Detroit developer sues French press over “toxic culture” reports

Quantic Dream, the developer behind upcoming PS4 game , has brought lawsuits against two French media outlets following articles accusing the developer of fostering a “toxic corporate culture.”

Kotaku reports on the lawsuits against and website Mediapart, two of the three outlets that published a joint investigation of Quantic Dream in January.

The third, Canard PC, told the site it has received “threatening letters” surrounding the articles but is not the subject of any lawsuits at this time.

“We’re suing their journalists,” Quantic Dream founder David Cage confirmed to Kotaku at a recent preview event.

The trio of January articles laid out a string of complaints against the company from five former Quantic Dream employees, painting a culture of alleged inappropriate behavior and homophobic, racist, and sexist jokes that were tolerated, if not encouraged, by Quantic Dream management. “The story has been written sincerely, following a well-documented, thorough investigation, respectful of the principle that both sides must be heard,” journalist William Audureau told Kotaku. “We stick with our information.”

Quantic Dream categorically denied the articles’ accusations shortly following their publication, and founder Cage said the accusations were “ridiculous, absurd, and grotesque” in ‘s original write-up. The company noted at the time that “further complaints will follow” to protect the company’s name.

In February, Quantic Dream followed up with a statement calling the articles a “smear campaign” and warning that “several other legal actions are also underway to defend the reputation of our studio and to save the jobs of a [studio] in the forefront in its field.”

Negative reports about workplace culture or game development aren’t exactly uncommon in the video game industry. But this seems to be the first such report that has led to legal action anywhere in the world.

Under French defamation law, the sued outlets will be able to defend themselves by proving the allegations are true or by showing they were made in “good faith,” (i.e., without “personal hostility” or malice and with a measured, objective tone and balance), according to a report by the Taylor Wessing law firm.

Quantic Dream’s case will reportedly first appear in court in June.

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