"Stories of abusive workplaces are unfortunately all too common among major videogame publishers, Activision and Ubisoft being the most obvious examples—both have faced significant allegations of widespread misconduct and employee abuse in recent years. There is sometimes an expectation that things are better among indie developers, which are generally much smaller, more intimate, and—publicly, at least—more institutionally aware of the vital need for equitable treatment of all employees. And yet, two reports released today make it clear that that's not always the case.
A People Make Games investigation into three noted indie studios—Mountains (Florence), Fullbright (Gone Home, Tacoma), and Funomena (Wattam)—that included interviews with 24 employees revealed troubling allegations about high-level toxicity at all three of them. Mountains founder Ken Wong, for instance, is described as being an "emotionally abusive" manager who constantly tore down the work of his employees, leaving them doubting their own expertise and abilities."
The video is a bit long but well worth watching. Great journalism. Pretty depressing that the terrible work environment in the industry extends to companies of all sizes, not just the most corporate. It's somewhat encouraging hearing about new studios prioritizing good working conditions and work/life balance, but as the report shows even advocates associated with those communities can be abusers, too.