Today, a series of bombshell reports from three different French publications have accused the executives of French video game development studio Quantic Dream, developers of Heavy Rain and the upcoming Detroit: Become Human, of highly inappropriate workplace culture.
In a report by Le Monde first reported and translated by Eurogamer, Quantic Dream and two of its executives, David Cage and Guillaume de Fondaumière, are accused of creating an office environment rife with crunch and hugely inappropriate humor, including racist and sexist jokes.
Le Monde spoke with 15 current and former employees at Quantic Dream who allege that there is a toxic corporate culture at the famous French studio, and that management is at the very least passive when it comes to these inappropriate attitudes. So far Cage and de Fondaumière deny these allegations saying they are "shocked" by the "rantings" of former employees.
"The most shocking [images] present Quantic Dream's collaborators in sexual positions, adorned with homophobic or sexist slurs, or even made up to look like Nazis," reported Le Monde.
Cage and de Fondaumière deny having known about the worst of these images, though there are reports that these photoshopped images were displayed in public office spaces.
In addition, Cage and de Fondaumière have each been accused of their own individual contributions to Quantic Dream's hostile work environment.
Cage has been accused of making racist and sexist jokes in front of or at employees. After an incident of a burglary caught on CCTV, Cage allegedly asked an employee of Tunisian descent whether or not the burglar was "a cousin of yours?"
Cage has denied allegations of racism and homophobia. "You want to talk about homophobia? I work with Ellen Page, who fights for LGBT rights. You want to talk about racism? I work with Jesse Williams, who fights for civil rights in the USA... Judge me by my work."
Cage also told Le Monde in a meeting room that Quantic Dream, whose staff is 83 percent male, "is not a rugby locker room." However, Le Monde notes that just behind Cage was a picture of a phallus with farting testicles.
Co-founder Guillaume de Fondaumière has also been accused by former employees of allegedly trying to hit on staff members at office parties, or trying to forcibly kiss them. Allegations de Fondaumière say are "absolutely false...None of this happened at any evening event."
Atop all the accusations of inappropriate behavior are allegations that Cage is a demanding figure at Quantic Dream. Nicknamed "Sun King", Cage reportedly demand long hours and doesn't listen to others very well.
According to some sources, employees at Quantic Dream warned Cage regarding the now infamous domestic violence scene in the upcoming Detroit: Become Human, saying that the scene was "misogynistic." Cage didn't listen.
Le Monde does point out that in an industry that has trouble with regards to labor laws and practices, Quantic Dream is good with paying overtime along with dinner and taxi fares for employees who work into the evening. Though a sales fee for "loyal employees" has proven controversial.
Still, Le Monde reports that between 2015 and 2016 "some fifty employees left the company" and several former employees have medical certificates for burnout or depression.
This report casts a shadow over the development and release of Quantic Dream' upcoming title, Detroit: Become Human, which is one of the PlayStation 4's biggest exclusive releases in 2018. The game's depiction of domestic violence and Cage's confusing response to its social commentary has already caused some consternation about the game with critics and gamers.