Quantic Dream, developer of PlayStation exclusives Heavy Rain and Detroit: Become Human, has posted a new statement stating an investigation has concluded there was no “‘toxic atmosphere’ or any kind of discrimination in the studio” in order to “set the record straight”.
The statement comes after the studio was accused of a hostile work environment and sued by a former employee back in 2018. The victim in the case quit their post due to offensive photoshopped images of employees being circulated at the studio, images of which came to light after a damning joint investigation into toxic workplace culture was undertaken by a team of journalists at French publications Le Monde, Canard PC, and Mediapart.
However, while the judgement ultimately sides with Quantic on this occasion and compels the plaintiff to pay the studio costs and damages, the public summary of the court ruling does not explicitly mention or negate the employee’s allegations of homophobic or racism, nor addresses the studio’s culture.
It also appears that the decision to drop several of the claims were due to the fact the former employee took too long to complain about unpleasant “photomontages” and there was no “medical evidence” that they had any impact on the complainant’s health.
At the time, Quantic Dream boss David Cage said he was “shocked” by the allegations, and in a statement published to the studio’s Twitter account, Quantic Dream branded the claims by its own staff as “slanderous” and part of a “smear campaign”, and then sued the publications.
“In January 2018, the three articles published in the French press made extremely serious accusations against Quantic Dream, claiming, in particular, a “toxic” corporate culture, characterised by “misogynistic”, “sexist”, “homophobic” and “racist”behaviours, as well as alleged financial malpractice and supposed “liberties taken with labour laws”,” the studio says in a new statement published on the official blog earlier this week (thanks, PC Gamer).
“These accusations, formally denied by the company, its managers, its Staff Representatives, and its employees, and contradicted by the reality of objectively verifiable facts, seriously damaged the honour and reputation of the studio.”
It goes on to say that on 7th April 2021, the Paris Court of Appeals “issued a new court decision, which once again very clearly establishes the facts and responsibilities in this case, by dismissing the plaintiff’s claims in their entirety”.
Quantic Dream added that “these objective, factual and verifiable elements, confirmed by the competent judicial or administrative institutions, show indisputably that the allegations contained in these articles were untrue and likely to damage the studio’s honour and reputation”.
The studio also posits it was the victim of an organised attack “aimed at deliberately tarnishing the studio’s image”.
“More than 10,000 tweets were sent in a few days by a single account on Twitter, with the aim of getting the allegations against the company to the top of the search engines,” it says. “There is evidence that a very small number of people are behind these actions, which are aimed at deliberately tarnishing the studio’s image and damaging its team.”
“Quantic Dream reaffirms once again the values that the studio has always defended in its games and within the company, which are values of humanism, inclusiveness, and the right for individuals to express themselves uniquely. We will continue to defend them with the same passion and determination as always,” the statement concludes.
“Quantic Dream remains firmly committed to continuing to work with its employees to create a serene work environment conducive to the professional and personal development and fulfilment of everyone.”