Develop's guide to the six international Crytek studios
Joined Crytek: 2009
Key staff: Karl Hilton (studio manager) (pictured)
In February 2009 Crytek purchased Free Radical Design, which built its reputation on the superb, tongue-in-cheek TimeSplitters series. The acquisition gave Crytek a team with a long heritage in the UK industry. That’s something set to continue as the studio readies its first Crytek-branded title.
“We are currently concepting up an original IP that we hope will become a defining game series for the UK studio,” reveals Karl Hilton, studio manager. “However, in reality, the opportunity to make any kind of original FPS genre game where we get to focus on the quality of both the multiplayer and single player experience is what drives people at the studio. We have a strong history of creativity here, and we want to take that forward with Crytek and the CryENGINE 3.”
Many of Crytek’s UK staff boast an impressive range of skills taken from the country’s industry, and will be key to developing relationships within the sector both to import and export knowledge and expertise.
“We are particularly keen to get involved with education in the UK and build up good communications and knowledge exchange with universities and colleges,” explains Hilton.
Key staff: Carl Jones (director of global business development, CryENGINE), Nick Button-Brown (director of business development), Heiko Fischer (director of human resources), Jens Schäfer (PR manager)
As Crytek’s base of operations, the Frankfurt HQ is responsible for much of the company’s output.
Subsequently, the studio plays home to the Yerli brothers and various others from the upper echelons of the organisation.
“Frankfurt offers a big cluster of innovative and creative companies, which makes it a very strong location for the creative industry and thus an excellent place for Crytek,” says CEO and president Cevat Yerli.
“This cluster gives us the possibility for many partnerships, both on the vertical and the horizontal value chain. Frankfurt has various games companies such as developers, publishers, agencies and universities.”
Originally based in Coburg, Crytek relocated in 2006, and since has established itself as one of the city’s most highly regarded employers.
“We’re already working on several projects we’d call ‘dream projects’,” says Yerli. “In general we can’t really commit to a certain genre or platform. Everything has its strengths and weaknesses, and we’re trying our best to bring out the best in all games we’re developing. It’s our mission to always offer greater gaming experiences.”
Key staff: Kristoffer Waardahl (studio manager) (pictured)
Developing games lead by the mantra ‘on time, on quality’, Crytek’s Hungarian studio is focused on developing with the CryENGINE tech.
Currently hard at work on ‘thrilling new IP’, the Budapest-based team consists of a very experienced and passionate multinational workforce. While nothing is known about the project publically, when speaking about the studio’s opening Avni Yerli said: “It is a great way to widen our horizons and develop for a new gaming genre while continuing our company's strategic growth and expansion.”
And as for the studio’s home city? “Budapest speaks for itself,” promises studio manager Kristoffer Waardahl. “It’s a charming capital with stunning buildings, a soothing river, good public transport, lively cultural and night life, and a warm and welcoming atmosphere. It is the pearl of the Danube. It’s easy to find a nice place to live, and food and services prices tend to be lower then in the EU in general.”
Key staff: Young Mok Park (country manager) (pictured)
Focusing its efforts on delivering the CryENGINE to the huge Korean market, Crytek’s Korean operation was formed in 2008, and is rightly confident of the market it courts.
“Korea is one of the biggest markets for 3D graphics engines,” explains Young Mok Park, country manager. “Because of the long history and experience in online games, Korean developers look for leading edge technology in all fields. These developers are hungry to create something that does not exist in the world yet.”
As a country where online gaming is phenomenally popular, Korea also offers Crytek an unrivalled test bed with what many believe is the best internet infrastructure in the world. For that very reason, the Seoul-based studio continues to attract an array of hugely talented staff.
“We have many people from excellent backgrounds in the gaming industry,” says Park. “Most people have worked on online game services and famous blockbuster games with great success. We have experts from various fields such as online service operation, QA, marketing, PR and network technology. This long experience and expertise will be great asset to Crytek, both now and the future.”
Crytek Black Sea
Joined Crytek: 2008
Key staff: Vesselin Handjiev (managing director) (pictured)
Having joined the Crytek fold in 2008, the Black Sea studio has become a cornerstone of the development community in
“It is not that big an industry here, but still there are a dozen or so developers and companies involved in creating interactive entertainment software in some way,” explains studio manager Vesselin Handjiev. “Crytek Black Sea, located in the capital city of Sofia, is the local leader and creates stability and career opportunities for the area’s young and talented people.
“It can be said the Bulgarian gaming industry is not as old as it is in Western Europe or North America, but it is catching up fast.”
Prior to its acquisition by Crytek, Black Sea Studios worked on renowned PC games Knights of Honor and WorldShift, and can take much of the credit for the progress of co-operative multiplayer modes in the RTS genre.
While the studio’s current projects remain undisclosed, Crytek Black Sea is proudly ambitious. “Anything that really delivers in terms of replay value is a dream to work on,” enthuses Handjiev, when asked about ideal projects. “We are working on a project that will deliver greater gaming experiences.”
Key staff: Max Dembick (studio manager) (pictured)
In 2006 the Crytek Kiev team consisted of just six artists and two managers. Now, three years later, the team now amounts to over 50 people, including experienced programmers and game designers.
“Our team’s contribution to Crysis project demonstrated the ability of the studio to start its own project,” says Maxim Dembick, studio manager, adding: “Not even a new project, but brand new IP. This is where we are now – stay tuned for public announcements.”
Crytek’s Kiev office offers a confident, creative atmosphere to new employees, who can mix with a talented international team in a bright and large office space.
“We do not like silence here,” admits Dembick. “It is always a bit too noisy in the main area, because people communicate verbally a lot . There are more than 50 of us at the moment but we still do our best to keep the family feeling within our office.”
Crytek Kiev is currently very busy with a currently unannounced project, though Dembick is tantalisingly secretive – only letting slip that the team is “working on our dream project at the moment.”