Quantic Dream has been a noteworthy development studio over the past few years, having produced titles such as Heavy Rain, and the recent Detroit: Become Human. Although the games have been successful financially, there has always been a bit of controversy surrounding them and the studio. To add to the controversy, the company has lost a court case that a former Quantic Dream employee filed due to a toxic, overworked, and uncomfortable work place.
To bring you up to speed, the victim who filed the lawsuit against their former employer, Quantic Dream, cited “inappropriate behaviour, overworking staff and colluding in – or at least turning a blind eye to – a schoolboy culture involving sexist and racist jokes.” In addition, part of the issue was due to the enabling behavior of studio leads Guillaume de Fondaumière and David Cage, who are both blamed in the case. Initially, these allegations were denied by both studio heads, and they were “shocked” to hear such slander against their company. However, shortly afterwards, an internal investigation was done that proved these allegations to be true.
A very strange and uncomfortable work place was found behind the curtains of Quantic Dream (NSFW). With odd photoshopped images to sexism to homophobia, it seemed that the employee was all but right in their claims. In response to these investigations, Quantic Dream ended up trying to sue French publications that had posted these stories that reinforced the former employee’s complaints.
A few days ago, the court hearing in response to the filed complaint happened. The hearing ended up centering around the prise d’acte (taking action) employment law, which is cited as being “a notification of termination made by an employee who considered themselves a victim. By enacting this step, a worker forfeits their employment rights and salary, but can then petition for unfair dismissal.” This act is in place in order to expose failings in the workplace, and in the end, determines if the affect party should receive settlement and unemployment rights.
Basically, the hearing was a petition for an unfair dismissal due to the toxic workplace culture in Quantic Dream. Normally, courts swing in the favor of the employer, for three lawsuits like this have been brought to French court, but all were dismissed with one dismissal facing an appealed. In an unprecedented decision however, the court was in favor of the employee, and as a result, several other former Quantic Dream employees have taken their cases to court.
As for Quantic Dream, they now have the option to appeal the court’s decision. There is no word on what their next step will be at this moment.