Cryptic Studios Reviews | Glassdoor

Cryptic Studios Reviews

Updated February 16, 2017
38 reviews

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3.0
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Stephen D'Angelo
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38 Employee Reviews

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  1. "Great place to work!"

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

    I have been working at Cryptic Studios full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    Cryptic provides a fun, family-like atmosphere, in which to work. As a mid-sized company, competing for the type of prestige normally held by some of the nearby tech giants, Cryptic manages to provide many of the benefits and perks of a large company, without losing the small office feel, so many enjoy.

    Management is extremely supportive of the employees, here at Cryptic. Encouraging personal and professional growth, as well as supporting the personal needs of all employees.

    I am also immensely proud of the innovation & creativity Cryptic and its teams bring to bear, in producing excellent game content. It seems that no matter the deadline or no matter the difficult task to handle, we get it done.

    Cons

    As a smaller company, Cryptic isn't able to offer many of the higher-end perks, commonly found at larger tech companies in Silicon Valley.


  2. "good artists led by mediocre vision"

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

    I worked at Cryptic Studios full-time

    Pros

    Company stability is fairly strong, they've continued to make games despite any issues I bring up
    good company culture, pretty much everyone there is a nerd just trying to make fun games
    Passionate talented art team
    talented engineering team led to quick implementation on some pretty cool tools
    proprietary engine lets those engineers flex their muscles
    Relatively open opportunities to take up larger responsibilities within the company
    New CEO was formerly the CTO, so I assume the engineering side is a good place to be now

    Cons

    First off, keep in mind my review is a bit outdated, but some of these problems have remained from the people I stay in contact with.
    hard to keep good talent here because of constant focus on uninspired work to hit the bottom line
    often creating art below individual artists' capabilities can be discouraging
    not bad, but mediocre pay compared to the area
    unfortunately, opportunities for advancement within the company also comes with greater political involvement
    proprietary engine also leads to a good chunk of the engineering team being put on support and away from other important feature requests and improvements
    at the time i worked there, we didn't technically crunch - but the implication was often there
    bad politics often led to people being thrown under the bus

    Advice to Management

    try to be more transparent with employees and let them do fulfilling work, and hopefully most of the bad departures from either quitting or layoffs can be kept to a minimum


  3. "Not Perfect, but Pretty Great"

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

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

    Pros

    Family-oriented - You will never be shamed for having or wanting a family
    Passion - Employees are there because they want to be there and have a stake in the final products
    Welcoming - Employees are very friendly and welcoming
    Less Crunching - There is no game company that doesn't crunch, but Cryptic tries to catch issues earlier so that you aren't crunching right before a launch
    Benefits - Cryptic offers $0 Health, Dental, and Vision insurance to individuals and families; they also offer animal insurance, pre-tax college plans, and more
    Longevity - There are numerous employees who have been around for 8-15 years
    Food - Mondays and Fridays provide free donuts and bagels, Mid-week provides fresh fruit; additionally there is daily free cereal, sandwich ingredients, ramen, and snacks; the company also has a deal with a CSA so you can get fresh veggies sent to the office for you

    Cons

    Some Pipeline and Communication issues - Though the company has gotten better with communication and transparency, there are still communication breakdowns and issues regarding due dates of various assets that often result in designers having to worry about their previous two tasks while handling their current task
    Morale - A couple of layoffs last year definitely took its toll on morale, but some management changes have done wonders to improving that morale
    Diabetes - Most of the available free food is very high in sugars (if you're worried about that sort of thing)

    Advice to Management

    Continue being open to positive change. We are moving in the right direction, so keep up the good work. Thanks.


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  5. Helpful (2)

    "Operations"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • 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

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

    Pros

    Cryptic is an amazing place to work! The incredible family atmosphere is what has kept me here for over 7 years.

    Cons

    We are a creative bunch who can and will do a lot with very little. That can be very stressful though pulling through it with the team and being successful is worth it.


  6. "Only if I had to"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Seattle, WA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Seattle, WA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook

    I worked at Cryptic Studios full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Some really good people in middle management and the trenches
    Good work/life balance most of the time

    Cons

    Owned by Perfect World, a publisher who puts an absurd burden on Cryptic to fund their North America operations. No matter how profitable Cryptic is, it will never be enough to feed the beast.

    Advice to Management

    Stick up for your self and get the corporate parent's hand out of your pocket.


  7. Helpful (2)

    "Good game company that needs some work"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • 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
    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Cryptic Studios full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    It's a relatively small company so you get to know everyone around you, and most are very friendly and eager to help each other.

    Cons

    Being a game company salary is at the lower end compared to other software. Middle management tends to take itself a bit too seriously.

    Advice to Management

    Ease up on straight top-down management and allow some more lateral thinking.


  8. "Decent place but questionable future"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Campbell, CA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Campbell, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Good work life balance
    Make an effort to keep employee's informed

    Cons

    No viable plan for the future
    Many things are under resourced

    Advice to Management

    Figure out where you are going


  9. Helpful (8)

    "One of the worst places to work"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Character Artist in Los Gatos, CA
    Former Employee - Character Artist in Los Gatos, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Cryptic Studios full-time

    Pros

    Being able to work on multiple games at one studio is a plus if they let you. Strong tech support.

    Cons

    Disrespectful upper management. Verbally abusive upper management. Very little care for art passion and artist growth. Deceitful tactics to keep employees underpaid and working long hours with no incentives or overtime pay. Jack Emmert is the most disrespectful CEO I have ever encountered.

    Advice to Management

    Please show any respect for your employees and treat them like people and not like machines.


  10. Helpful (9)

    "Not the worst place to work."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Los Gatos, CA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Los Gatos, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Cryptic Studios full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    They're very aware of their place in the industry. Unlike other companies that are 10+ years old, no one at Cryptic walks around talking about unseating Blizzard or Bethesda. The people that aren't in leadership are generally very dedicated, talented, and pleasant to work with. Although the company is old, they still care greatly about their product, and will take the time to record new VO with known actors to make fans happy.

    Cons

    Quite frankly, the leadership here is pretty tribal-minded. Throughout my years with the company, I heard phrases like, "No dissension in the ranks," "We have to present a united front to the team," and "Negativity unwelcome." These are relatively standard ideas/sayings, but they were used to basically reinforce the idea of, "If you're not with us, you're against us." No one at the upper levels is actually held accountable for failures, and outside factors, like Christmas or a layoff, are NEVER allowed to play into why a failure happened. The blame rolls downhill across all disciplines at Cryptic. And, like most companies that have been around awhile, there's a fair amount of favoritism and politicking that goes on at the top levels.

    Advice to Management

    Clean out your "old boys" club, or at least re-evaluate them. Many of the mid-upper management is only in place because they've lasted so long, not because they're the best person for the job.


  11. Helpful (4)

    "A good place to work and learn."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Test Analyst in Kirkland, WA
    Former Employee - Test Analyst in Kirkland, WA
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Cryptic Studios full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Cryptic has some really great people working for it, some of the best I have ever worked with. They support each other, are welcoming to new people, and often socialize together. The office regularly reverberates with laughter, jokes, movie quotes, etc.

    When under pressure, the entire team jumps in to help each other. It's amazing what this company can accomplish as small as it is. Everyone at Cryptic learns to be able to wear multiple hats (for some this is a con, but I see it as a pro).

    QA is valued and a strong part of the team, regularly interacting with producers, designers, and artists to make sure what goes live is as good as it can be.

    There is a great deal of knowledge among employees, and so it's a great place to learn.

    There's good work-life balance, and the HR team is top notch.

    Casual atmosphere, regular morale events.

    Cons

    Pay is low for Silicon Valley (primary reason why I left).

    Project management is a bit lacking. Cryptic has pulled off some near miraculous things (check the development time for Star Trek Online, or how quickly they got Neverwinter onto Xbox), but this has led management to believe that the teams will always pull through. As such, release schedules are often more ambitious than they should be, and only work if no one gets sick, takes vacation or leaves. When one or more of these appear, management is slow to adapt and adjust the schedule.

    One needs to be outgoing, and willing to ask others to teach one things to get the full benefit of learning opportunities at Cryptic as there is little formal on the job training. As I saw this as bothering people who had a lot to do (see above) I didn't get the learning and training I could have if I were more willing to impose on others.

    There can be unconscious discrimination against female designers. It's not overt, nor intentional, and is less than what's been reported in much of the game industry, but it's there.

    Advice to Management

    Get a hard-core Project Manager for each game, and give that individual the authority to set and adjust the schedule as needed, and to be able to override the EP, and Design Lead.

    Implement some more training programs, classes, etc. rather than expecting that people will just impose on others to learn.

    Schedule time to fix old, pre-existing bugs.



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