Dungeon Defenders developer, Trendy Entertainment, is apparently not a very fun or nice place to work, according to an expose on Kotaku.
Speaking with various current and former employees – all of which chose to remain anonymous for good reason – many employees are “forced” to work 10-12 hour days without over time pay, seven days a week. And this isn’t just “crunch” time either – this is all year long.
There are even reported incidences of company president Jeremy Stieglitz bullying employees; practicing wage discrimination against potential female employees; verbally threatening staffers; acting with extreme sexism; and complete mismanagement of the firm and its resources.
Employees have said they are afraid to ask for time off for risk of being fired. One employee was so afraid of losing his/her job, they skipped out on their cousin’s funeral because they were afraid to ask off.
According to the article, in the last few months alone, six employees have left and many more plan to leave once Dungeon Defenders 2 is released – which would be a blow to the 45-person development house.
The report paints a rather scathing picture of the firm, one which has caught the attention of the International Game Developers Association.
In a statement sent to VG247, the IGDA’s executive director, Kate Edwards, said the firm has no direct knowledge of the situation at Trendy Entertainment, but its “stance on this is very clear.”
“We know, as has been well documented, that extensive overtime is not only ineffective from the point of view of productivity, but it is also destructive to employee morale,” said Edwards in the statement. “Studios engaging in excessive overtime injure the reputation of the entire game industry, preventing top talent from entering and remaining in game development, and harming the goodwill of other studios that work rigorously to ensure quality of life for their developers.
“Further we believe that gender discrimination of any type has no place in the workplace and is completely unacceptable. As with excessive overtime, creating an environment that is hostile or discriminatory against anyone whether via race, gender, sexual orientation or other means only further reduces morale and creates an atmosphere that can hinder the successful retention of talent and creation of games that appeal to a wide variety of players.”
The IGDA provides resources, education and information to individual developers and their employers who wish to create a better working environment for their employees.
The firm said it continues “to be extremely concerned” about the type of allegations being brought on Trendy, and for the development community at large.
“We believe that when everyone from management down is educated and aware of the impact poor quality of life and a lack of diversity provides, they will make the choices that are in everyone’s best interest,” said Edwards.
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