Heavy Rain and Beyond Two Souls developer Quantic Dream has been under fire since multiple allegations of inappropriate behaviour have been reported by three different French publications yesterday (January 14th).
Le Monde, Mediapart and Canard PC reported that over a dozen of current and former employees (interviewed by Le Monde) have described the firm as having a “toxic studio culture”, with “dubious contract practices”, a management team with an “inappropriate behaviour”, and employees being overworked and hardly respected.
One example of the inappropriate behaviour started in February 2017, Le Monde reports, when the head of IT discovered a folder containing over 600 photoshopped pictures (that could be accessed from anyone on the company’s server) showing the studio’s employees in all sorts of degrading postures (including sexual postures or depicted as nazis).
The French newspaper had access to this folder and reports that the first photoshopped pictures were created as far back as 2013. Most of these photos include homophobic, racist and sexist comments and degrading nicknames. Five employees filed a complaint on the back of this discovery. The person responsible for most of these pictures received a warning from the management.
Founder and CEO David Cage, as well as co-CEO Guillaume de Fondaumière, have both reacted to the allegations of toxic studio culture, saying they are “very surprised”, “shocked” and “offended” by the accusations. Both told Le Monde that these allegations are just “rantings” from former “frustrated” employees who never tried to address the issues while working at Quantic Dream. Concerning the photoshopped pictures more specifically, both Cage and De Fondaumière were aware of the existence of some images, but only the “funny ones” they said, and were not aware of the extent of it. De Fondaumière admitted that these were “tasteless” but meant to be taken with a pinch of salt.
De Fondaumiere also reacted on Twitter, denying all the allegations again :