In an eye-opening report from GamesBeat, current and former employees of Ori and the Will of the Wisps developer Moon Studios describe the company an “oppressive place to work” with founders Thomas Mahler and Gennadiy Korol allegedly making a number of unprofessional and offensive comments.
Additionally, employees describe the atmosphere at Moon Studios as one rife with burnout, sexism, bullying, and racism. In the company’s text chat, Mahler is said to have made the comment, “Tyler is the only person who is aware of my devious plan to kill the Jews by making them work to death through game development.”
That isn’t the only inappropriate “joke” shared in the company chat by its founders, either. GamesBeat noted, “One developer said the chat was ‘rough’ because the founders felt free to make jokes about their penis sizes.”
In another instance, Mahler had reportedly pitched for a character in an upcoming game to be raped. Employees told GamesBeat it took “about a month to convince him this was a bad idea for a plot in a video game” with the objective simply being to provide the character with a motivation for revenge.
GamesBeat reviewed the chat logs they received and found evidence of harsh language along with “conflicting or unclear directions when it came to feedback.”
Another developer commented on the founders’ behavior, stating:
A number of other employees use the term “oppressive” when describing Moon Studios. One developer went as far as to describe the situation as “death by a thousand cuts” with another saying something similar, noting the passion they had for their job was drummed out of them.
Following this, GamesBeat reports that the founders had a 30-minute, private internal meeting with the team. During the meeting, Korol and Mahler are said to have brought up some of the aforementioned issues, while offering an “anonymous feedback system for devs.”
We hope through the investigative work of GamesBeat, Moon Studios can begin to implement meaningful change. That said, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of hope from developers in that regard.
Another developer said:
For more on the atmosphere and culture at Moon Studios, be sure to read through the full report from GamesBeat. And be sure to check back, as we’ll be sure to keep you posted on any new developments regarding Moon Studios.
Morgan is a writer from the frozen wastelands of Maine who enjoys metal music, kpop, horror, and indie games. They're also a Tetris fanatic who's fiercely competitive in games like Tetris 99... and all games in general. But mostly Tetris. You can follow Morgan on Twitter @Author_MShaver.
Ugh diving into it deeper from the links it’s pretty bad. Also makes sense from leaders that self taught. They don’t know how to give feedback constructively. Going around calling things shit all the time is not what good leaders do for example.
That's called "Seagull Management Style." Fly around the outskirts, looking down on everyone and shitting on them. It's been very effective in corporate America for decades. The people love it!
Sounds like if a bunch of Shackers had started a game dev studio like 15 years ago, chatted like we do here, then started hiring people from outside the circle. :/