Quantic Dream, developer behind PS3 exclusive Heavy Rain and currently developing PS4 exclusive Detroit: Become Human has had a troubled few months. This all began following a trailer that was shown off at Sony’s stage during Paris Games Week featuring graphic violence and abuse between a father and daughter. This was followed by allegations of a toxic culture at the studio, focused on the behavior of CEO David Cage. The French developer denied all allegations and Cage himself called the accusations ridiculous. Founders David Cage and Guillaume de Fondaumiere were accused of prejudice, inappropriate behavior and over working staff.
The next issue facing the studio comes in the form of Paris Council. A document is available to view online (albeit in French) titled ‘On the toxic corporate culture of Quantic Dream‘.
This follows a session in the Paris Council on the 5th, 6th and 7th of February where councilor Danielle Simmonet slaughtered the released footage for Detroit and called out the game’s violence while also taking on the concept of crunch in video game development and how Quantic Dream embrace it. The council has begun an investigation into the level of public funding Quantic Dream receive with a view of claiming some of this back if certain work conditions are not satisfied.
The Paris government has provided Quantic Dream with around 24 million Euros in funding over the last ten years. If they were to try and recoup this before the release of the studio’s next game there could be big financial troubles ahead and the game’s release would definitely be in doubt. There is every chance Sony might step in, but may be powerless against the laws and procedure involved and may even decide to cut their losses and ties to the developer.
However as Detroit: Become Human is slated to release in the next few months these issues are unlikely to have any major immediate impact. There could be large ramifications in the future though. For now David Cage has issued a statement in response:
Since January 14, 2018, Quantic Dream has been the subject of a veritable smear campaign by a few media outlets, based on slanderous remarks whose reliability and origin of the sources raise questions. We categorically refute the allegations against the studio, its employees, its leaders. We hope that these unfounded attacks and the propagation of completely erroneous information resulting from it will cease in order to protect our employees.
We reiterate that, to date, we have not heard of any complaints of harassment and discrimination. We confirm that two employees who entered the Industrial Court in 2017 were dismissed of all their claims by judgment on 19.01.2018 and that a third judgment in this case is in dispute.
Several other legal actions are also underway to defend the reputation of our studio and to save the jobs of a French SME in the forefront in its field. We are confident in justice and hope that it can be decided quickly, in a calm and peaceful atmosphere.
For updates on this story and on Detroit: Become Human‘s eventual release date keep your eyes on thelootgaming.com