Cryptic Studios Reviews

Updated July 27, 2015
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Jack Emmert
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13 Employee Reviews

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  1. Lead artist

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Artist
    Current Employee - Senior Artist

    I have been working at Cryptic Studios full-time (More than 5 years)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    The work life balance is great, I am able to spend time with my family. Cryptic is only been in crunch a hand full of times since i have been here. Crunch time at Cryptic is either work at least an extra hour or it has been work your normal 8 hours and come in on Saturday for 8 hrs. Cryptic expect people to wear multiple hats. As an environment artist you are expected to do everything from level design, light, asset creation, and work with and support the Design team. this leads to a gather sense of ownership to everything an artist makes.

    Cons

    As I put in pros: Cryptic expect people to wear multiple hats. the negative side of this is that people don't specialize and don't get extremely good at one specific thing. It is so expensive to live in Silicon Valley. With Facebook, Apple, and Google paying people ridiculous amounts of money it is caused a negative effect on every other job. The pay isn't greatest versus the cost of living in the area.


  2. Cryptic Art Department

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Cryptic Studios full-time

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Very friendly, low stress, highly collaborative environment. Great area, talented team, fun work place.

    Cons

    Sometimes the project scope can be mismanaged, but this isn't usually a problem. Tools are pretty dated, lots of technical debt.

    Advice to Management

    Try to listen to new opinions, and don't be afraid to take chances on new projects or new ideas.


  3. Helpful (4)

    A comfortable place to work but liimiting

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Seattle, WA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Seattle, WA

    I have been working at Cryptic Studios full-time (Less than a year)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    -comfortable environment with space to relax and get away from your desk if you need to -everyone is pretty relaxed and pleasant to be around -barely any crunch

    Cons

    -doesn't spend the money to get the best talent or keep their best talent -management bottlenecks all decisions -people want to make great games at cryptic but management is too focused on what is doing well in the marketplace and not in creating something truly unique...its a business I know

    Advice to Management

    you play it safe too much, hire up some talent with a vision and make something great


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  5. Helpful (2)

    Interesting studio with unconventional pipeline in managing and game development.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Cryptic Studios full-time (More than 3 years)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Worked with talented artist mixed with other table top playing gamers. Reasonable compensation and bonuses when compared to work and life balance. Free soda and cereal.

    Cons

    Not enough staffing and they will still over schedule your workload. No clear vision of design/goal and so every milestone was a scramble. In fact, working on art while still designing was common which lead to extra work and reuse of art.

    Advice to Management

    Listen to your employee's that work their tail off everyday. Have a more clearer vision and change morale fast.


  6. Helpful (6)

    Capable developers hobbled by ignorant management

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Game Designer in Los Gatos, CA
    Current Employee - Game Designer in Los Gatos, CA

    I have been working at Cryptic Studios full-time (More than a year)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Some very talented developers. We have a solid core on each team of strong developers that do great work even with limited resources and unfocused management. Over the past year a few of these people have left, or were fired, which was disappointing to see. Decent work stability. If you're the kind of employee looking for a paycheck and job security, Cryptic is your place to be. There are many long-term employees that remain employed here for no clear reason other than they continue to show up to work each day. Decent benefits and vacation package. Can't complain about that.

    Cons

    Executives think they are designers. Much of the executive team has a distant background in design, but they are ignorant of their limitations and how the industry and market has changed. One of our former designers likened it to "Talking your grandfather about the internet". Quality is not a part of "The Cryptic Way". Despite claims by management suggesting otherwise, quality is a distant second to getting it done on time. That wouldn't be a problem if management (executives and production) didn't set unrealistic goals every step of the way. Everything comes down to "Do more and do it faster" rather than ever focusing on upping the quality bar or prioritizing in a way that ensures we deliver something worthwhile. Apathy and ignorance towards the product and customers. Most of the developers don't play the games they make and some don't even play in the genre they're working in. That leads to a serious lack of passion on the development teams, and when faced with brutal deadlines, a lack of passion for the project shows in the end product. Limited opportunity for growth. This is a two part issue -- one stems from the executive micromanagement neutering internal leadership opportunities and the second coming from the fact that most developers interested in growing realize it's more efficient to find a new company than to wait for an internal opportunity.

    Advice to Management

    Understand your limitations. Cryptic was successful with City of Heroes and squandered much of that momentum for years. The Neverwinter and Star Trek franchise are the reason the company is still afloat, not the games themselves. If you intend to be in business five years down the line, double down on those franchises and/or up your quality bar. Trim the fat. For a company so focused on metrics and profit margins, it's astounding how many employees are little more than seat warmers. Cryptic lacks a company culture because there are too many people complacent with mediocrity. Invest in technology. Your engine and tools are not competitive nor are your efforts to modernize it. Spend the time and money to get up to date, or focus on projects that aren't competing with next-gen tech. Trust your talent. There are many talented and capable developers at Cryptic that are hobbled by Executive and Producer micromanagement. Your best employees will do better work if you get out of their way. Also, stop losing or firing the developers capable of bringing Cryptic into the modern age. You need your best employees to challenge you if you intend on being relevant.


  7. Helpful (3)

    Just like the movies, the Directors run the show.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Artist in San Jose, CA
    Current Employee - Artist in San Jose, CA

    I have been working at Cryptic Studios

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    There are some good people here, but they are completely shut down. The studio is relatively stable, with regards to layoffs and company finances. I've occasionally seen a few teams crunch but most of the employees are 9 to 5.

    Cons

    No company culture. Everything has to be done ASAP, with very little room for creativity and experimentation. Stress levels keep everyone on edge. Very little time to take a deep breath and enjoy work. The proprietary engine used is years old and hasn't seen a lot of modernization. The dev teams are unable to steer the games or company in any direction other than what is dictated by the top two or three Directors. Quality of the games are an afterthought, as the primary goal is to create systems and mechanics that will monetize well. Most of the teams here do NOT play the games that they build. This is disheartening when trying to have a conversation about what works or not, and are shushed by someone who has only played a single level 20 toon (and only due to a bonus requirement).

    Advice to Management

    Let the qualified people that are already here actually lead the teams.


  8. Cryptic Studios

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Game Designer in Los Gatos, CA
    Current Employee - Senior Game Designer in Los Gatos, CA

    I have been working at Cryptic Studios full-time

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    Pros

    The environment favors autistic people who own dogs. It's quiet, socializing seems to all MTG games or Netrunner games, people would rather work than wander around the office and chat. The games are not designed as clickbait or to maximize profits. The goal, as told to the employees, is to make a good game that the fans want to support by buying things, rather than a scam to siphon money from people. This is an important point.

    Cons

    Compensation seems to be slightly low.


  9. Helpful (9)

    Dim outlook for this company

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - A Job in Los Gatos, CA
    Current Employee - A Job in Los Gatos, CA

    I have been working at Cryptic Studios full-time (More than a year)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    There are some awesome people that work here. The products are world wide known.

    Cons

    The company has taken a turn to not caring about customer service and extorting more and more money from those that use its products. Soon it's managed games will have to start charging a subscription fee which will drive off existing users and detract new ones. There are constant bug reports from users which aren't taken seriously. The list goes on.

    Advice to Management

    Start treating customers like they matter. Stop making your products so unattainable by price and fix the bugs before releasing them to the public. You money grubbing attitudes will cost all of us. I fear for my longevity with this company as it looks to be headed towards bankruptcy or sale.


  10. Helpful (2)

    Great Place to Work

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior in Los Gatos, CA
    Current Employee - Senior in Los Gatos, CA

    I have been working at Cryptic Studios full-time (More than a year)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Good work life balance Solid benefits and compensation Nice area to live People are very friendly and we have board game nights, a large game lounge, company trips to the movies etc.

    Cons

    Very expensive Area to live Building is a little grungy Game engine is all in house so it has a pretty steep learning curve.

    Advice to Management

    Keep up the good work


  11. Helpful (3)

    Cryptic is an excellent developer capable of doing an astonishing amount of good with surprisingly little support.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Los Gatos, CA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Los Gatos, CA

    I have been working at Cryptic Studios full-time (More than a year)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    The company has opportunities across development, design, production, art, audio, and publishing. If you want to do it, chances are you can. If you're good at it, you'll excel. Lateral movement is common and career progress is a given for capable workers.

    Cons

    Proprietary tech can be a barrier to entry and may be holding back projects. Cryptic has, for years now, been beholden to third-parties who just don't operate as well as Cryptic.



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