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Source: Layoffs At Crytek Budapest, Kinect Game Moves Foward

Source: Layoffs At Crytek Budapest, Kinect Game Moves Foward

May 6, 2011 | By Kris Graft

An anonymous source told Gamasutra this week that Crysis developer Crytek will lay off 30-35 workers at its Budapest studio, which will purportedly switch from work on an Xbox 360-exclusive Kinect game to focus on tablet titles.

Avni Yerli, managing director for the Frankfurt, Germany-headquartered developer, responded to the source's claims, stating in an email, "We can confirm that our Budapest studio is getting a new direction and focus." He did not confirm specific details of those changes.

The source claimed that in the "next few weeks," the Budapest studio, which has been working on the first-person melee Kinect game Codename: Kingdoms, will shrink from 80 workers to 30-35.

The headcount reduction purportedly comes after Codename: Kingdoms publisher Microsoft Game Studios made a "sudden decision" to have Crytek move the development of the game from Budapest to Crytek's Frankfurt studio.

The source also said nine workers have already been laid off following the project's move to Frankfurt. Crytek is reportedly keeping more workers on board for the time being as the developer prepares to present Codename: Kingdoms at Microsoft's E3 press conference early next month.

The Budapest studio had been working on the game for two years, the source said. The title debuted briefly at Microsoft's E3 conference last year via a live-action trailer, originally with no confirmation of Kinect support.

Laid-off workers reportedly include people from an array of disciplines, including level design, quality assurance, IT, art and audio.

The source also said Crytek will "move their tablet development [to Budapest]," but did not confirm details of any projects in the works.

Independently-owned Crytek opened its Budapest studio in 2007, as the company aimed to bulk up its portfolio of games.

This year, Crytek released the multiplatform first-person shooter Crysis 2, which publisher Electronic Arts said surpassed the 2 million shipped mark in the game's opening quarter. The company also develops and licenses its CryEngine game development engine.

Crytek has locations in Frankfurt, Germany; Kiev, Ukraine; Budapest, Hungary; Sofia, Bulgaria; Seoul, South Korea; and Nottingham, UK.

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