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Mortal Kombat 11

Rapport skvallrar om usla arbetsförhållanden hos Netherrealm

Usla arbetsförhållanden, inte minst inför deadline, har varit ett hett ämne senaste tiden där bland annat anställda från Rockstar, Epic Games och Telltale berättat om systematisk misskötsel av de anställda. Nu rapporterar Variety om liknande förhållanden hos Netherrealm Studios, vilka som bekant just släppt Mortal Kombat 11.

I en Twitter-tråd från förra månaden avslöjades att saker inte stod rätt till, men Varietys källor är fler och bättre, men både nuvarande anställda, tidigare anställda och kontraktsarbetare samt fokus på fler spel än bara utvecklingen av Mortal Kombat 11. Bland annat har utvecklarna pressats att jobba väldigt länge med hot om att få sparken eller utebliven befordran om man inte ställt upp på detta. Veckorna kunde ofta vara 60-70 timmar långa med sju arbetsdagar.

En anställd säger:

"Everybody said from the get-go, 'No, this isn't going to impact any development time at all; we should be fine. We'll use the content we have now. Little did our creative director, our publishing team and marketing know that we were already about three months behind on the entire game.'

So they had to pull everybody off, set everybody back another month and a half so we could we could make ourselves look good for MK Day. So that set back design, that set back QA [quality assurance], programming, animation — mostly every department had to start playing catch-up."

Vissa anställda rent av bodde på arbetsplatsen under den värsta perioden, och det finns även vittnen som talar om könsdiskriminering samt "loud, obnoxious, super toxic" anställda. Före detta QA-analytikerna Rebecca Rothschild, säger såhär i ett uttalande:

"At the same time, I have never been more aware of my gender and insignificance at a workplace. I left with scars and fear of an industry I am deeply passionate about. I don't like being a news story. I have nothing to gain from this professionally. I just want management to at least consider the other side and try to be better.

As far as being aware of my gender, it was a lot of things. The small amount of women working there, the even smaller amount of women who were full time or had any kind of real influence. Being given a disgusting nickname I won't repeat by a set of co-workers I never spoke to."

En annan kvinnlig anställd säger:

"Sexist, transphobic and generally toxic behavior was rampant, likely due to the fact that people were working 80-plus hours a week for months on end and there was no accountability for such behavior. I heard from multiple people that a cabal of male [developers] had nicknames for all of the women in the office, including 'Silver Fox', 'DB'/'Dyke B****' and 'Morph,' in reference to a trans employee. A co-worker once jokingly called an 'Injustice Mobile' character who did bleeding damage over time 'Time-of-the-Month Wonder Woman' in the presence of two leads, and referring to women as 'bitches' was commonplace."

De anställda som försökte klaga, uppmanades att inte gå till personalavdelningen med dessa klagomål. En källa säger:

"The entire studio had a bro-centric culture where complaints about women, in general, were a daily occurrence. 'Sometimes you just want to slap a b***' is a thing I got to read in a chat. Calling someone out for bad behavior was met with over-exaggerated pleas to not take it to HR. When I did talk about the culture problems to full-timers, I usually got the line of 'at least it's not as bad as Midway."

Ytterligare en annan fortsätter:

"I knew of multiple women who went to HR with various complaints of harassment, only to be dismissed with comments along the line of, 'Well, not everyone has to get along'. So I avoided going to HR, with the exception of one particularly egregious rape joke that was emailed out. There was no follow-up from HR aside from, 'I'll look into it.'"

En anställd bestämde sig för att pröva lyckan hos Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, men ägaren Warner Bros Entertainments advokater var inte imponerade, utan förklarade att mycket bara var "work-a-day gripes".

Det finns betydligt fler lika nedslående exempel i Varietys rapport, och Netherrealm har nu gjort ett officiellt uttalande om saken:

"At NetherRealm Studios, we greatly appreciate and respect all of our employees and prioritize creating a positive work experience. As an equal opportunity employer, we encourage diversity and constantly take steps to reduce crunch time for our employees. We are actively looking into all allegations, as we take these matters very seriously and are always working to improve our company environment. There are confidential ways for employees to raise any concerns or issues."

Vi hoppas såklart att de kommer till rätta med problemen, men tycker det är beklämmande att det ska behöva gå så långt att folk mår dålig innan att någon agerar.

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