Quality-of-life issues are a long-standing sore point for those working in the game industry. In years past, Electronic Arts, Rockstar San Diego, and Team Bondi have all had their reputations hurt by anonymous whistleblowers going public with allegations of unreasonable demands and working conditions. Crytek was added to the list last week, as a Tumblr blog titled "hire and fire crytek" accused the developer of treating its employees "as disposable pieces of meat to be discarded at will."
The blog described a deteriorating atmosphere in the Frankfurt studio responsible for Crysis 2, saying management had been unlawfully firing employees and forcing out senior employees who they thought could be capably replaced by cheaper, less experienced talent. The blog also said former employees have successfully sued the company "and won settlements."
Crytek cofounder Avni Yerli addressed the claims in an interview with Develop yesterday, calling them "completely misleading."
"One thing that will always be the same is that Crytek respects and values its employees very highly, and equally--that's very important. Whether it's an intern, whether it's a director, it doesn't change; everyone is important," Yerli said, adding, "It is very distressing for us to think that an individual thinks we have been treating them unfairly. It's very disappointing."
As for the legal settlements, Yerli questioned who came out ahead in the deals and dismissed their existence as evidence of wrongdoing.
"Well in Germany it is common sense, if you release someone, sometimes they get bad legal advice and basically think they can make unreasonable requests like huge severance packages," Yerli said. "What we offered them they clearly didn't like but it was more than legally required. So they go to court and ask for much more, but in the end they end up getting less or what we offered in the first place, and just go through the pain [of the whole legal process]. 'Won' the lawsuits isn't the right term. I don't want to make glory out of this. We are not proud of 'winning.' This is something sad that happened between us and people we used to work with. We haven't been found to have unlawfully fired these people, but we don't want to go to court with our co-workers either."
For more on the company's latest project, check out GameSpot's review of Crysis 2.