Quantic Dream once again finds itself in the centre of a whirlwind, as three separate French reports have called into question the culture of the studio and its management. Publications such as Le Monde, Canard PC, and Mediapart have all published damning articles on the Parisian developer’s workplace environment, which leaders David Cage and Guillaume de Fondaumière have described as “surprising”.
We’re not going to get into everything here, but one standout accusation points to a cache of over 600 doctored images, where staff members have been superimposed “in sexual positions, adorned with homophobic or sexist slurs, or even made up to look like Nazis”. Cage and de Fondaumière claim not to have seen the worst images, and say they’re only aware of the ones which “were funny or more or less amusing”.
The theme throughout the article is that there’s a “schoolboy” culture at the studio, which seems heavily at odds with the kind of games it makes. Apparently, for example, there’s a scrawl of a penis with farting testes on a wall. Cage is also accused of making dirty jokes, purportedly sometimes in the presence of his wife. Meanwhile, it’s suggested that de Fondaumière is known for acting sleazy at office parties, pushing kisses on employees as opposed to settling for "air kisses".
Both parties vehemently deny the claims. “I will be extremely clear: it's absolutely false,” de Fondaumière has said. “None of any of this happened at any evening event.” There’s also the insinuation of problematic jokes. One incident refers to a burglary caught on CCTV, where Cage allegedly quipped at an employee of Tunisian origin: "Is that a cousin of yours?" Cage says that these accusations are “ridiculous, absurd, and grotesque”.
In fact, at the insinuation that he’s both homophobic and racist, the director had the following to say: “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.”
This is the second controversy to land at Quantic Dream’s feet in recent months, with the mainstream media recently taking its depiction of domestic abuse in upcoming PlayStation 4 exclusive Detroit: Become Human to task.
Update (8PM GMT): Quantic Dream has officially responded to allegations against the organisation with the following statement, posted in both French and English to its Twitter account:
We'll keep you updated of any further developments.
Update (12:45AM GMT): Changed the language regarding the accusations pointed at de Fondaumière due to improved translations emerging.