Early today, reports came in from Germany revealing that police had raided the offices of Bavarian-based developer Crytek. Apparently, a former employee told police that the studio was using unlicensed software on their upcoming PC shooter Far Cry. Some of the wilder reports indicated that a special antipiracy squad searched Crytek offices and seized numerous pirated copies of Maya and 3D Studio Max before hauling away several employees.
Responding to inquires from GameSpot, Crytek vehemently denied that anyone had been arrested. "Despite false allegations that have appeared in various media and forums, no inventory or personnel were affected in any way," said the company in a statement.
However, the developer did admit that the Kripo (short for Kriminalpolizei or "criminal police") had paid them a visit. "Due to the alleged claim of a disgruntled ex-intern, Crytek´s office complex was investigated for using more copies of a software brand with the incorrect number of licenses purchased," said the company. All a senior staffer at Ubisoft's Paris, France, headquarters would say was, "What we've read in published reports is that Crytek had not paid for the sufficient number of licenses."
However, the European staffer also said that if Crytek had used pirated software, Ubisoft was in no way legally responsible, thus indicating that Crytek would be on its own should the developer or any of its employees be charged. Ubisoft's American reps were similarly cautious, saying, "We cannot give any comments on the judicial inquiry concerning the management of Crytek, and we hope that the suspicion of fraudulent use of an image-treatment software is revealed to be unfounded."
However, both companies addressed the most important issue to gamers--whether or not Far Cry would slip from its March 23 ship date. "The Crytek team has started working again, normally, as of Wednesday at 2:00pm," read the Ubisoft statement. "The game will ship as planned at the end of March." The German developer was similarly soothing and said, "Crytek would like to assure its fans that completion of Far Cry remains on track."