‘We will never be the same’: Cryptic is adopting a permanent work-from-home policy

The office will stay open, but devs don't have to return post-pandemic


A lot of gaming companies, including MMO companies, shifted to working from home when the COVID pandemic began in earnest last year. And one of the “silver linings” of the pandemic was supposed to be making work-from-home more acceptable than ever – that maybe offices would become all but moot. Not a lot of mid-size-and-up gaming companies have seized that yet, but Cryptic is going for it.

Last night, Star Trek Online’s Al Rivera explained that the last year has taught the studio, which also operates Neverwinter, Champions Online, and Magic Legends, that going office-optional is a path it wants to take, even when the pandemic is over.

“As we move forward, Cryptic has decided that we will be adopting a permanent work from home policy,” he tweeted. “We will maintain our office, and we will eventually open our doors once again. Some will return but many have chosen to continue to work from home partly or fully forever.”

“We will never be the same. Many companies are realizing this and embracing this new format. A video games company being productive while 100% remote was once considered impossible. I thought that myself a year ago. But we have proven it is not only possible, it is effective. Pandemic aside, working from home has been very effective for most. Lack of human contact is a real issue, but we have learned that working from home has a lot of real benefits. Most of the team enjoys the freedoms it brings. But there is certainly down sides. Not the least of which is not seeing our coworkers. Our team will never be the same. There are many people I may never see in person again and I never got to say goodbye. There is a real mourning associated with this. The complete ramifications is still unknown.”

The whole thread is quite a bit longer as Rivera also discusses how Cryptic made the transition and how the pandemic has affected him personally, as well as thanks STO players for their support.

Source: Twitter. Cheers, Stormwaltz!
Afternoon update
MOP reader GrandNagus pointed us to the STO subreddit, where this afternoon one Cryptic developer has posted more about the decision that suggests the studio was extremely anti-work-from-home prior to the pandemic, largely for security reasons. Jesse “Trekhead” Heinig writes, “When the pandemic shut us down, we basically had two choices. One, figure out some way to get everyone up and running again ASAP. Two, shut the company into maintenance mode, furlough most of the team, and keep a tiny critical staff to keep the games limping along with no updates until the pandemic ended.” Ultimately, the management went with the first option, and in spite of the challenges, the games and teams were just fine and have shifted into this “new normal.”
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