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Quantic Dream, the French studio that created Fahrenheit: Indigo Prophecy, Heavy Rain, Beyond: Two Souls and other games, has been accused of having an abusive work environment, according to reports of three French sources. Canard PC, Mediapart and Le Monde talked to former employees about the studio’s environment and its heads, David Cage and Guillaume de Fondaumière.
It is said that the situation ranges from general toxicity to racism to senior staff members talking inappropriately about female colleagues.
The reports also feature some info about a cache of photoshopped images in which pornographic photos have been mixed with the faces of employees and accompanied by homophobic, racist or sexist text (you can see some examples here).
Some of these images date back as far as 2013. In early 2017, an IT manager, who was a subject of one of the shots, discovered one of them in an email and found the rest on a freely-available work server. Cage and de Fondaumière stated they hadn’t seen the “worst” of these images until that point, but also said they had seen some which “were funny or more or less amusing”.
What is more, Cage is said to have overworked his staff, made racist jokes and inappropriate remarks about some of the female actors starring in the studio’s games. Cage is also known for a lack of consideration for female colleagues, making insistent dirty jokes, smutty remarks in the presence of his wife and other dirty things.
“David Cage has a very particular viewpoint on how he runs his studio, which in his own words he sees as a private, or a semi-private, space,” stated a former employee. “He feels he has the right to say whatever he wants, it’s his place.”
Here’s a statement from the studio regarding the situation:
Articles published today level various allegations against Quantic Dream, its management and employees.
We categorically deny all of these allegations. Quantic Dream filed a complaint several months ago and further complaints will follow.
We invite interested parties to read the responses of our Employee Representatives and Health & Security Committee to questions submitted by the journalists prior to publication.
Inappropriate conduct or practices have no place at Quantic Dream. We have taken and always will take such grievances very seriously.
We value every single person who works at Quantic Dream. It is of utmost important to us that we maintain a safe environment that allows us all to channel our shared passion for making video games.
The public prosecutor’s office of Paris has launched a preliminary investigation into the company for harassment and discrimination, states Le Monde.