Cryptic Studios Reviews | Glassdoor

Cryptic Studios Reviews

Updated July 5, 2017
43 reviews

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  1. "Great Company, so-so publisher"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • 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
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Great wages, good community, good people.

    Cons

    Perfect World (their publisher) is not the best around. Their studio in Redwood City is an inefficient mess, and it tends to impact Cryptic employees more than it should.

    Advice to Management

    Work to further shield employees from PWE's mistakes.


  2. Helpful (9)

    "Was good at beginning, and then...."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • 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

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

    Pros

    - great employee benefit, a lot of company outings and holidays
    - got work around some very talented people
    - co-workers in the same team or department often become friends for life
    - pet friendly, gamer friendly

    Cons

    - poor management.
    - poor planning, poor communication, and despite many company meetings and post-mortems to address the issues, they were never improved. Same mistake will keep happening over and over and over again.
    - horrible management personnel and is very clique-y, if someone doesn't like you on a personal level for any reason, you have no advancement opportunity even if you've done great work and has helped the development on multiple levels (even with people from multiple disciplines to back your work). It's often one way communication and it will stuck somewhere and never goes through. It somehow felt very unprofessional.
    - blame games happen way too often.

    Advice to Management

    please improve your communication, and be professional doing it too.

  3. Helpful (8)

    "Been looking rather grim"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • 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

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

    Pros

    It's a non-mobile, PC (and to some extent, console) game company that's been around for quite a while despite the tough times.

    The atmosphere is casual, gamer-friendly, pet-friendly, and people often take on cross-disciplinary responsibilities (it's a pro if you want to be more involved, but a con when it results in being forced into a role you don't want for a very very long time like it did for some people).

    Cons

    Poor management, very outdated tech, frustrating proprietary tools, as well as the attitudes from management that makes mediocrity thrive. Also, lack of leadership within each department--especially art and production.

    Being a game studio, it's understandable that there are crunches every now and then. What's frustrating is that most of the crunches could have easily been avoided, and those who crunch aren't rewarded. Despite post-mortems, same thing happens over and over.

    Some of the managers are terrible when it comes to performance reviews; they just don't seem to care or appreciate all the extra time and effort you've put in to meet their demands. Needless to say, compensations aren't great.

    Advice to Management

    Pay attention to the people. Reward the ones that are talented and work hard, and promptly get rid of people who are not. Listen to what people are saying. Holding post-mortems won't change anything if you don't listen.


  4. Helpful (6)

    "Awful Company"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior Developer in Palo Alto, CA
    Former Employee - Senior Developer in Palo Alto, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    They have an office I guess?

    Cons

    Worst management I've ever encountered
    Terrible project planning and foresight
    Knee-jerk style development driven by invisible heads without accountability
    Lied about office location, salary/bonuses, genre of game, etc. Overall just a greedy, untrustworthy organization

    Advice to Management

    Leave the company


  5. Helpful (10)

    "Horridly arrogant management team"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • 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
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    They make games but lets not kid ourselves.. cryptic isn't known for good games.. They have a few nice people (that aren't management).

    Cons

    Management are complete BS artists and liars. Jack gives great speeches and its really easy to fall for his rhetoric but believe me, its all smoke and mirrors. Their management team is a club of old buddies that really don't give a crap about anybody but themselves. A bunch of failed game designers that moved into management positions so they could do even less work while explaining to everybody else why their way is the right way.

    - Upper management is completely clueless but unbelievably arrogant.
    - They only make microtrans, free-to-play games. They simply want to trick their players into giving them money
    - Almost nobody at the company has any idea how their own engine works (none of the original devs have been at the company in years)
    - Did I mention how arrogant all of their management is? Just wow..
    -They aren't afraid to lay people off creatively so there is little/no severance package

    I've literally heard their upper management team discussing putting out a piece of crap game just so they can recup costs and make a quick buck. its disgusting. If you're looking for a place to hide out for a while or boost your resume and you don't care what you work on its not a horrible place to be. If you're a passionate game dev, don't bother with this place.

    Advice to Management

    There is a good reason why PWE doesn't want anything to do with you anymore. They're going to dump the whole company on the first publisher to make an offer just to get away from Jack


  6. Helpful (5)

    "A comfortable place to work but liimiting"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Seattle, WA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Seattle, WA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    -comfortable environment with space to relax and get away from your desk if you need to
    -everyone is pretty relaxed and pleasant to be around
    -barely any crunch

    Cons

    -doesn't spend the money to get the best talent or keep their best talent
    -management bottlenecks all decisions
    -people want to make great games at cryptic but management is too focused on what is doing well in the marketplace and not in creating something truly unique...its a business I know

    Advice to Management

    you play it safe too much, hire up some talent with a vision and make something great


  7. "Decent place to start a career"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • 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
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    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.

  8. Helpful (10)

    "Capable developers hobbled by ignorant management"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • 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
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    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 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.


  9. Helpful (5)

    "Just like the movies, the Directors run the show."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • 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
    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.


  10. "Cryptic Studios"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • 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
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    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.


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