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Dead Cells dev Motion Twin touts equal pay system

All 11 employees at French studio have identical salary, same say in project direction

The developer behind best-selling indie roguelite Dead Cells has shared more information about its structure, with an emphasis on its push for equality.

In an interview with Kotaku, France-based studio Motion Twin revealed that all of its staff receive the same salary, regardless of position, and that the company is run collaboratively with no single person overriding any decisions made about the games it makes.

The firm described itself as an "anarcho-syndical workers co-operative" and aims to be a "direct challenge, not just to the exploitative practices you see at a lot of other companies, but also to tired old world corporate structures in general."

Game designer Sébastien Bénard told the site: "We actually just use a super basic formula: if a project finds success, people are basically paid more in bonuses, and everyone is paid the absolute same way.

"The devs and the artists are paid the same amouont of money, and people like me who have been here for 17 years are paid the same amount as people who were recruited last year."

Bénard went on to say it's "almost impossible" to claim one person's contribution has more of an impact on a game's performance than anyone else's - another reason why the team believes in this equal pay system.

It should be noted that Motion Twin currently only has 11 employees, but Bénard claims they are all paid "roughly the same as in other game companies". Dead Cells, the studio's most recent games, has managed to sell 700,000 units on PC alone, despite still being in Early Access.

Naturally, this type of structure is only practical with a smaller team but it's a remarkable take on how independent studios can be structured. You can find more information on how Motion Twin operates in the full interview.

GamesIndustry.biz recently took our own look at how developers and other industry professionals are paid in our 2018 Careers Survey. We calculated average salaries, investigated working conditions and surveyed respondents on their careers opportunities, and you can read the results in full here.

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James Batchelor

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James Batchelor has been a journalist in the games industry since 2006, joining GamesIndustry in 2016, and also runs Non-Violent Game of the Day (@NVGOTD). He does play violent games, but always on Story/Easy mode.

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