Quantic Dream has been ordered to pay thousands of Euros in damages after a court ruling over abusive working conditions went against them. The company must pay €5,000 in indemnities and €2,000 in legal funds to a former IT manager who was a consistent target. The case also cited issues with crunch as a major problem at the studio.
On November 21st, the Conseil de Prud’hommes determined that Quantic Dream is guilty of “violating security obligations” to its employees by fostering a toxic work environment through this bullying. Said toxicity was described as “homophobic, misogynistic, racist, or deeply vulgar”. The offenses cited by various sources include sexually explicit photoshopped images, overt Nazi imagery and other unsavory nonsense.
Quantic Dream issued a statement after the ruling, which basically amounts to them admitting that the ‘it’s just a joke’ defense wouldn’t work here. Which means that the company recognizes just how crummy their behavior was, that even the standard bigoted asshole defense of 2019 wasn’t enough for them. The ruling and resulting statement says, the images “cannot be justified by the ‘humorous’ spirit prevailing in society”, and Quantic Dream recognizes the court’s decision and will not appeal the ruling.
The company originally denied the allegations, using another standard defense of toxicity online, which was “You want to talk about homophobia? I work with Ellen Page, who fights for LGBT rights,” said David Cage, founder of Quantic Dream. “You want to talk about racism? I work with Jesse Williams, who fights for civil rights in the USA… Judge me by my work.” Quantic Dream also filed a defamation claim against Mediapart and LeMonde, two newspaper which first broke the news over a year ago. Take all of that for what you will.
Of course the ruling hasn’t stopped people from defending the company and sticking up for their bullying of an employee. Apparently some people have never heard of victim blaming nor do they understand power dynamics. But then again, some people will always be toxic.
And with the oncoming release of some of their most popular games to the PC, it’s easy to see why the French company wouldn’t want to rock the boat. Detroit: Become Human is due to the PC on on December 12th, for $40. The title will be exclusive to the Epic Games Store.
The company is also branching out beyond consoles, with future titles heading for more platforms. The response to this ruling from the company is likely governed by a need to not sour working relationships, rather than actually caring about the issues raised.