Ken Wong apologises following accounts of abuse from former employee
Florence designer admits to his "failure as a leader" but assures he is working hard to "take better care of my team"
Prominent indie developer Ken Wong has apologised to a former employee who this week said he was "abused to the point of depression and suicide."
Tony Coculuzzi -- who served as lead developer on Florence, the debut title from Wong's studio Mountains -- shared his experiences in a Twitter thread yesterday, in which he said the indie icon belittled him throughout the project to the detriment of his mental health.
Coculuzzi stressed that the abuse "was not sexual" and that he did not want to "detract from the stories or experiences of anyone else" that have emerged this week, but wants to help others avoid the same situation.
"I've seen first-hand how he treats women," he wrote. "Especially one in particular... who he would berate until she was sobbing uncontrollably, every single day, for months.
"This is a man who publicly labels himself as a feminist and an ally. I'm telling you right now, he's a liar."
GamesIndustry.biz reached out to Wong for comment and received the following statement, which has also been made available via Twitter. While he does not address the specifics of Coculuzzi's complaints, he does admit to problems with his conduct in the past and apologises.
"Recently, a former employee of Mountains wrote about his experiences working with me. I'm truly sorry for the pain and hurt I caused him and that he's carried with him since," Wong wrote.
"There are a lot of things I should have done better or differently during that time. I wish I'd found kinder ways to communicate. I wish I'd shown my teammates more appreciation. I could have worked harder to build trust and empathy. This was my failure as a leader and as a coworker. To the person who wrote the thread and to the other people I've hurt through my career: I'm sorry.
"I don't know if there's a way to make it up to my former employee for how I've hurt him. Ever since he left I've worked harder to contribute positively to Mountains' work culture and take better care of my team.
"I feel very fortunate that I have the opportunity to work alongside such a talented, caring team. Even after all the mistakes I've made, I'm incredibly grateful to have been given the chance to learn and do better."
This story emerged amidst a wave of stories about abuse, harassment, assault and even rape by men across the industry, starting with Natalie Lawhead's allegations against Skyrim composer Jeremy Soule.
There has been an outpouring of support for the victims from fellow developers.