According to industry analyst Daniel Ahmad, the Shanghai office of Crytek has been forcibly closed for not paying rent after it spent the last six months not paying active employees.
The story, broken on Ahmad's Twitter feed, follows news in December that multiple Crytek offices were to close after they were unable to pay staff on time. Unfortunately, history has been allowed to repeat in the Shanghai office, where Ahmad alleges staff had not been paid since September 2016. Shortly after the December closures, Ahmad had Tweeted that the Shanghai office was focusing "on the company's VR projects". Unfortunately, it appears that the new focus had not borne fruit, and the office was forced to close after being unable to pay rent for their office space.
Branding the move "shameful", Ahmad proceeded to also produce an image apparently from a company email promising that staff would be paid for their time working at least up to October 31st. The email is vague about compensation for the proceeding months but goes to lengths to impress that unscheduled absence would be count "as an unpaid day", implying that payment would otherwise be granted. Of the "around 100" who had previously worked at Crytek Shanghai, roughly 20 apparently still worked at the office when it was closed.
Crytek Shanghai had been opened in August of 2012 and had seemingly worked primarily on strengthening the company's iconic CryEngine, responsible for such graphical powerhouses as the Crysis series of games. Interestingly, the Crytek website still lists the Shanghai office as active on their official website, while Crytek's Wikipedia entry lists the Shanghai office as defunct since 2016 - now over four months ago.
While Ahmad's sources are unclear, an anonymous Glassdoor review for Crytek corroborates his account of events, noting the lack of payment in particular. The review also lambastes the company for its treatment of lower staff, accusing the developer of moving management staff to other premises before defaulting on rent payments.
Employees have never received salaries anymore [sic] and the Crytek Shanghai management moved to a different office as per doing their own business without even taking the employees with them and keeping it secret. Only lies and promises, in order to buy themselves time.As further proof to Ahmad's accusations, an unnamed member of the Crytek Shanghai team had posted on Reddit's r/gaming_communities over a month ago, pleading with the community to take notice of the plight of the little studio. Sarcastically thanking Crytek for "destroying our lives", the post signed off with a plea for help. A cry that has, as of yet, gone unnoticed.
We have reached out to Crytek and will update this story if we learn more.