Kotaku has released an investigation into the internal state of Undead Labs, known from the State of Decay dilogy. To do this, journalists interviewed 12 former and current employees and concluded that the studio thrived on toxicity and contempt for women.
Until recently, the culture of the studio was not hospitable to those who were not white cisgender men. Women’s opinions were openly rejected, even with a basic knowledge of code or games. No one listened to them, even women in directorships were openly ignored, interrupted, and blamed for problems.
One former developer recalled men asking women to take notes at meetings, ignoring their experiences, and even making sexist remarks like, “You don’t look as pretty today as you used to,” and “I’m surprised you’re a beautiful girl like you.” works here “.
According to the interviewed employees, many problems began after the founder of the studio Jeff Strain was replaced by Philip Holt. The developers accused the new head of ousting two female directors from the studio for not giving them the support they needed to succeed and hiring men to take on their roles.
It really was a scheme where women were ousted and men were protected and helped. [Руководство студии] did not want to upset anyone if it was a woman.
After his appearance, Holt hired Anna Schlosser to head the Human Resources and Culture Department. However, the woman also did not suit the staff because she “did too little to combat discrimination”:
There was a guy on the State of Decay 3 team who was openly sexist, and Anna didn’t do anything with him. The technical art team had a manager who behaved horribly, and Anna sided with him, and as a result, almost the entire technical art team resigned.
Problems also arose with the development of State of Decay 3. Kotaku sources claim that Holt was going to hold two gameplay demonstrations for Microsoft in 2021. However, the team decided that it would have to crunch and refused. As a result, only one demonstration was held, and that was cut off. And State of Decay 3 itself, despite the announcement in 2020, is still in the pre-production stage.
However, many note that after Microsoft’s intervention, things went uphill. Over the past six months, under pressure from the corporation, the studio has hired new and very diverse employees:
Positive changes include a “completely new team of leaders”, a diverse set of employees in 2021, in which 42% were women or non-binary individuals, and 29% – representatives of racial or ethnic minorities.
As a result, it is worth noting that this is a toothless investigation of Kotaku. There are no specific examples of harassment or harassment in the text. Moreover, one of the developers described the situation in Undead Lab as “a very soft version of sexism.”