Crystal Dynamics

  www.crystald.com
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Crystal Dynamics Reviews

Updated Jul 9, 2014

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All Employees Current Employees Only

3.5 11 reviews

33% Approve of the CEO

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Darrell Gallagher

(3 ratings)

63% of employees recommend this company to a friend
11 Employee Reviews
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    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Approves of CEO

     

    Fantastic, family-friendly environment. Great Games!

    Designer (Current Employee) Redwood City, CA

    ProsHighly collaborative environment.
    Amazing tools, level editor is best I've ever used.
    I get tons of creative flexibility and decision making power in the moment to moment gameplay. Management could be better, but I've never felt like I couldn't go talk to them about any issues, they are very approachable, especially considering how busy they are.
    Feels like a family, everyone in the company (from dev to HR to facilities to IT, etc...) is committed to making the best games we can.
    Yearly performance reviews can sometimes be a little late, but they will happen and merit increases have always been pro-rated to where you should have gotten them.
    Mandatory crunch doesn't happen often and isn't for long, you've got your tasks for the week and if you don't finish them in the normal 40 hours, then it is on you to work more hours to complete your tasks.
    Employee is part of the scheduling discussion each week to figure out how long each task should take, so if weekly crunch happens, the employee is as much to blame.
    Little to no office politics, either that or I'm just really good at staying out of crap like that.
    Great benefits structure, especially if you have children.
    I've often been told by upper-management that family comes first, not just lip-service either, they've been great at working with me during family crisis to ease my mind of work matters so I can focus on my family.
    Big support of outside sports activities, company sponsors multiple athletic teams for leagues at the complex's gym.

    ConsLots of the original Tomb Raider team has indeed left, including some very key to the success of that game.
    Crystal likes to higher very junior employees and give them 3 months of contract to see if they'll work out or not. I'm fine with this practice as 3 months should be enough time for everyone to know if it'll work out or not, I just would like it if the employee would be made more aware of that fact. They'll hire 4 jr. designers this way even though there are only 2 permanent roles available, makes it feel very gladiatorial.
    Bonus scheme isn't very good.
    Heavily controlled brand messaging. Employees aren't allowed to breath a word about announced projects without getting approval from the Brand team first. I understand why this is, still kind of annoying though.
    Not sure if my experience with Promotions is shared by others, but this is what I'm dealing with now. At last year's performance review, I received a promotion. Yay! Wasn't sure what my new title would be because they were about to start an initiative to change all job titles to a new scheme (so instead of Associate Designer, we would have Designer I). That's fine, except a year later and with performance reviews in full swing, I still don't know what my official title is.
    Just moved into a new office a month ago. It has 1 men's bathroom that only has 1 urinal and 2 toilets. There are over 100 men in this office. It is a serious problem and one that we voiced loudly from the moment we heard the company was looking to move (our old office only had 2 urinals and 2 toilets, we thought that was bad). They failed to listen to us in that regard and effectively downgraded our bathroom situation.
    On the new office topic, we are on the top floor and have high ceilings, large windows surround the upper level. This lets in a ton of natural light, some people think its great (non-artists) some people hate it (artists). The big problem is at certain times of day, the sun shines directly in the windows and makes it so some people can't see their screens. This affects a large number of people actually

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • No Opinion of CEO

     

    Be prepared to work hard for this company

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)

    ProsGreat co-workers that are passionate
    Nice office, open layout, above cafe on 1st floor
    I have family and the benefits are good. I got 1 week paid PTO when my son was born. That goes for both women and men. 1 week paid. They comp more jury duty.
    Perks - Bagel Friday's, jamba juice and cupcakes on occasion. Snacks are stocked - Pop tarts, cereal,
    chips. Coffee robot and free soda.
    Tools and tech are good
    IT and facilities does a good job
    When we are not crunching, I can leave by 6 to pick up the kids from daycare
    Free shuttle to and from train
    Beer Friday - after 4pm

    ConsLong hours are required with 50 hours standard except for crunch time which is closer to 70 hours a week. No over time for those of us that are salary. Crunch time happens every 3-4 months for 2 months due to understaffing. The company tends to hire seniors or people right out of college which leaves gaps. Most of us are young with little office experience. They bring in lunch and dinner during crunch time to encourage employees to feel good about working longer hours. Food is decent but not worth the overtime. Management says they like feedback and transparency but they often ignore feedback and don't share when or why people leave. Did they get fired or quit? who knows. High burnout rate. Most people have been at the company for less than 1 year. I get the feeling that if my coworkers didn't have such high amounts of college debt that they would move on. Pay is okay, but bonuses are less than 10%, and you can forget about raises higher than 3%. They promote with title, not money. The last bonus I got was based on the amount of overtime and profit of the last game. Recruitment seems to hire to fill positions, not because the fit is right. Managers give feedback that starts as a positive but often slips in a bunch of negative to fear you into working harder and longer. The bathrooms suck. Stupid to mention but when you share a bathroom with so many guys, it becomes a big issue.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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

     

    Once great

    Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)

    ProsCrystal once had great people and a collaborative environment that welcomed input from employees at all levels. It was a great place to do creative work and advance according to your initiative and hard work. Pay was good enough.

    ConsLots of crunch time. No strategy beyond Tomb Raider. With as many good people as have left recently, I am not positive about the direction it's headed.

    Advice to Senior ManagementHappy employees have autonomy and a sense of purpose (e.g. from personal investment in the product).

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

     

    Always hiring because people are always quitting due to poor management

    (Current Employee)

    ProsOnce had a great turnaround story
    Complex has access to a gym
    Tomb Raider reboot showed signs of greatness

    ConsExecutive level management is disconnected from what it takes to make a game. The solution is a great deal of crunch. Even beyond what is assumed for the industry.
    A lot of key talent that made the last game great has quit. 25+ of them. Recently, management hires junior staff who don't know better.

    Advice to Senior ManagementMost of my coworkers and I only stay because it is hard to find a local replacement for console games. The company goals preached at company meetings and reviews don't match your executive actions. You claim to have an open door but as studio head, you're rarely here. A lot of talented members quit, namely because the workloads are uneven and there is a great deal of back channeling. As an example, look at how often the directors are out of office and design has no real leadership so a lot of waste occurs every day.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

     

    No lack of talent here

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)

    ProsSome of the most talented and creative people you'll ever work with.
    Very collaborative environment.
    Amazing proprietary tools and tech-- some of the best in the industry.

    ConsPoor management at times leads to relentless unpaid crunch.
    Bonuses are just okay.
    Some executive-level people have managed to cling to their jobs despite some major screw-ups.

    Advice to Senior ManagementRecognize that people are the company's greatest asset.
    Recognize that those peoples' time is THEIR most precious asset.
    Keep working on 'letting go' and allowing your talented employees to be creative and flourish without micromanagement. (It's getting better.)

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

     

    Awesome company.

    Graphic Artist (Former Employee) Redwood City, CA

    ProsThe folks there are easy to work with.

    ConsThere isn't really anything I can indicate.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

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

     

    good people. poor management

    Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)

    Prosgood rank and file people with talent. lots of cash from square enix so lots or resources.

    Consmanagement is horrible. focus is on hours/ time clock mentality by EP. total top down approach. current management team is inexperienced, doesn't inspire confidence, little focus on people. no career path/ growth. crunch is mishandled and poorly communicated. leadership in the UK and Japan is inept.

    Advice to Senior Managementget new management.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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

     

    Great studio but always crunching

    Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)

    ProsLots of talent, creative, great engineering

    ConsHard business, requires lots of OT

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

    1 person found this helpful  

    Motivated, Friendly, and Inspiring to work with everyone!

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)

    ProsThey want you to grow. If you express interest in design, programming, or art there are people there willing to help you.
    Very chilled and laid back environment (Can be high stress though during crunch time)
    I enjoyed the abundance of overtime even though I could see that as a con for some people.

    ConsDeviating, changing, adding designs, features, or systems without giving QA knowledge at the last minute.

    Advice to Senior ManagementCommunicate with QA and trust them to do their job.
    Producers communicate more with other producers so everyone knows what is going on.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • No Opinion of CEO

     

    MIss Managed: The Man Handler

    QA Analyst (Current Employee) Redwood City, CA

    ProsSmall Company with Friendly Employees
    Bagels every Friday

    ConsMaintains a Skeleton Crew, outsourcing a bulk of the work to smaller studios
    Tight budgets and a lot of overtime due to mismanagement
    Too many producers and assistant producers
    Higher positions are currently filled with individuals who aren't going anywhere any time soon

    Advice to Senior ManagementPlan your projects
    Prototype designs and stick to what works
    Plan your projects
    Don't stretch your employees thin, hire who you need to get the job done
    Plan your projects

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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