Jessica Curry stepping down as Chinese Room studio head

The studio head of Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture developer The Chinese Room Jessica Curry is leaving the studio.

In a very personal blog post Curry revealed that her health is playing a big part, with a fight against a degenerative disease proving a tough battle to fight.

Two other factors also played their part in her decision, however – the games industry’s sexist attitudes and working with publishers.

I thought I was strong enough to lead the charge, to prove through talent and hard work and positivity that women have a vital role to play. Well, as tough as this is to admit to both myself and to you lot this is one fight that I’m personally not going to win,” she wrote. I leave it to people younger and fitter than me to carry on this crusade.

On a personal level I look back at my huge contribution to the games that we’ve made and I have had to watch [creative director] Dan [Pinchbeck] get the credit time and time again. I’ve had journalists assuming I’m Dan’s PA, I have been referenced as ‘Dan Pinchbeck’s wife’ in articles, publishers on first meeting have automatically assumed that my producer is my boss just because he’s a man, one magazine would only feature Dan as Studio Head and wouldn’t include me.

When Dan has said ‘Jess is the brains of the operation’ people have knowingly chuckled and cooed that it’s nice of a husband to be so kind about his wife. I don’t have enough paper to write down all of the indignities that I’ve faced.

There is a famous quote that behind every successful man there is a strong woman. Well sod that. I’ve realized that the only way I’m going to get credit for the work that I do is if I take a step away from Dan. I love Dan so, so much. He is a talented, intelligent, shining-souled man. This is not a rejection of him but of the society that still can’t cope with the fact that a woman might just be as talented as the man she shares her life with.”

Curry was more vague about her struggles with publishers and the toxic relationship” they had with her studio. However, Curry does namedrop Rapture in the statement, which was published by Sony.

Working with a publisher made me extremely unhappy and very ill. In the end I didn’t even recognize myself anymore – I had turned from a joyful, fun-loving, creative, silly, funny person into a short-tempered, paranoid, unhappy, negative heap,” she confessed. So much of the stress that I experienced was caused by what I see as the desperately toxic relationship that I was in.

I look back at the way we were treated and it still makes me shake my head with disbelief. Big business and the creation of art have always been extremely uncomfortable bedfellows and making Rapture proved to be no exception for me. I don’t want to do this anymore- in fact I can’t do it. I want to surround myself with honest, open people whom I can trust.”

Curry will continue to serve as a company director at the studio. She also intends to continue composing music for its titles.

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