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Chromatic Games accused of toxic work culture

Formerly Trendy Entertainment, the studio had mismanagement issues back in 2013 that seem to have resurfaced in recent years

Chromatic Games, formerly known as Trendy Entertainment, is reportedly still grappling with toxic work culture issues.

Back in 2013, the Dungeon Defenders studio was the object of a Kotaku investigation, exposing accusations of mismanagement, institutional sexism and permanent crunch.

Now, a new report from Polygon highlighted similar issues persisting, with one source saying that the studio allegedly "wears people down and takes advantage of new game developers eager to work in the industry," the publication wrote.

Trendy, which rebranded as Chromatic in 2019, did go through a big restructuring after the 2013 accusations. And while Polygon acknowledged that it is "not the same studio today," it talked to 12 current and former employers who pointed to several issues remaining.

Allegations from the sources Polygon talked to included inappropriate behaviours, chaotic development pipeline leading to crunch, confusing remote working policies, prevalence of alcohol in social gatherings, mismanagement of pay, and exploitation of new graduates by presenting toxic work patterns as "normal or even fun."

Sources said "at least eight" staff have either left or been fired in the "past few months" allegedly due to Chromatic's work culture, which they said is a result of co-founder Augi Lye coming back to helm the company in 2019.

However, another Chromatic employee told Polygon that the toxic work culture was due to a former employee who was "really good at manipulating others," and not leadership. Sources seemed conflicted, with another employee saying that there isn't any issue and that the workplace is "amazing."

Chromatic responded to Polygon's request for comment saying: "Chromatic Games has always strived to give everyone at every level the freedom to put forth new ideas and be rewarded for doing so. That includes employee feedback on ways we can continue to improve. We will continue to be the kind of company worthy of our amazing team members. We wish all former team members the very best and hope they find fulfilment in and success in their careers."

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Marie Dealessandri avatar

Marie Dealessandri

Features Editor

Marie Dealessandri joined GamesIndustry.biz in 2019 to head its Academy section. A journalist since 2012, she started in games in 2015 at B2B magazine MCV. She can be found (rarely) tweeting @mariedeal, usually on a loop about Baldur’s Gate and the Dead Cells soundtrack.

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