Quantic Dream denies allegations of homophobia, racism and toxic studio culture
David Cage "shocked" and "outraged" as preliminary investigation by Paris public prosecutor is opened
French developer Quantic Dream has come under fire over the weekend after employee claims of harassment, inappropriate humour and more in the studio environment.
The allegations stem from three separate French publications, with employee interviews suggesting homophobia, racism, sexism and overwhelming workloads are the core of a toxic studio culture.
Articles in Le Monde, Mediapart and Canard PC offer more concrete examples, including reports of around 600 offensive photoshopped images of employees and a general 'schoolboy' atmosphere of offensive jokes.
Le Monde also reports that a preliminary investigation for harassment and discrimination has been opened by the office of Paris' public prosecutor.
A lot of the criticism centres around president and founder David Cage, who is accused of making "grievous jokes", his "lack of consideration for female coworkers" and the constant pressure on employees while working on projects such as Heavy Rain and Beyond: Two Souls.
One of the most cited examples is Cage's response to watching a video of a recorded robbery. He allegedly turned to an employee from Tunisia and jokingly asked: "Is this a cousin of yours?"
Both Cage and general manager Guillaume Fondaumiére said they are "shocked" and "outraged" by the accusations, attributing them to former and "frustrated" employees. There are also accusations of inappropriate behaviour towards women targeted at Fondaumiére.
Speaking to Le Monde, Cage said: "You want to talk homophobia? We work with Ellen Page who is fighting for LGBT right. You want to talk racism? We are working with Jesse Williams on civil rights in the USA. Judge my work."
This is perhaps not the best defence given the controversy caused by Cage's latest work, the upcoming Detroit: Become Human. Back in November, a trailer for the title prompted complaints for its depiction of child abuse.
Quantic Dream has also released an official statement via Twitter, which reads: "We categorically deny all of these allegations. Quantic Dream filed a complaint several months ago and further complaints will follow.
"Inappropriate conduct or practices have no place at Quantic Dream. We have taken and always will take such grievances very seriously. We value every single person who works at Quantic Dream. It is of utmost importance to us that we maintain a safe environment that allows us all to channel our shared passion for making video games."
Two employees have also reportedly defended the studio via Twitter, with one claiming "the atmosphere is great, nothing toxic" and that the allegations are "a fabric of lies".
Lead programmer Aurélien Loizeau wrote the claims are "a lot of bullshit" and added that, while the studio isn't perfect, the fact that employees work an average of seven years suggests the environment must be agreeable to work in.