Cryptic Studios

www.crypticstudios.com

Cryptic Studios Reviews

Updated January 6, 2015
Updated January 6, 2015
16 Reviews
3.1
16 Reviews
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Jack Emmert
7 Ratings

Employee Reviews

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  1. 1 person found this helpful  

    Capable developers hobbled by ignorant management

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    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)

    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 ManagementAdvice

    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.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  2.  

    Just like the movies, the Directors run the show.

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

    I have been working at Cryptic Studios

    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 ManagementAdvice

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

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  3. 1 person found this helpful  

    Team has very little flexibility on it's own, most decisions must go through Perfect World Entertainment.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - QA Tester in Fresno, CA
    Former Employee - QA Tester in Fresno, CA

    I worked at Cryptic Studios as an intern (less than a year)

    Pros

    The working environment at Cryptic Studios is generally okay. People are friendly, people are dedicated to their work, and all are striving to improve their respective products.

    Cons

    Cryptic Studios needs to be able to stand on it's own two feet more. Perfect World Entertainment may own the company, but it is the studio who get's all the backlash from players who are upset, by the decisions that were ultimately made by Perfect World management.
    Additionally, developers (not just public relations, community management) need to be more open and communicative with the players, both on the current state of the games, as well as plans for the future.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Listen to your players more. While there are a small amount of very vocal "haters" on the game forums, most are generally quite caring about the game. They often have very good suggestions on potential improvements to the game. Focus more on what your players want, not just what your bosses at Perfect World Entertainment wants.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
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  5.  

    Cryptic Studios

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    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

    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.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
  6. 6 people found this helpful  

    Dim outlook for this company

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    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)

    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 ManagementAdvice

    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.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  7.  

    Great Place to Work

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    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)

    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 ManagementAdvice

    Keep up the good work

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  8. 1 person found this helpful  

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

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    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)

    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.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  9. 1 person found this helpful  

    Great Company, Amazing People

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

    I worked at Cryptic Studios

    Pros

    Some of the best, most talented people around. Comparatively decent work/life balance.

    Cons

    Corporate overlords add unnecessary anxiety to the company, but don't detract as badly as at other larger places.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Diversify. MMOs are a dying breed. Start a mobile team and experiment.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  10. 2 people found this helpful  

    Love Cryptic

    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Cryptic Studios

    Pros

    Great group of guys and very nice environment. They have been good about not crunching us too much. It is nice sized in that it is small enough to still have a big impact but large enough to be stable and have a few perks.

    Cons

    The only reason I left Cryptic was because I could get more money elsewhere. I still miss working at Cryptic and if they could pay more I would probably go back.

  11. 2 people found this helpful  

    Excellent place to work.

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

    I have been working at Cryptic Studios (more than a year)

    Pros

    My experience at Cryptic has been almost exclusively positive. Management is receptive to feedback and most of the employees have a very strong team-oriented attitude. I see little of the workplace drama that I've experienced at many other companies. Much less mandatory overtime than many other game developers.

    Cons

    Not enough staff for the QA department. Like many other companies in the industry, QA has few advancement options unless they leave the department - and not everyone can get that opportunity.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

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