Star Wars Eclipse Development Is Reportedly Going Well, Quantic Dream Controversies Are “In The Past”
The development of Star Wars Eclipse is reportedly going well, and the controversies surrounding developer Quantic Dream are now “in the past”.
According to a major French media outlet, the development of Star Wars Eclipse has been going well, and developer Quantic Dream claims that all controversies surrounding the studio’s hostile workplace environment are now “in the past”.
For the uninitiated, Star Wars Eclipse was announced at The Game Awards 2021. Among the key highlights of this action-adventure game is its incorporation of multiple playable characters, each with their own branching narratives, offering players diverse storytelling experiences. Set within the expansive Star Wars universe, Star Wars Eclipse is an integral part of the High Republic multimedia project, positioning its events 200 years prior to the events depicted in The Phantom Menace. A few details regarding the game were leaked soon after its announcement. Read about it here.
In January 2018, a collaborative investigation by three French news outlets i.e. Le Monde, Mediapart, and Canard PC, revealed concerning business practices within Quantic Dream. Le Monde described the studio as having a “toxic corporate culture” characterized by inappropriate language and behavior from management, disregarded employees, excessive workloads, and questionable contractual practices. The investigation highlighted several issues. Firstly, it was alleged that David Cage and Guillaume de Fondaumière, the company’s leaders, were involved in or encouraged a culture of sexism and racism. Controversial images, including digitally altered photos of studio collaborators and employees, were reportedly shared via email and displayed in the office.
Canard PC reported that the entire IT department resigned in March 2017 due to these offensive incidents. Secondly, the studio management was accused of implementing an arduous “crunch time” schedule, requiring employees to work an additional 15-35 hours per week for a year leading up to a game’s release. Lastly, the human resources department was accused of colluding to terminate fixed-term contract staff prematurely, violating labor laws, and arranging settlements to remove employees who didn’t conform to the studio’s culture.
Cage and de Fondaumière denied these allegations, claiming they were part of a smear campaign. In April 2018, Quantic Dream filed lawsuits against Le Monde and Mediapart, while Canard PC received threatening letters. Former employees who had left or been terminated also sued the company. In July, Quantic Dream lost a court case against an employee who resigned due to the studio’s hostile work environment. The employee sought to classify their departure as wrongful termination under French employment law, but the Court of Appeal of Paris later overturned the ruling.
The trials against Le Monde and Mediapart took place in May 2021, and the verdict was given on September 9, 2021. In a personal libel suit brought by Cage and de Fondaumière, the court recognized accusations against Le Monde, as the newspaper refused to disclose the identity of anonymous sources, failing to meet the burden of proof. The court ruled in favor of Mediapart in the personal suit, dismissing charges related to three passages in their report while acknowledging that four other statements were made in “good faith” and had sufficient factual basis. Separate cases filed by Quantic Dream as a company against Le Monde and Mediapart also found the defendants not guilty of libel charges.