Cryptic Studios Reviews | Glassdoor

Cryptic Studios Reviews

Updated March 20, 2019
55 reviews

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3.5
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Stephen D'Angelo
15 Ratings

Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • "It feels like management genuinely cares about work/life balance and making the best work environment for employees" (in 9 reviews)

  • "Some really good people in middle management and the trenches" (in 5 reviews)

Cons
  • "Not neccessarily cons, but things to keep in mind:" (in 3 reviews)

  • "Los Gatos is convenient to people who live near" (in 4 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. "Content Designer"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Cryptic Studios full-time

    Pros

    Great company for the industry.

    Cons

    Management can seem scattered at times.


  2. Helpful (1)

    "Reign of the dinosaurs"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Cryptic Studios full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Nice campus.
    Unlimited sick time.

    Cons

    It is my opinion that Cryptic has a lot of negative legacy that makes the CEO's mission to change the toxic culture a mere unattainable dream.

    Work Culture:

    -Widespread fear of direct communication
    -Little direct feedback is given at any level, and when given, it is drowned in platitudes with no follow through
    -There is no system of accountability in place
    -People who have been at Cryptic for a long time show a general disregard for quality, favoring instead a minimal effort approach, with no consequences
    -Top performers do the heavy lifting while others get away with doing nothing
    -Talent tends to leave Cryptic to join AAA studios across all disciplines. Cryptic is great at identifying new talent, but terrible at retaining it
    -Leads have their days booked with meetings from beginning to end, and are still expected to make individual contributions
    -Meetings are poorly moderated, and often yield no outcome, or the outcome is not recorded and soon forgotten
    -There are meetings to plan meetings

    Management:

    -Micromanagement from the executive level and production is chronic
    -No systematic approach to troubleshooting issues, which yields little to no learning
    -Discipline experts better judgment is often ignored in favor of what is perceived as a cheaper/faster approach
    -Management tends to pull rank to force their hand on decisions
    -Laughably unrealistic production timelines that favor cheap and fast
    -Crassness and lack of taste are very much in evidence during company meetings

    Quality bar:

    -The quality bar for art and content design is low and outdated
    -Engine is ancient, clunky and incapable of many things
    -Art and content are created in a vacuum where each individual contributor delivers their own divergent interpretation of ship-ready
    -The lack of oversight and the tight timelines result in things getting into the games with very little revisions
    -An abundance of poor taste exists in the executive level

    Diversity:

    -Little diversity throughout all areas
    -Almost no women in leadership positions
    -Women have to endure constant interruptions, patronizing, and being ignored or steamrolled in meetings
    -HR seems old fashioned and tends to turn a deaf ear to complaints that are not explicitly breaking the law
    -Trans individuals are subjected to constant mis-gendering with little to no action from HR

    Salaries and benefits:

    -Cryptic has its own nomenclature for titles and stages of development, which are not in line with current industry standards and therefore very confusing for individuals job seeking out of Cryptic
    -Salaries are below industry standards, and tremendously low for the area of Los Gatos
    -People face horrid commutes, and there is a reluctance to implement options for telecommuting
    -Benefits are terrible
    -Facilities are cheap and hardware given to employees is terrible unless they are an engineer
    -Disorganized performance reviews that are often late

    All in all, Cryptic is a studio that has fallen behind the times and shows little impetus to change things for the better. I do not recommend this workplace to anyone who wants to learn, improve, or produce quality games.

    Advice to Management

    If you wish to lift Cryptic our of the ranks of B level game studios, you will need to invest in quality salaries for talent, and dropping a lot of legacy dead weight.

  3. "Pretty good company"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Jose, CA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Jose, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Good, friendly atmosphere, minimal crunch, pretty stable.

    Cons

    Aging proprietary engine, Fandom of the IPs can and has stifled new and interesting directions to take those IPs.

    Advice to Management

    Always leveraging other IPs is a way to stay in business, but it wont't make your studio a magnet for talent


  4. Helpful (2)

    "Good Company for Gamers"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior Individual Contributor in Los Gatos, CA
    Former Employee - Senior Individual Contributor in Los Gatos, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Cryptic Studios full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    - Most people are very into their games, if you are a MMO gamer you'll fit in great

    - Everyone from IC to CEO is genuinely nice

    - Low stress work environment (may not always be true for Engineering or Production)

    - They advocate for work life balance: you are encouraged to put your family first, always, including children

    - If you play their games, they may or may not grant you a huge amount of in-game currency and hard to find items. Wink wink.

    - Good salary and great benefits, including 401k

    - Safe career where you can spend many years developing

    Bottom line, if you like Cryptic's games, you'll almost certainly enjoy working here. Many of the people at Cryptic have been there for 3, 4, 5, or 6+ years. That's a clear testament to the quality of the culture.

    Cons

    I liked working here, but of course I didn't stay, and there are some reasons for that. I want to stress though, IT HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH THE PEOPLE. Everyone at Cryptic was nice, smart, and helpful.

    Basically, you really need to like MMOs and gaming, and I just don't. Maybe you do, but I can't get into the games to the extent that you'd need to enjoy the work. Many people are jealous of people who make games for a living, but they rapidly lose their allure when you do nothing but talk about them for years. That's kind of my own thing though.

    Another issue is also kind of personal, in that I was looking for a more fast paced and difficult job with, being honest, even more money. They pay very well at Cryptic, but personally there's no amount of money that is "enough" to me. If you want a safe career where you don't have to worry, Cryptic makes a compelling choice.

    The one issue that I could see being a problem is the location. Los Gatos is convenient to people who live near Los Gatos, and that's it. There is no public transit nearby, so if you don't have a car you will have a lot of trouble working here. Additionally, they don't provide lunch and there are essentially no restaurants within walking distance. So if you don't bring a lunch, guess what, you need to drive to get some.

    Advice to Management

    I think the culture that Cryptic has built is great. Hiring people to help foster that makes this a wonderful company to work for.


  5. "One of the best places to make games"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Albany, OR
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Albany, OR
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Cryptic Studios full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    Good work-life balance
    Lots of fun and friendly people and great atmosphere
    Creative energy everywhere
    In-house tools are powerful and flexible
    Lenient and accommodating time off
    Excellent health benefits
    Seasoned professionals with lots to teach

    Cons

    A lot of passion can lead to a lot of infighting
    Powerful tools take time to master
    Pay was low when I was there, but I hear that's improved
    Located in California, and California is expensive!

    Advice to Management

    Keep improving pay - California is expensive!
    More arcade cabinets in the game room


  6. "Good"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Character Artist in Los Gatos, CA
    Current Employee - Senior Character Artist in Los Gatos, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Good people, good place, good hours

    Cons

    Pay not highly competitive, Bonus not enough compared to what parent company makes in annual revenue.


  7. Helpful (1)

    "Chill, friendly company. Nothing ground-breaking here though."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • 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
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    + Unlike many other game studios - crunch is uncommon, and people's work schedule is quite flexible. No problem taking a day off now and then.
    + The people here are friendly, and not overworked. There's a lot of activities both company-wide as well as 2-5 people getting together during lunch or after work to play some tabletop game.
    + The office is pretty cool, and got better throughout the last couple years. There's free snacks in the cafeteria, a lunch truck comes in nearly every day, sometimes the corp picks up the bill for that.
    + CEO Stephen is a cool guy, seems friendly and approachable. He's been in the corp for over 10 years, started as a CTO. He actually wrote some of the engine's source code. He knows many things - from engineering to business and marketing. PR and simply keeping employees happy.
    + There are lots of engineers who REALLY know their stuff.
    + Neverwinter on PS4 was a blast. In fact both games took off quite well on consoles.

    + The company really has a positive vibe all over it :-) Unlike my previous job - I see genuinely happy faces from Monday morning, throughout the week, to Friday evening!

    Cons

    Not neccessarily cons, but things to keep in mind:
    +/- The location... Los Gatos - much like the company - pretty chill. Close to Silicon Valley. Expensive to have a family. Not a lot of opportunities to create one :-D

    +/- Management is playing it safe with the new title. Definately not shooting for the stars... Can we at least try to hit the Moon? No?..

    +/- There isn't much if any innovation going on. Neither from the tech standpoint nor game design. The engine is old, it's been patched for 15+ years by people most of whom have since churned by now, but there are some things in it from early 2000-s that may or may not have been an OK idea back then but don't work very well today.
    Such things do get fixed... Eventually...

    +/- Game design is anything but revolutionary. Not neccesarily a bad thing. Neverwinter is riding the D&D franchise, it's a good game if you like the D&D lore. It gets plastic surgery now and then so the 15+ year old engine doesn't show through as much.
    Star Trek is pretty much living off selling new ships with every update.

    -/+ Career-wise, as others have pointed out - not a ton of challenge nor opportunity to create "really awesome cutting edge stuff" - neither art not tech-wise. No running with scissors here.

    Advice to Management

    Honestly - the company is very good at what it's trying to be - a friendly, chill environment that makes games for casual players / fans of D&D, Star Trek or Magic. Keep up the good work!

  8. "Great at first"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Cryptic Studios full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Nice Location.
    Office space is comfortable and pleasant.

    Cons

    Frequent miscommunication.
    Adversarial management abounds.
    Benefits are weak to say the least

    Advice to Management

    Examine high employee turnover.


  9. Helpful (4)

    "Safe and Comfortable But Not Challenging"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Artist in Los Gatos, CA
    Former Employee - Artist in Los Gatos, CA
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Cryptic Studios full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Definitely a very comfortable place to settle at. Lots of people there have families and you can depend on being able to leave consistently on time. Hours are very flexible and the people are very warm and easy to talk to. Overall just very safe and mellow work-wise and cultural-wise.

    Cons

    Although very comfortable, it was too comfortable and not challenging for me. The work got very boring and repetitive very fast, where the tasks were essentially recycling the exact same pattern/recipe over and over and over.


  10. Helpful (2)

    "Lack of internal hires gives no incentives for employee loyalty"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - QA Analyst in Los Gatos, CA
    Former Employee - QA Analyst in Los Gatos, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Cryptic Studios full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    - Occasional company outings for sci-fi/fantasy movies
    - Located in Los Gatos which is a great, quiet neighborhood, and is right next to the large and beautiful Vasona Park
    - The medical benefits were pretty good from what I remember

    Cons

    - Highly political environment
    - Resistance to hiring internally and developing their employees gives very little reason for people to be loyal, and go the extra mile since at the end of the day it won't amount to anything
    - Salaries/hourly wage is low compared to other MMORPG developers

    Advice to Management

    New blood is needed at all leadership/management levels because with that will come a new vision and new culture. Give people a reason to stick around by compensating them well, and giving them opportunities to grow.