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'We make mistakes, we are human' - Crytek CEO Cevat Yerli
'We make mistakes, we are human' - Crytek CEO Cevat Yerli
August 8, 2014 | By Mike Rose

August 8, 2014 | By Mike Rose
More: Console/PC, Business/Marketing

"Our priority was to not downsize the company. Our priority was to not let anybody lose their jobs at that point."
- As part of an extensive interview with Eurogamer, Crytek CEO Cevat Yerli explains why his company did not pay its employees for a period.

Crytek's financial woes have been heavily documented over the last couple of months, as the company laid off staff, failed to meet payroll and sold off its Homefront IP.

Now Yerli has talked extensively on a number of topics with Eurogamer, explaining the current state of the company, and why it has made certain recent decisions.

Discussing why staff were not paid for a while, he noted, "You have two choices, right? Either you delay payments - again delay... it's not that they didn't get paid, they got delayed - delay payments and salvage the company. Or, you push your cash flow directly to the studios and you file for insolvency. Both options are really bad. So you have to make the better of the two bad decisions."

"We make mistakes," he added later. "We are human. We wake up, go to our job, eat like everybody else, then go to sleep. In general we are flawed."

The interview also turns to the selling of the Homefront IP, as the CEO explains that keeping the game in Crytek's portfolio "would have been detrimental" to the company's current plans.

"We believe in Homefront," he noted. "It's a great game and we still believe in it. But we made a deal with Koch we felt comfortable with as a strategic sale of the asset, which everybody comes out of in a win/win position."

It's well worth reading through the full interview on Eurogamer.

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Ron Dippold
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Paycheck delay is one thing. Not telling any of those affected people what's going on is another.

Greg Quinn
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True, but according to the interview, he said that staff had been told there would be difficulties, and that they should consult with their personal banks etc.

I know its a crappy solution, but I can understand his need for wanting to keep the company afloat and not bankrupt at the expense of a few delayed pay checks.

But perhaps everything should have been more clearly outlined so the employees knew what to expect from the beginning, and that there was a solution in the works.

Marvin Papin
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"You have two choices"

But doesn't this choice belongs to employees. Being paid is also living in our world. Even if I think people in the company are well paid. Their still could be situations where that could bring them a huge amount of problems.

The choice to a mutual agreement if possible, could avoid the whole mess. When your in a little company where everybody knows each other and worked hard to make it live, it's about trust and honor and people should get ready to do some sacrifices to get things work well. But unfortunately, world is changing again and again.

Ken Love
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Incredibly greasy.

To me this screams that the company (heads) come' before it's employees.

If it weren't for the employees, there would be no company / games / tech.

Have no doubt either that the "heads" paycheck's weren't late.

I seem to recall SEGA making a Genesis game back in the 90's that described these kind of actions. "16 Meg LAME."

Rob Wright
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The Crytek story just keeps getting weirder and weirder. When you think back to the fall of 2007 and all the excitement and promise surrounding Crysis, which looked like it was going to be the gold standard for PC gaming, plus the popularity of Far Cry, it's hard to believe that Crytek is where it is right now.

David Paris
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Generally in these situations the execs aren't getting paid either.

The issue is simply that if your base salary isn't excellent, you're unlikely to have the reserves to be able to tank periods of delayed paychecks (something the execs generally _can_ afford to do).

The company is effectively taking a forced loan from all its employees (since they got no say in the matter). Unfortunately anyone already living on the edge is totally screwed by this, since "oh sorry my company is late paying me" doesn't actually work for paying any of their bills.

Ken Love
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"Execs not getting paid?"

Yeah. I'd believe that when I see it. AND... IF... that were the case and they aren't getting paid now, guaranteed that they work making $$$ hand over fist in the first place to compensate for the "No Paycheck" now, bit.

Alan Barton
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@"Generally in these situations the execs aren't getting paid either."

Execs earn way more, so can survive for many more months without income. Most employees struggle to pay the rent within 1 to 2 months without wages.

For example, imagine Person A on 30k and Person B on 60k
It sounds like Person B can survive for double the time doesn't it, but that isn't the case at all.

You have to take into account cost of living. Say cost of living is 30k a year. That means person A can't save anything per month, so they can't afford to be out of work for even 1 month. Whereas person B can save 30k a year, so after one year of income, they can survive out of work for another whole year!

It also means Person B can save infinitely more than person A, because person A can't save anything!

Most staff are kept much nearer the cost of living than exec's. So staff can't survive anywhere nearly as long as exec's, so the exec's can't see the problem their staff face, just trying to survive without money.

Anyone surviving on little income knows this implicitly, because they are forced to live it every month! ... Whereas most bosses (and certainly this fool show they) can't seem to grasp the magnitude of difficulty their staff face, as they just try to find the money to survive each month.

Paulo Godinho
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Sorry but you are only making assumptions(toxic ones) of how well Cry heads are paid and how bad the employees are paid, do you have any relevant data to add besides "bosses are evil"?

The guy could have fired the hundred he did, sold homefront and continue with his life, there is no obligation to explain financial details of your company to no one, and even so he decided to.

Do something bad and keep quiet, be bashed by everyone, do something bad and tries to explain, be even more bashed? No logic in this.

Alan Barton
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@Paulo Godinho

First off, I'm not saying people are evil. That's your twisted interpretation and your spin.

Second, we are talking exec's pay here. Try looking up typical income figures for execs in any company. If they don't pay similar wages to exec's here, they wont keep their execs for long.

Third, my point is just a small difference above the cost of living income makes a huge difference in the amount someone can save up to use to survive without income for months.

For example, lets keep the numbers simple and say, Person A can save nothing. Person B can save 2k a year and person C can save 20k a year. Plus the cost of living is lets say 2k a month.

So after 1 year of work, if their income is then stopped for just 3 months, person A is in immediate trouble and will likely loose their home. Person B won't make it more than 1 month without being in serious trouble, whereas person C will have enough to survive for 10 months before they are in trouble, so they most likely won't see anything to worry about being out of income for 3 months (and that kind of person will is the kind most likely to see something funny to dress up in a convicts photo, rather than see what they put people through is very serious for people struggling).

And that is just with a difference of 20k income per year. Now look up real exec pay figures and you will see they can save way more than 20k a year.

Try looking at some real world figures before you continue to fool yourself and others.

Florian Putz
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So FreeToPlay ey? That this is the future of gaming is a big misconception. Imho Crytek was never good at making games in the first place, they were good at making technology. None of their games had outstanding gameplay and/or story - they were just eyecandy. The FarCry franchise only got some depth after it was sold to ubisoft - they really made something out of it. Ryse? Same story - it's a shallow game that looks good, but that's not a success criteria anymore. With UE4 offering almost similar visual quality to almost everyone, competition in that segment got a lot harder. What makes Crytek think they will succeed in the FTP segment with only mediocre gameplay mechanics? They need to be innovative - but thats exactly what they never were - gameplaywise I mean.

Ian Richard
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Wow. Just wow. The LEAST they can do is accept the fact that their employees need to get paid and say "We're sorry, we'll try to do better."

Responses like this make darn sure I'll never buy one of their games.

Antoine Ladouceur
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Dat picture though...

David Landau
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I like to look at it as a two way streak. The company expects you to be ok without getting paid for 3 months (allegedly 6 from some employee statements) so therefore they should be ok with you not doing work for said time or taking side work instead of fulfilling your obligations. Some people have to pay bills and can't work for promises.

This guy just sounds pompous. You are asking your employees for a huge favor by telling them they aren't going to be paid but to keep working. He says it was "just a delay" but as an employee you don't know that. You could work for 3 months and then be told that the company is bankrupt and you aren't getting anything. That scenario is just as likely as this mystery investor who bailed Crytek out.

It sounds like the issue here was the employees knew they weren't getting paid, but didn't know how or when they ever would be again.

Rui Mota
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Yerly should get in touch with realty fast. Reading that interview must be painful to all the staff.
Apparently he saw the future, again, and now is F2P. He must have caught a reflex from the past on is shinning crystal ball.
Crytek should worry more about making games people want to play or a game engine people want to use.

Alan Barton
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The endless AAA race to the top and the euphoria of their first few financially successful games, fooled them into a false sense of security and so they expanded way too fast and way too large, as companies like this so often do. This is an industry wide problem and has been since it began.

In our ever changing industry, when any company gets into many hundreds of employees (and Crytek is said to have hit 800+) you have to question how long it'll be before it hits a lean patch, which will force a size reduction (or even the entire collapse) of that company.

This endless pursuit of an ever bigger company is unsustainable in the entire history of our industry.

We are in a hit driven industry. Therefore when we get a hit, we have to spread that flood of income over many years of future projects, as some projects can fail, rather than blow the whole lot on a massive expansion of the company for just one or two ever bigger projects.

The endless cycle of boom and bust has to stop and the only way to stop it is to smooth out how the hit driven flood of income is spent. But then so often in our industry, this massive expansion gamble is used as a means to try to sell the company before it inevitably collapses back down again.

Any staff caught in this situation would be wise to save for a rainy day, so to speak, as the old saying goes, but then the companies would also be wise to save for a rainy day, but then too many bosses love being the big important boss of a huge company, until their dream of a huge company collapses in front of them and their staff loose their jobs.

I would sooner work for a company that had 10 years of survival money in the bank, rather than a company that spent all their savings to grow 10 times bigger for a year. Whatever happened to just being happy they could earn a good living doing what they loved doing?

But then creating huge companies and then trying to sell the companies is what so many bosses show they really love doing, rather than creating the games. They show its not really about the games, its about the dream of being the big boss of a big company (which they often show they also one day hope to sell). Even worse they achieve this by profiting from and then gambling with their employees livelyhoods. The companies in our industry need to stop and think more about what they are doing to people and themselves.

Michael Thornberg
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I get the impression the money they got is mostly from the sell of the UK studio and the IP sale (and downsizing of course) I can't say I am relieved about these news. If anything I sense lip service more than anything. But now that they are smaller, they at least got more room, but I think they are way too big still. They were nearly a thousand people... a thousand!! That is completely unsustainable. I don't think they will be anywhere near healthy until they have downsized to half the staff (if not more) than they have now.

Jane Castle
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The first few minutes should be required viewing for ANYONE in the game and\or film industry.....