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Quantic Dream on defense amid allegations of toxic work environment

Three French publications have leveled serious misconduct and harassment allegations against Heavy Rain developer Quantic Dream, whose founders have denied accusations.

Chris Kerr, News Editor

January 15, 2018

3 Min Read

Three separate French publications have leveled serious misconduct and harassment allegations at Heavy Rain developer Quantic Dream, as well as its two co-founders David Cage and Guillaume de Fondaumiere. 

As reported by Eurogamer, a story in Parisian newspaper Le Monde accuses Cage and Fondaumiere of inappropriate behavior, overworking staff, and creating a workplace where sexist and racist jokes are commonplace.

Another report published by Carnad PC revolves around a cache of 600 photoshopped images, deemed homophobic and sexist, that were apparently created by Quantic Dream employees and fired around internally via group emails -- which included recipients Cage and de Fondaumiere.

While some of the images date back to 2013, they were only unearthed in 2017 when an employee filed a complaint after being made the subject of one such edit. 

One of the images, displayed on the Carnad PC website, shows Cage's face superimposed on the body of a male stripper holding a power tool with a sex toy attached. 

According to a Eurogamer translation, others pictures show "Quantic Dream's collaborators in sexual positions, adorned with homophobic or sexist slurs, or even made up to look like Nazis."

Both Cage and de Fondaumiere claim to have not seen the worst offenders before the full stash was unearthed, adding the ones they had seen "were funny or more or less amusing."

The reports continuously paint the pair in a bad light, with Cage in particular coming across poorly. The Heavy Rain and Detroit: Become Human designer is accused of making sexist, homophobic, and racist remarks and jokes about colleagues and collaborators.

Meanwhile, de Fondaumiere has also been accused of making inappropriate advances on staff at parties. Both men deny the allegations, and said they were "very surprised" and "shocked" at the tales of former staff. 

Cage pointed to his work with known activists like Ellen Page and Jesse Williams as evidence of his own beliefs, and derided the accusations as "ridiculous, absurd and grotesque".

"You want to talk about homophobia?" he commented. "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 United States. Judge me by my work."

De Fondaumiere also said he's never behaved inappropriately towards any member of staff, and denied having made sexual advances towards any of his employees. 

"I will be extremely clear: it's absolutely false," he explained. "None of any of this happened at any evening event. I categorically refute all allegations, in particular 'hitting on staff'."

Since the allegations have come to light, Quantic Dream has also issued a statement defending its employees and company culture.

"Articles published today level various allegations against Quantic Dream, its management and employees," reads the statement. 

"We categorically deny all of these allegations. Quantic Dream filed a complain several months ago and several complaints will follow."

"We invite interested parties to read the responses of our Employee Representatives and Health & Security Committee to questions submitted by the journalists prior to publication. 

"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 sage environment that allows us all to channel our shared passion for making video games." 

About the Author(s)

Chris Kerr

News Editor, GameDeveloper.com

Game Developer news editor Chris Kerr is an award-winning journalist and reporter with over a decade of experience in the game industry. His byline has appeared in notable print and digital publications including Edge, Stuff, Wireframe, International Business Times, and PocketGamer.biz. Throughout his career, Chris has covered major industry events including GDC, PAX Australia, Gamescom, Paris Games Week, and Develop Brighton. He has featured on the judging panel at The Develop Star Awards on multiple occasions and appeared on BBC Radio 5 Live to discuss breaking news.

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