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Crytek sheds Warface and Warface’s development team

Kiev developers leaving, forming their own studio to take over the game

Crytek Kiev/Crytek
Owen S. Good is a longtime veteran of video games writing, well known for his coverage of sports and racing games.

Warface’s developers are leaving Crytek and taking the game with them, leaving the publisher with just one one current video game project.

Crytek announced on Wednesday that the six-year-old Warface will now be developed by an independent studio, Blackwood Games, formed by Warface’s creative director, Michael Khaimzon, and the current development team from Crytek’s Kiev studio.

Crytek Kiev, Crytek’s Frankfurt headquarters, and a studio in Turkey were the only development sites left after a 2016 reorganization, the company’s second in two years, sold off five other studios.

“Blackwood will take over all further development of the Warface franchise, including all previously announced updates,” Crytek said in a statement, calling the move “an important strategic and structural change.” It didn’t say what the fate of Kiev studio will be.

“This reorganization will allow us to focus on our own core IPs and long-term plans,” Avni Yerli, Crytek’s chief executive, said in a statement.

The move follows a year in which Crytek founder Cevat Yerli stepped down as chief executive, handing control to his brothers Avni and Faruk. Later in 2018, Crytek sold the Timesplitters franchise to THQ Nordic.

Crytek’s lone announced game in development is Hunt: Showdown, currently in early access on Steam. That game began life in 2013 when Crytek opened its Crytek USA studio with the remnants of Darksiders developer Vigil Games, dispersed in THQ’s bankruptcy that year. Crytek USA’s leadership abruptly quit amid the troubles of 2014 and development on that game was brought back to Crytek’s Frankfurt headquarters.

In 2016, Crytek closed another five development studios, leaving it with just the Frankfurt and Kiev studios. At the time, Crytek said it would focus on its CryEngine technology and would continue to “develop and work on premium IPs.” It has since published two titles, The Climb and Robinson: The Journey, both virtual reality experiences.

Warface, a free-to-play first-person shooter, originally launched on Windows PC in 2013 and then on Xbox 360 in 2014. At its peak that year it boasted 25 million users. Warface began offering a battle royale mode at the end of 2017 as that craze was in full swing, and then launched on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in late summer last year. In November, it was among several titles getting keyboard-and-mouse control support on Xbox One, along with Warframe (no relation), War Thunder, Wargroove and Warhammer: Vermintide 2.

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