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VentureBeat: How Crytech hired the ex-Vigil team based on one meeting

scitek

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More here: http://venturebeat.com/2013/02/04/h...-the-ex-vigil-team-based-on-a-single-meeting/


NOTE: The spelling of Crytek isn't my error, it's how they spelled it in their title.

Sorry if posted already.

Excerpts:

At this point, Yerli told me that he based his decision to act quickly on his conversations with Adams and his time with the Darksiders games. Yerli hasn’t finished Darksiders II, but he likes what he’s played so far.

“This is probably the fastest establishment ever [for a new studio],” Yerli told GamesBeat through a laugh. “I don’t think you could establish a studio faster than this. Only a few people within Crytek even knew this was happening because we didn’t have time to update people. So it was a surprise for a lot of people within Crytek.”

So I asked Yerli what gave him the confidence to move so boldly in this situation. “I met with David and some of his former colleagues and his dear friends,” said Yerli. “I shared with them, before meeting the other team members, how I see the world. I told them what we want to do and where we want to go [with Crytek]. But I also wanted to get to know them. I wanted to know them as humans, as team members, and as friends. And within a short amount of time I got very comfortable with David and his friends.”

Yerli said he wasn’t worried about discovering the developers’ technical or creative abilities because he believes that the Darksiders games speak for themselves.

“I was thinking that if the [whole] team showed up to the Sunday meeting in full number, as David said they would, it would show implicitly the trust and respect the team has for David,” said Yerli. “And when they all showed up and expressed that they really wanted to work together — that team integrity and the fact that they really didn’t want to split up was enough for me to say this goes beyond an interview.”

In fact, Yerli didn’t interview any of them.

“We’re a team that likes to prove ourselves,” Adams said in response. “We relish the opportunity to be put in a situation where we can prove our worth, and we’re all so dedicated to show Cevat that his initial instincts about us were not incorrect.”

Also, Crytek has no interest in pursuing the Darksiders property rights, so the studio is starting from scratch.

“It’s not like we set the team on a specific game concept,” said Yerli. “They’re actually going to work on what David and the team identifies as what they want to do. Right now, they just know what the strategy of Crytek is and the framework we need to satisfy, but none of that drives what the game is about.”

The CEO did tell me two things about the game: It will use Crytek’s CryEngine development tech, and it “is going to be awesome.”
 

Gbraga

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Aug 6, 2009
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Awesome!

I'd really like to see a character action game with tragic's combat using CryEngine3!
 

vocab

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Feb 12, 2009
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Play more of ds2 before you say its great, because god, what a boring ass game with wasted potential.
 

Elixist

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Apr 6, 2010
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So is their game that really cool new thing they hinted about when they were goin down? Color me interested,.
 

MikeE21286

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Jun 15, 2007
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Let's hope it works out then.

Seemed like they might have jumped in bed together quite quickly from that article.
 

Haunted

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That's awesome. Yerli is awesome.


Interesting (if already known) tidbit:

“We had chosen Austin as the destination for [our U.S. branch], and we needed a lean and core team of expert to run the studio,” said Yerli. “At the same time, we didn’t want to continue with Darksiders 3, since that doesn’t fit with our strategy. So when I heard that [THQ laid off everyone at Vigil], I decided on Saturday morning to fly out to meet with them to see if the team would be interested to join our mission, which is significantly different than what this team has done before.”
 

Kunan

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May 21, 2007
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Awesome. I was greatly saddened to hear of the team's potential death. I like the approach Crytek is taking here. Don't shackle them to their old IPs; let them make something new. Should ensure that their top talent doesn't end up going anywhere, and gives a bright outlook to the team. This has to be quite relieving, considering the veil of imminent destruction held over them the past year and a half.
 

AgentOtaku

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Nov 21, 2005
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Cool story

<3 Crytek very much and it saddens me that I won't be able to play Crytek 3 when it drops. Don't have a gaming PC anymore and the PS3 version looks/runs like dogshit
 

batteryLeakage

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Nov 14, 2012
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Its nice that the talent behind Vigil has landed on their feet, but I am a bit concerned about Crytek's insistence that free to play is the future. I liked Vigil's output in Darksiders, but I don't see how that kind of product works within the bound of f2p. And if they just become Shooter Studio #12, that's kind of a shame.

Of course, the f2p transition has worked well for titles like TF2 and it is still a young business model, so perhaps someone will figure out how to monetize narrative action-adventure titles in a way that is not too intrusive. I'm just hoping that f2p means more than arena-based multiplayer shooters and actionRTS.
 

SapientWolf

Trucker Sexologist
Jul 4, 2004
35,733
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Play more of ds2 before you say its great, because god, what a boring ass game with wasted potential.
Is it worse than DS1? Because I got a kick out of that game. The combat in DS2 also looks completely bananas. Easily the most stylish combat I've seen in a Western game.
 

WickedCobra03

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Very happy this happened and all of the people out of vigil are hopefully still together and no one has or is planning to jump ship.
 

scitek

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Its nice that the talent behind Vigil has landed on their feet, but I am a bit concerned about Crytek's insistence that free to play is the future. I liked Vigil's output in Darksiders, but I don't see how that kind of product works within the bound of f2p. And if they just become Shooter Studio #12, that's kind of a shame.

Of course, the f2p transition has worked well for titles like TF2 and it is still a young business model, so perhaps someone will figure out how to monetize narrative action-adventure titles in a way that is not too intrusive. I'm just hoping that f2p means more than arena-based multiplayer shooters and actionRTS.

I'm not convinced that Crytek will go all-F2P. I expect some more traditional AAA games to come from them after Homefront 2.
 

atbigelow

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At the same time, we didn’t want to continue with Darksiders 3, since that doesn’t fit with our strategy.

Random assumption that their next project was DS3. THQ never actually said what it was they were working on, but not a huge leap of faith.
 

Omega

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Sep 9, 2009
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amazing. hire someone immediately off a game you like, but don't pick up the rights to that game.

fuck you crytek. no one wants another shitty F2P game. We want Darksiders 3.
 

scitek

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Random assumption that their next project was DS3. THQ never actually said what it was they were working on, but not a huge leap of faith.

If it was, the IP would have been included with the sale of Vigil at auction. The IP wasn't included because they weren't working on it.

amazing. hire someone immediately off a game you like, but don't pick up the rights to that game.

fuck you crytek. no one wants another shitty F2P game. We want Darksiders 3.

Well, the good thing about Vigil is they've proven they can start a new IP from scratch and have success. Who's to say they can't do that again?
 

Nilaul

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Sep 8, 2011
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Lets hope that Crytek will make them play test their games and remove all their bugs.
 

apana

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Crytek has produced some fascinating fantasy concept art in the past. I would like to see it developed into a game. It could also be another way for them to advertise their engine which will be in competition with Unreal 4.
 

DieH@rd

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Dec 9, 2006
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Crytek has produced some fascinating fantasy concept art in the past. I would like to see it developed into a game. It could also be another way for them to advertise their engine which will be in competition with Unreal 4.







 

GuitarAtomik

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What was that project called that Tragic/Rubin mentioned they were prototyping? Are they allowed to continue working on that?
 

BronsonLee

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ITT, people get mad because they won't get a second sequel to a game because the formerly unemployed developer was able to stay together and get new jobs
 

Neuromancer

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Its nice that the talent behind Vigil has landed on their feet, but I am a bit concerned about Crytek's insistence that free to play is the future. I liked Vigil's output in Darksiders, but I don't see how that kind of product works within the bound of f2p. And if they just become Shooter Studio #12, that's kind of a shame.

Of course, the f2p transition has worked well for titles like TF2 and it is still a young business model, so perhaps someone will figure out how to monetize narrative action-adventure titles in a way that is not too intrusive. I'm just hoping that f2p means more than arena-based multiplayer shooters and actionRTS.
Yeah I'm concerned about this as well. I guess we'll see.
 

Corto

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Never thought multimillion dollars business were dealt like this. Really great stuff. Kudos for Yerli for having the nuts to trust his instincts and and the ex-Vigil team. Can't wait to see what they are cooking.

It will use Crytek’s CryEngine development tech, and it “is going to be awesome."

I really think something great will come out of this.
 

Vilam

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I find behind the scenes stories like this fascinating... The article is interesting enough on it's own, but then a former Vigil employee posted a lengthy comment to the article just yesterday which gives a different perspective. I'll post the full contents of those comments here as who knows if they'll remain beneath that article. I'd hope nobody intends to try and out the person who wrote the comment though, to me it just provides some interesting context from someone who was presumably a foot soldier of the studio that you wouldn't normally hear from.

ex-Vigil employee said:
After reading this, an ex-Vigil employee, I have to say a few words.

http://venturebeat.com/2013/02/04/h...igil-team-based-on-a-single-meeting/view-all/

That's not exactly how it went down, close but not the entire truth.

"Crytek USA was the result of a single meeting" ....not quite, there were a few approaches and backdoor discussions as shit was hitting the fan, foolish to think otherwise.

We were all surprised nobody bid on us, but the more pieces of information that come forth start to build a more ominous picture of maybe why Vigil died in this manner, and why half the studio was left out in the cold.

True Vigil wasn't working on Darksider 3, we made a prototype of a brand new product. It was multiplayer likely of being a free to play title, incorporated some pop features; auto generated environments, crafting, endless content, etc...

Rubin had repeatedly told us he was pitching this to all investors and that jaws were dropping - THEY LOVED US - We felt safe, we stuck around. Loyal to a fault.

Adams is "passionate about what he does" but certainly not "passionate about the team he works with" – Sure he has his favorites, but he's a results driven burn them into the ground until it's done, kind of guy. The only reason I say this is in hope he will change for the better, for the people he took with him. They are talented and good people who deserve a break. There's a reason not everyone (who got asked) signed up for Vigil 2.0

Adams was in talks with Crytek prior to the shutdown but nothing was certain or decided. It was a “wait and see how the auction goes period” from what I could tell.

Someone is telling lies though. Either Crytek about the "too many unknowns" or Rubin "jaws dropped". Did Rubin keep things hush-hush so as to keep the bids low? Did Crytek know everything, but seeing no bids, opted for the freebie fallout? I'm guessing the latter but who knows, doesn't matter now, unfortunately good people got screwed because of it.

So this is how it really went down that day ... Adams was told to pick his "core team" in order for the deal to happen. Nothing wrong in that, after all there was a large population of the studio that had just been worn down and beaten for so long, all this waiting to see if we had jobs dragging on, you can go as far back as the layoffs to see morale never really improved in the studio.

Let me rewind briefly - THQ handled the layoffs so poorly it just killed us, It’s half the reason Darksiders 2 was so buggy and lacked polish – they fired part of the team,
DMO was dead in the water months before this ever happened and some of them had started to help out on Darksiders 2. There was also change of structure after Darksiders 2 that never really panned out, people were disheartened, disgruntled and felt powerless in their jobs. The other large issue at Vigil was because Adams is a control freak; he's a designer, a programmer, a level builder, if he could animate he would ....yes smart and talented and for the most part a nice guy on his good days. But, your work and duties basically revolve around his needs, once you make peace with that you could be successful at Vigil. Your job ultimately was to run around and make sure the master is pleased. In his defense, he got better towards the end, realizing his tactics we're not profitable after 6 years. Sure we made some cool stuff but it took blood, sweat and in some cases literal tears, oh and Darksiders never made money. Maybe Adams did what he had to do, THQ was of no help at all, full of false promises and lacking support in all areas, or maybe we just weren’t honest with them on how troubled Vigil was.

Ok, back to The Day - So here's the part that smarts ... How Crytek USA really got formed; As we're all standing around in the lobby watching Rubin and that brainless muppet (aka Brian “I’m alright jack, keep your hands off my stack” Farrell) tell us of our demise on the big screen. Adams is slyly walking through the bodies, when he suddenly stops at one, taps on a shoulder and gives a nod "hey, got a minute" ...and off they sneak somewhere, only to come back a few moments later somewhat red faced (maybe shame, or glee, at this point hard to tell), then he pauses for a few minutes pretending to give a shit what is being said by that numbnut Farrell, then moves to the next recruit for Crytek USA, and so on. Not so sly after all but really kind of just rude and disrespectful to the rest of us that noticed or didn't get the tap. The deal already in place, now the hand picking of the crew, while the Rubin/Farrell speech is still happening. So what we got here is; wait to confirm Vigil is a bust, then right away form Crytek USA.

Adams - "my mind was really focused on finding people a place to land" - horseshit - he was so busy starting his new venture he didn't even address the studio that day, as half of us shuffled about gathering our things, he and the other half quickly took off trying not to let on of their new found luck. As a GM he has failed miserably, but this was his shining moment of failures, ignoring the people that gave him way more than he was entitled to take from each of us. To this day he hasn’t “focused on finding us a place to land”.

Alright now, bitterness aside. I have no doubt things will work out this time round, I'm pretty sure Crytek won't put up with the usual missing deadlines and unruly behavior. He's lucked out as CEO, but those job chores will fall to some other guy anyway, as Adams will be working hard designing, coding and building levels as usual.

In the end Rubin tried hard and THQ would've collapsed months earlier had it not been for him. THQ shafted ex-employees hard and cold - no lube, no severance, no vacation payout, no career events, no leads, no gatherings, nothing. Zero, zip, nada!

Best of luck Crytek USA - you do have some talented people right there, but you could've had more.
 

ii Stryker

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Jan 21, 2011
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DS2 was dull. Hopefully, if Crytek owns the DS IP, Vigil can give us the proper sequel.

This news piece makes me feel so warm and fuzzy inside it makes me almost want to get Crysis 3 at launch...almost.
 

subversus

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Oct 26, 2009
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I find behind the scenes stories like this fascinating... The article is interesting enough on it's own, but then a former Vigil employee posted a lengthy comment to the article just yesterday which gives a different perspective. I'll post the full contents of those comments here as who knows if they'll remain beneath that article. I'd hope nobody intends to try and out the person who wrote the comment though, to me it just provides some interesting context from someone who was presumably a foot soldier of the studio that you wouldn't normally hear from.

thanks, that was a fantastic read.
 

Corto

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Thanks Vilam for that post. It felt indeed too rose tinted of a picture that "one meeting-no interview decision" scenario. I still hope that sopmething great comes out of this whole debacle though.