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Unveiling Toxicity: Insights from Deck Nine Developers at Life is Strange Studio

Developers at the studio behind Life is Strange: True Colors, Deck Nine, have raised concerns regarding issues such as hate speech, crunch time, toxic behavior, and management practices that were either unresponsive to serious issues or protective of wrongdoers among the staff.

According to today, more than a dozen current and former employees, including two who spoke out using their real names, have shared accounts of their experiences at the studio. They have accused the studio of subjecting them to crunch conditions, inadequate pay, and biased treatment towards female employees in terms of promotions and salary increments.

Reports suggest that the studio fostered a toxic work environment where references to hate symbols and racist memes were allegedly incorporated into the upcoming Life is Strange game without proper oversight.

Despite multiple complaints, it was revealed that management took over six months to address the presence of Nazi imagery in the game. Deck Nine’s CEO, Mark Lyons, eventually acknowledged the issue and claimed that the symbols were included unintentionally.

Furthermore, sources from IGN disclosed that management was slow in handling complaints against specific employees. A senior programmer faced allegations of misconduct including sexual harassment, transphobia, and aggressive behavior towards colleagues. Despite these accusations, management reportedly delayed taking action and even relocated the individual’s team to distance them from other departments. The programmer was eventually dismissed following an incident where he verbally abused an HR representative.

The article also highlighted concerns surrounding Deck Nine’s former narrative director and CCO, Zak Garriss. Several female employees accused Garriss of exhibiting inappropriate behavior, such as crossing personal boundaries and dismissing the importance of representation in games. Allegations were made that he referred to Black Lives Matter as a hate group, further straining relationships within the studio.

Garriss was also criticized for clashes with marginalized members of the narrative team over the portrayal of sensitive topics in the game. Despite objections from team members, he reportedly reprimanded them for questioning decisions related to character representation.

In response to these allegations, Deck Nine stated that they prioritize diversity in their hiring and promotion practices to foster an inclusive work environment. The studio emphasized its commitment to fair compensation and efforts to prevent crunch time.

Deck Nine affirmed its dedication to employee well-being, stating that they have stringent conduct policies in place. Allegations are promptly investigated and addressed confidentially by HR to uphold a positive and successful studio environment.

Additionally, the studio announced plans to implement formal anti-hate speech training to further support a respectful workplace culture.