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The CEO of Crytek has stepped down

Cevat Yerli’s brothers will take over leadership of the company that created the Crysis, Far Cry franchises

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Charlie Hall is Polygon’s tabletop editor. In 10-plus years as a journalist & photographer, he has covered simulation, strategy, and spacefaring games, as well as public policy.

Cevat Yerli, the founder of Crytek, is stepping down from his role as chief executive and president of the company. According to a press release posted at the company’s website, brothers Avni and Faruk Yerli will carry on as joint CEOs.

“With the company in a strong position,” Cevat said, “now is the ideal time to recognize the existing leadership’s excellent achievements over these past two years and formally transition executive leadership to Avni and Faruk.”

The announcement comes at a precarious time for the German company. Hunt: Showdown, the mission-based survival shooter, launched on Steam’s Early Access platform just last week. The game is in active development, and actively attracting a new player base. Crytek also launched its own cryptocurrency earlier this year in Turkey, where it will pay players of its free-to-play online shooter Warface for meeting certain in-game milestones. It is also actively suing the team behind the Star Citizen projects in U.S. federal court for copyright violations, breach of contract and alleged collusion related to their use of the CryEngine game engine.

Today’s press release said that an investment of capital late last year has “fortified” the company and put it in a good position for future growth. Crytek did not name the group or individuals who made the investment.

Left to right, the Yerli brothers Faruk, Cevat and Avni at dinner in 2013 near their headquarters in Frankfurt, Germany.
Tom Connors/Polygon

Crytek has had significant money troubles in the past. In 2014 it was unable to pay its employees. The organization was on the verge of insolvency, Yerli said at the time, when an injection of cash brought it back from the brink. Kotaku reported that the company received millions from Amazon in 2015, which based its own Lumberyard game engine on CryEngine technology. Following a round of studio closures in Dec. 2016, Crytek sold its Bulgaria-based Black Sea studio to Sega. Its remaining studios include a large team at its headquarters in Frankfurt, Germany as well as teams in Kiev, Ukraine and Istanbul, Turkey.

Polygon profiled Cevat and his brothers in 2013 following a visit to Crytek’s studios to preview the Xbox One launch title Rise: Son of Rome. You can read about how the Yerli brothers snuck into E3, bluffing their way into the games industry, in our feature story.

Crytek said that Cevat will continue on as an advisor in the role of “strategic shareholder.”

“I have been honored to serve as CEO of the company I founded with my brothers almost 20 years ago and have seen the team accomplish breakthrough things in that time,” Cevat said. “I look forward to continue helping Crytek as a major shareholder, and I am very excited to see what tomorrow brings. I have every confidence that the company will continue to shine under the guidance of Avni, Faruk, and the rest of the leadership team.”

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