This comes as a big surprise as Quantic Dream has never shied away from the public eye, due to their close relationship with Sony and the console exclusives they make for them. As such, Quantic Dream has, until now, held a proud position as a developer that demanded respect. This comes also in the wake of several tech demos made, displaying the capabilities of Sony’s consoles. Yet, these allegations of workplace mistreatment may put a dent in Quantic Dream’s public relations for the first time.
Reports have surfaced in several French publications, attempting to portray Quantic Dream as “a hostile workplace, rife with racist and sexist humour”. Company director, David Cage now stands accused of complacency with such behaviour, alongside executive producer Guillaume Fondamiere. Firstly, the two are being held to account for allowing the casual display of homophobic images across the office. David Cage himself has been noted making racial slurs while reviewing CCTV footage of a burglary. Fondamiere has also been alleged to have forced himself on members of staff during parties, among other instances of sexual misconduct.
Of course, the two big names in gaming flatly dispute these allegations. In a follow up interview with prime accuser, publication Le Monde, Cage insists Quantic Dream“is not like some rugby locker room”, as it seems to be portrayed. More importantly, he goes on to defend himself by association to his past and present works. “You want to talk homophobia? I work with Ellen Page, who fights for LGBT rights”. Page is, of course, the star of 2013’s Beyond: Two Souls and would have worked closely with Cage. “You want to talk racism? I work with Jesse Williams who fights for civil rights in the U.S.” Starring in Detroit: Become Human, Williams is on the board of directors for The Advancement Project which is an organisation focused on racial justice issues.
While David Cage seems to make for a strong defence, Le Monde wasted no time highlighting another recent controversy surround David Cage, late 2017. During the Paris Games Week, Detroit got a new trailer. It focused on themes of domestic violence and certainly stirred up conversation in the media. Many in the gaming scene expected it as par for the course with David Cage. This didn’t stop the wider media getting up in arms about “David Cage trivialising the abuse of young children in a video game”. Le Monde goes on to report that several employees at Quantic Dream attempted to warn Cage of what risky business it might have been, publicising such a scene. Such warnings fell on deaf ears.
Le Monde’s report goes on to state that 83% of Quantic’s workforce is male which can lead to certain atmosphere, unwelcoming to women. David Cage continues his defence of the matter, acknowledging that Quantic Dream is known for its informal nature. Some say this relaxed workplace is one of good natured and well meaning people. Others would maintain this workplace ethos veers into the inappropriate.
On January 15th, Quantic Dream released an official statement in response to these accusations:
We categorically deny all of these allegations. Quantic Dream filed a complaint several months ago and further 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 safe environment that allows us all to channel our shared passion for making video games.”
Is the French media making mountains out of molehills? Or should we listen a little more closely?