine resigned, one was a contractor, only four were "released," and two ended in court cases--which Crytek, not the former employees, won.

"That's the thing, this blog is very misleading," Yerli said, saying that many of the claims were flat-out incorrect. "I think it was written to purposefully harm us, actually."

Yerli also disputes the claim that Crysis 2 was in crunch for six months, saying that it was only three months, and that Crytek only asked employees to voluntarily work one week day. Of course, there is an industry-wide expectation that people who opt out of voluntary crunch will find their careers retarded, so it wouldn't necessarily be such a straightforward decision for employees.

The blog levels a number of other charges against Crytek, all of which Yerli denies, such as that the studio was trying to replace senior members with cheaper junior members.

It seems the matter's not yet settled, though. Since then, another blog has sprung up with more to say, purportedly a continuation of the original anonymous blog at a new address. It claims to be "based on multiple ex- and current employee's facts and discussions."

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