Well, Homefront is in the news again and unfortunately it’s due to another set back.
Initially reported in June over on Kotaku, reports indicated a growing unrest at Crytek studios (like Crytek UK) due to missed paychecks, cancelled projects, and a general lack of communication from the headquarters in Germany. Publicly, we weren’t getting much information outside of the default line that everything was okay. Now we know that things are not okay.
Yesterday, Crytek announced that it had sold the Homefront IP, a property it worked hard to purchase back during the THQ auctions mind you, to Koch Media/Deep Silver who was serving as publisher on the upcoming title, Homefront: The Revolution. Seeing the signs on the wall when the game’s director resigned and to prevent a total collapse of the project, Deep Silver jumped in to scoop up the IP and related assets. Development will continue at the newly created Deep Silver Dambuster Studio. As you’d expect, staff members from Crytek UK will be moving over to the Dambuster team to continue working on The Revolution.
“As we look to cement Crytek’s future, this strategic deal with Koch Media would allow us to continue with our ambitious goals to become an online publisher,” Crytek Founder and CEO, Cevat Yerli said in a statement. “With Warface, Arena of Fate and HUNT, we believe we have the perfect portfolio and teams to make that happen. We would like to thank all our staff – past and present – in both Nottingham and Austin for their contributions to the company, and we wish all the very best to anyone who may no longer be under the Crytek banner moving forward.”
I don’t want to call the Homefront IP cursed or anything but the amount of hardship and transition the property has seen in it’s lifetime is pretty interesting. It began life at Kaos studios and released in 2011 to mixed reviews but financial success. At this point, THQ was beginning to feel the squeeze of poor business decisions and decided to shutter Kaos and move the sequel to Crytek to handle. As we all remember, THQ couldn’t save itself and completely fell apart with it’s entire portfolio going to a bankruptcy auction, where it was again saved by Crytek as they purchased the IP outright. After going dark for around three years, ‘The Revolution’ was revealed at E3 2014 and gained a good amount of attention for stripping away the elements that didn’t work in the first game and presenting something new and intriguing inside that universe. Unfortunately, the positivity quickly faded as the financial troubles and employee unrest began to circulate around the internet in June. Hopefully now that it’s with Deep Silver, things can stabilize for this IP.
If you need another example of the situation that Crytek is in, yesterday they also announced that the Crytek USA (made up of former Vigil employees) team in Austin suffered layoffs as well. The studio loss was so deep that only a handful of people are left and will serve as a support house for third party studios that license Crytek’s CryEngine toolkit. Their game, Hunt: Horrors of the Gilded Age, is being moved to the studio in Frankfurt to continue development. It’s a sad end to a new studio made up of people who gave us the Darksiders games.