Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Crysis in Crytek 2

So what realy hapens in Crytek happens in every other company in the game industry:

There is absolutely no advocacy for developers as the supply of naive, fresh out of university, 20-somethings is quick to fill whatever ranks are depleted by burned-out veterans with actual experience.

This is a problem that far transcends one studio and is a cancer killing the industry. No one enters into a game developer role expecting to retire at a studio, let alone stick around for more than a few years (at best). You want a family, or even a long-term relationship? Good luck.

Crytek's "bureaucratic environment" is born from the rampant cronyism that places ill-equipped managers into roles they have no business being in while also artificially promoting allied cronies with no experience. I can count several instances where I've witnessed the people that actually made positive contributions losing their jobs in layoff rounds as the dead weight remains unaffected due to their immunity cards gleaned from corporate BS.

This lack of focus on talent retention is why studios collapse: inept management/leadership and poor planning lords over the development process while the few "nerds" are surrounded by the "jock" majorities who only keep their positions because of political maneuvering. The result is a small band of overworked actual workers that end up producing sub-par (and bug-ridden) products while the majority of the team posts photos of their latest alcoholic beverages to Facebook. The ensuing layoffs end up culling the actual workers even further while the parasitic cronies cling for dear life (and/or establish additional social "networks" in anticipation of golden-parachute deployment as the eventual studio closure occurs).

There is absolutely NO reason for unpaid labor in this day and age but, because the supply of workers far exceeds their demand, unscrupulous and predatory employers can afford to continually play their crony-collection games while millions of game developers are forced into an itinerant lifestyle that would make an army brat's childhood look stable.

I really hope a reform comes to this industry because, the last decade of my life has really made me question why I even bother anymore: game design doesn't really exist these days anyways —in mobile development, you're more of a statistician or economist than an actual game designer and AAA game development is so risk-adverse that it's more about copying already existing systems and features than actually designing new ones or refining existing conventions.

Crytek's anti-employee practices are just par for the course and this really needs to stop if this industry ever hopes to deviate from the mediocrity train it's riding toward a certain New Mexican landfill.

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