Cryptic Studios Reviews

Updated July 27, 2015
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28 Employee Reviews

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  1. Decent place to start a career

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

    I worked 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

    - Great co-workers - No 'open' work environments, even cubicles afforded decent privacy - Fun company events - Fun IPs to work on

    Cons

    - Average pay / benefits - Conversion from Part-Time to Full-Time was barely workable (9 - 12 months) - Hours were often difficult and required last minute crunch - Few career advancement opportunities

    Advice to Management

    Decide when to cut milestones rather than shoving more hours into projects. This wastes money and fries your employees. Listen to your designers. Meet your employees. Support your QA teams and call them out for great work the way you do for every other department.


  2. 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.


  3. Helpful (1)

    Great people, not great everything else

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

    I worked at Cryptic Studios full-time

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

    Pros

    Great people. Great inter-team culture.

    Cons

    Ivory tower style management and creative direction.

    Advice to Management

    Trust in your teams and their leadership


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  5. 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.


  6. 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.


  7. 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.


  8. 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.


  9. 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


  10. 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.


  11. Helpful (1)

    Great Company, Amazing People

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

    I worked at Cryptic Studios

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    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 Management

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



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