Moon Studios founders Thomas Mahler and Gennadiy Korol have been accused of sexism, racism and bullying by studio developers in a new report by GamesBeat.
Employees of Moon Studios, which is the team behind Ori and the Blind Forest/Will of the Wisps, said GamesBeat that they view the studio’s culture as “oppressive”, citing that studio executives have used buzzwords about being an open and honest workplace to cover up the abuses that occur there. Examples included in the GamesBeat report include the use of offensive words by the founders, anti-Semitic jokes, public discussions and jokes about the size of their genitalia.
GamesBeat reports that many of these “jokes” and inappropriate discussions took place in public chats open to others in the company, suggesting that Mahler and Korol found nothing wrong with what they said. The publication also reports that Moon Studios’ turnover was high, but new employees were recruited with promises of large bonuses and other perks.
One developer said he stayed despite the oppression he felt at Moon Studios because, despite everything, he took pride in his own work on the studio’s games. They were watching fan reactions and Twitch streams of their games to come to terms with what they were dealing with.
“We really created something special, and I know the only way I was able to reconcile that was to be able to watch people on Twitch and see other people get emotional about it, and that was kind of part of it. of my healing process,” they said. GamesBeat. “Because maybe my suffering was worth it because other people felt something. In the end, I mean, a lot of us were exhausted.
GamesBeat’s The report is quite comprehensive and contains a ton of additional information regarding this allegedly “oppressive” workplace, so we encourage you to head over there to read the full report. In this one, however, GamesBeat paste Mahler and Korol’s full response sent to publication after GamesBeat gave them the opportunity to respond to his reports. Here is what they said:
“We don’t think the experiences suggested by your questions are representative of the 80+ members of the Moon Studios team who thrive and do great work every day – nor do we think they’re representative of the experiences of former members of our team.In fact, we are very proud of our tradition of making people happy, advancing their careers and contributing to their financial success.
We built Moon Studios with a simple premise. First, we wanted to create a distributed studio that is not limited by geographic boundaries allowing us to attract top talent from around the world. Second, we wanted to foster a vibrant culture where our team thrives and delivers the best work in our industry. And finally, from day one, we decided to share the benefits and rewards of our efforts with the whole team. We believe we have succeeded.
What makes our team so powerful is our global and cultural diversity – we have team members working in over 40 different countries on four continents – and a flat studio structure that allows everyone to speak honestly and directly and to challenge and push each other to do our best work. We deliberately decided to create a different kind of studio, a studio that encourages creativity, open communication, collaboration and performance.
The result has been two award-winning games – with more on the horizon – and a team of professionals who enjoy working together, excel and innovate in our industry, while sharing in the financial success of Moon Studios. While at times we are brutally direct in our criticism and challenges, we are also authentic and vocal in our praise. We are incredibly proud of everything we have built and achieved together.
Finally, we appreciate the irony that we – an Austrian and an Israeli Jew – started this multicultural enterprise. We consider ourselves brothers. And, like brothers, we sometimes argue and tease each other frequently. We made jokes at our expense about the differences in our backgrounds – and there may have been times when our teasing with each other turned out to be insensitive and perhaps made others feel uncomfortable. .
Moon Studios has flourished for 12 years. We have grown and learned a lot over all these years. We have had the privilege of working with many wonderful and extremely talented people. We are truly grateful and proud of our team – those who are here today as well as those who have spent time at Moon and have since moved to other companies – and are happy to have made a positive difference in their life. We’re not perfect, but we care deeply about our talent and are constantly working hard to improve. If we’ve ever made someone uncomfortable or let someone down, we regret it and will always strive to do better.
—Thomas Mahler and Gennady Korol