Quantic Dream, the developers behind Heavy Rain and the upcoming Detroit: Become Human, are reportedly suing French newspaper Le Monde and website Mediapart for their joint story earlier this year that alleged sexism and racism at Quantic Dream along with the now all-too-common reports of excessive crunch.
To understand the events that led to this unprecedented legal action against the games media from a major video game developer, we need to go back to what was originally reported.
Quantic Dream makes good on a previous threat
Back in January, three separate media outlets in France, Le Monde, Mediapart, and Canard PC, a third outlet that incidentally is not being sued by Quantic Dream, published simultaneous stories about toxicity at Quantic Dream in collaboration with one another. At the time Quantic Dream threatened legal retaliation over the reports.
Kotaku first reported the lawsuits today when during a book tour for the French translation of his book, Kotaku's Jason Schreier was scheduled to meet with Le Monde's William Audureau who was one of the reporters on the Quantic Dream stories. Audreau rescheduled due to getting "caught up in court," and later confirmed that that Quantic Dream story is related. Dan Israel who reported on the Quantic Dream story for Mediapart also told Kotaku that his publication was being sued by Quantic Dream, though refused to be quoted.
Coincidentally during a recent New York press event for Detroit, Cage told Kotaku that they were suing the publications' journalists before the line of questioning was shut down by Sony's PR handlers.
Interestingly enough the third publication that released a report on Quantic Dream, Canard PC, said that they were not being sued by Quantic Dream even after receiving two "threatening letters" from Quantic Dream.
Three publications walk into Quantic Dream
The three reports accused Quantic Dream head David Cage at making racist jokes in front of his employees, and a culture of casual sexism which included lewd photoshops posted publicly around the office and shared internally by employees. Lastly, employees alleged that David Cage doesn't listen to others well and that while Quantic Dream is good with paying overtime, a sales bonus for "loyal employees" was seen as controversial by some of the staff.
One anecdote from Le Monde that we were able to independently translated reported how a reporter from the publication sat down with Cage in a Quantic Dream meeting room where Cage denied any workplace impropriety while a picture of a phallus with farting testicles was visible behind the director.
This year saw a lot of media attention focused on crunch and other harsh working conditions prevalent in the video game industry. Crunch has affected major studios like Telltale into layoffs. As a result, unionization was a big point of conversation during this year's Game Developers Conference.
Cage and Quantic Dream co-founder Guillaume de Fondaumière responded by denying the allegations, and as it pertains to this story, threatening legal action against the media publications that reported on the story.
The reports of the lawsuit comes on the same day Quantic Dream's latest game, Detroit: Become Human, was certified gold. Meaning the game is in a state that can be shipped to consumers. To celebrate Quantic Dream released new footage to players. You can also learn about Detroit: Become Human with our complete guide.
However, news of the lawsuit will certainly be a point of interest during the media tour Quantic Dream will be heading into to promote the release of Become Human on May 25, 2018.