Game Workers Unite investigates Quantic Dream for sexual harassment and assault
Game Workers Unite is joining the French union Solidaires Informatique to call for testimonies regarding potential sex predators at Quantic Dream.
In a press release, Game Workers Unite stated: “We have been informed of acts of sexual harassment and sexual assault committed against women who work and have worked in the company. These offenses are extremely serious and are punishable by law, however they seem to be repeated with impunity for several years because of a strong omerta, this must stop.”
Quantic Dream is a French developer known for narrative-heavy games such as Heavy Rain, Beyond: Two Souls and most recently, Detroit: Become Human. This won’t be their first brush with controversy, unfortunately.
Just last year, Quantic Dream lost a court case over employee harassment related to several inappropriately edited images of employees spread around via email. French outlet Canard PC then released the results of their investigation, revealing a history of rampant sexism and racism. The studio also had a toxic and abusive work culture, resulting in overworked employees.
Co-CEO Guillaume de Fondaumière didn’t seem to think much of these allegations back then, however. Responding to Variety, who were inquiring upon Quantic Dream’s legal status, he said: “We don’t pretend to be a ‘perfect’ company – no company is. But we do work hard and will continue to do so, every day, to offer our team an enjoyable work environment, good compensation – in particular paying overtime when extra work is necessary at the end of a project – and inspiring projects to work on.”
If the stories are anything to go by, however, not a word of his statement contains any truth.
The gaming industry is at an ethical crossroads
It appears the game industry is slowly but collectively having its own #MeToo moment. Journalists are finally peeling back the layers of these large-scale companies to reveal what makes them tick, and more importantly, how they treat their employees. The general answer to that second question is not very optimistic, if recent news stories are anything to go by.
Riot, Gearbox, Rockstar, NetherRealm and Bioware are just a few of the gaming giants that have already been dealt a heavy blow with such stories coming out, revealing how dysfunctional and oftentimes detrimental their management systems can be. One can only hope that these stories and their ongoing discussions are already causing change in the industry, but time will have to tell.
Image — Detroit: Become Human/Quantic Dream