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Posted by liquiddragon (3381 posts) 1 year, 4 months ago

Poll: Should GB and other outlets cover Detroit: Become Human following reports of toxic studio culture? (740 votes)

Yes 94%
No 6%

Here is a link to Eurogamer that sums up the allegations against Quantic Dream, the developer of the upcoming game Detroit: Become Human, reported by three French media outlets.

Coverage of the game couldn't and shouldn't be done without the context of the recent reports, which would mean the game is already completely tainted but at the same time, I wonder if not covering it would be more harmful.

Let me know what you think!

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#1 Posted by jeremyf (378 posts) -

As long as coverage includes the context in the right way, it shouldn't be a huge problem. Avoiding the game entirely seems like the wrong move to me.

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#2 Posted by triviaman09 (1032 posts) -

Yeah I think it should absolutely be talked about, but the game is the game. Although in this case, some of those politics almost certainly reflect on what is in the game. It's a bit of a different situation, but it reminds me of the L.A. Noire stuff. That's a great game (imo), but obviously I don't endorse the things that went on at that now defunct studio.

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#3 Posted by xhaktmtjdnf (70 posts) -

Yes, as it's a major release on a popular platform. The game should be reviewed on the merits of the game or lack there of. I would assume this would come up in review as it will inform the creation of the game and the perception of the reviewer who will have knowledge of the reports. All art is produced by people which affects the art and reviewed by people who bring their own biases as well. There are no impartial reviews nor art so I don't think you should worry so much about it.

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#4 Posted by Marcsman (3823 posts) -

Yes. I come here for games, not politics

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#5 Posted by cannonballBAM (792 posts) -
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#6 Posted by Dray2k (884 posts) -

I get where people coming from but completly ignoring the game seems like a wrong move here. Let me count the ways how I think about the whole thing.

  • A video game is often always never created just by one person alone, but as a company as a whole. This means that if they're acting outside of PR talk, it should in no way serve as a detrimental argument for the products they're making. Judge the game based on what the company does instead of what a few people did that soiled the companies name.
  • If the company, as the group of people that give meaning behind its name, care about unhealthy studio culture at all it certainly is now the time to act upon proper humanistic values. People work better inside a better working environment after all, everyone certainly can agree with that. We're also not even talking about politics here in terms of policies since what has happened is a more human issue than politics, at least as a blanket term, can properly account for. There are also laws at place that handle that sort of thing already and thats just one minor part of politics as a whole. Usually, these things get sorted quite quickly. It would be a political issue if there are minor differences to be put into place, such as normalizing break times for all, etc. We're talking about something way more radical than that alone.
  • This is not a laughing issue. Whatever the case might be, their PR should really dig deep on Cage and de Fondaumière. The company always has to stand in for the victims if the allegations are true, or simply pay the price, either forceful as law dictates or whether or not behind the scene discussions provide fruitful results. Whats also important here that the whole company, which includes everyone working inside it, basically have to co-sign a letter to not enable such practices furthermore with going so far to even redesign the whole company which includes removing all signs of toxicity out of their place. I mean they're basically calling Cage a "god king" already which is also quite a large hint regarding terrible working ethics and practices they're probably doing for quite a lot of years now.
  • Last but not least, not talking about the game would make some people making more interested about it. Practices like these never go well, and can also enable toxicity. Regardless, people should still mention that the company is subject of unhealthy working culture. All parties are in need to act professional here.

Most of these things don't even apply to the product itself so tackling it as part of the issue does seem a little bit wrong to the very least. Reviewers need to take the company that made the game in mind, thats true and that should be told and explained to the public. But we still have to talk about the game and the company that makes the game seperately in a way where the practices of a company don't correlate with the games overall score.

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#7 Edited by afabs515 (2005 posts) -

Why should the condition of a company that made a game prevent people from finding information about the quality or contents of said game? Whatever might have happened or is happening behind the scenes should be judged separately from the individual products of the company, in my opinion. If I found out Nintendo has been a toxic company for years, should I throw my Switch in the garbage or start hating or ignoring any future Mario and Zelda games?

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#8 Edited by Kidavenger (4417 posts) -

Sticks and stones...

I hate this boring sanitized society we are becoming.

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#9 Posted by MindBullet (709 posts) -

I think they kind of have to. I mean, we still cover Konami stuff even after all the reports about how terrible the conditions are there.

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#10 Posted by hippie_genocide (2440 posts) -

coverage =/= endorsement

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#11 Posted by Maxszy (2377 posts) -

Absolutely. The coverage should include the stories coming out of the development studios as well and not just on the game. The talking points won't be "just" the game, it will be the whole thing.

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#12 Edited by Stonyman65 (3808 posts) -

Why would they not? You can't nerf the world dude, despite how much some people try. If something bad happens we should know about it. Whether that pertains to the game is another question, but I think it should be addressed if the crew feels it needs to be. Game development is a shitty business in general, even more so when it's shitty people working in studios. I don't know if you've been following along recently but this kind of stuff isn't new and has been discussed ad nauseam both in the forums here and on the podcasts for years now.

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#13 Edited by GaspoweR (4901 posts) -

@hippie_genocide said:

coverage =/= endorsement

Yeah, pretty much this.

Despite the situation, the game itself is still as a result of the efforts of those people who worked on it. Judging the game because of what they went through would be a disservice of the work they put in. You can criticize the studio for the work conditions and then judge the game by its own merits.

@afabs515: To be fair, you can still ethically feel like not purchasing said games in the future if it turns out that said company has had terrible working conditions.

A more recent example would actually be CD Projekt Red, the ones who made the Witcher games.

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#14 Posted by Teddie (2146 posts) -

I sure as hell hope whatever they do with this game, they handle it better than they did with Hat in Time.

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#15 Posted by nicksmi56 (840 posts) -

@marcsman said:

Yes. I come here for games, not politics

Yep. Check that stuff in at the door. Let the rest of the world keep screaming at each other. Maybe a mention at most, but it's not GB's job to decide which products need to be boycotted, especially since this stuff is most certainly more widespread than we know about.

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#16 Posted by deactivated-5b911d3722cb7 (70 posts) -

How about someone finds out if it's true or not first. People pay attention when wrongdoing is alleged and pay almost no attention when it's found out nothing wrong actually happened. As TC had in their initial post, "which would mean the game is already completely tainted." Tainted over what? Reports? Get back to me when there is either a lawsuit or criminal investigation, and Quantic Dream is found guilty of something illegal. Hell, I have disliked everyone of their games thus far, but I am getting really sick of this allegations equal guilt mindset everyone has jumped on board with.

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#17 Posted by TheChris (524 posts) -
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#18 Posted by Fezrock (731 posts) -

The game exists and will be a major release, as such it should be covered (it's not a small indie game like Postal that can just be ignored if an outlet wants to). This coverage should of course acknowledge the context of the games development because that is an important aspect of the game.

I think the only real decision point for outlets should be whether to make any editorializing about the allegations, or just report that they exist. A place like Waypoint I'm sure will editorialize, and I'm fairly sure a place like IGN will not, I'm not sure what Giant Bomb will do; a big aspect will probably be who gets assigned the Quick Look.

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#19 Posted by kaungo (93 posts) -

Gut reaction is that GB is not Twitter. The way GB covers the industry and people in it mean they should absolutely talk about this game and the studio's toxicity.

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#20 Edited by WhatsHisFace (745 posts) -

@catmeat: Even though I hate David Cage, I agree with you on pretty much everything you said.

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#21 Posted by whitegreyblack (1965 posts) -

If people refuse to talk about anything that bothers us, the whole world would go silent. That's no way to live, in my opinion.

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#22 Posted by OurSin_360 (6177 posts) -

Of course they should, for one it would be a disservice to everyone who worked on the game even those who are making allegations, not to mention just ignoring it would pretty much be the opposite of journalism.

And to another point all allegations should be taken seriously, but at the same time we can't develop a culture of "guilty by accusation" which seems to be happening the last year or so.

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#23 Posted by Efesell (4508 posts) -

Of course?

You can include reference to these allegations in the coverage and people can decide for themselves.

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#24 Edited by mellotronrules (2610 posts) -

100% they should cover it.

legit criticism requires direct experience with a thing. otherwise it's all conjecture, and i have enough of that in my life, please & thank you.

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#25 Posted by deactivated-5b85a38d6c493 (1990 posts) -

Yes they should. And I bet the game is terrible since David Cage has not made a decent game in his life and I don't know why he would start now.

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#26 Posted by ichthy (1369 posts) -

Of course they should, but that doesn't mean they should also ignore the allegations either.

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#27 Edited by Ares42 (4359 posts) -

I know this is veering into bad territories, but at what point did allegations become recourse for action ? If there are allegations then figure out if there's any truth to it before you do something rash. I know it's a very "business" way of handling things (which is why people have gotten used to it), but as people it's just not how we should treat each other.

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#28 Posted by Efesell (4508 posts) -

@ares42 said:

I know this is veering into bad territories, but at what point did allegations become recourse for action ? If there are allegations then figure out if there's any truth to it before you do something rash. I know it's a very "business" way of handling things (which is why people have gotten used to it), but as people it's just not how we should treat each other.

When you have multiple sources pointing out smoke then I'm probably not gonna be in their corner at least in the court of public opinion.

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#29 Posted by Stonyman65 (3808 posts) -

@marcsman said:

Yes. I come here for games, not politics

Yep. Check that stuff in at the door. Let the rest of the world keep screaming at each other. Maybe a mention at most, but it's not GB's job to decide which products need to be boycotted, especially since this stuff is most certainly more widespread than we know about.

That's Waypoint's job, or at least they think it is lol

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#30 Posted by Zirilius (1700 posts) -

@ares42 said:

I know this is veering into bad territories, but at what point did allegations become recourse for action ? If there are allegations then figure out if there's any truth to it before you do something rash. I know it's a very "business" way of handling things (which is why people have gotten used to it), but as people it's just not how we should treat each other.

You have to believe the accusers/whistleblowers other wise there is no way to hold people/businesses accountable for anything. Yes there is the presumption of innocent until proven guilty but both parties still have to make their case about why they are right.

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#31 Posted by BongChilla (360 posts) -

@teddie: yeah I agree, it was really weird that the game was just never even talked about. I had no idea that there was even any controversy over Hat In Time until GB pulled the quick look without even saying why. I had to look it all up when I would have preferred them elaborating what that whole thing was while going over the game itself.

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#32 Posted by devise22 (736 posts) -

Yeah count me among the many here who think it should still be covered. I think the best way to handle incidents like the reports of toxic studio culture and work environment is to raise awareness over the story itself. Which does include overall coverage of the game. If you were planning to cover the game previously, I don't think these reports should change that. Obviously I think any legitimate outlet would also mention the studio culture incidents while covering the product, to allow audiences to decide for themselves if that affects their purchasing decisions and what have you.

But I mean for all we know the game could be good yet too. Lots of horrible people/environments have created quality products. I don't necessarily think that has been the case for Cages games previously, although I thought Heavy Rain had more highs than lows.

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#33 Posted by bybeach (6354 posts) -

After reading the link, my answer is yes, they should cover Quantic Dream's game. Both the game and the surrounding controversy are fair game. The constraint for Giant Bomb is to report it using and naming defined sources, but not to pass 'absolute' judgment. That is what civil and criminal institutions are there to do.

Oh, and Social Media.

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#34 Posted by Shindig (4944 posts) -

They're making a game. They still cover Konami for the very same reason. They still covered the Rift when Palmer Lucky was on his way out.

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#35 Posted by Justin258 (15659 posts) -

This is not the first shitty thing a dev has done, nor will it be the last, and they've covered plenty of games made with shady, shitty practices in the past. I don't see why this should be any different.

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#36 Edited by BladeOfCreation (1342 posts) -

Any publication would be within its rights to decline to review a game. Simply put, no one is OWED a review for their art. As far as separating the art from the artist, that's an entirely subjective and largely arbitrary thing.

Giant Bomb will certainly review the game. I could see a situation in which a site like Waypoint declines to review the game. The question becomes, where does one draw the line? I find this sort of thing fascinating. Allegations of sexual misconduct might cause certain, openly progressive gaming sites to stop reviewing a game. (For the record, I believe that the people who work at Giant Bomb are largely progressive--they're certainly socially liberal for the most part. I'm talking about a site like Waypoint where openly and explicitly progressive politics are part of the site's identity.) Yet, how many self-proclaimed progressive video game sites will run countless articles on the evils of crunch while ALSO continuing to review and recommend games by some of the worst offenders of crunch?

So should they cover the news? Yes. Should they cover the game? That's up to the people at the site. I believe that to cover the game without covering the news would be the only real wrong answer here. It wouldn't be out of the ordinary, really. There are many reviews that include mentions of a studio's issues during development.

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#37 Posted by BladeOfCreation (1342 posts) -

@gaspower: Wait, what happened with CD Projekt Red?

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#38 Posted by dudeglove (13751 posts) -

Yes they should cover it. Will their coverage be colored by the accusations? Quite likely. Has David Cage kind of been a creepy weirdo and made games with frankly questionable "content" over the years? Mmmhmm.

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#39 Posted by Christoffer (2374 posts) -

I would like some coverage but I get plenty of that from other sites. And David Cage... fuck off

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#40 Posted by boatorious (195 posts) -

Who do game outlets work for? Who is their audience?

If you view them as primarily existing to serve developers and publishers, then yeah : don't cover a studio if you don't like them.

But if you view them as serving their readers/viewers, then they should cover games that are noteworthy, even if they don't care for the people making them.

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#41 Posted by clagnaught (2123 posts) -

Short Answer: Yes.

Long Answer: Yes, but it is becoming an awkward situation. There was enough evidence for three French news outlets to report on this story, and some of those Photoshop images were made available online. The type of things that these stories talked about are true; it is just a matter of how bad it is and if there are things we don't know about yet. At the same time, people largely talk about the game itself. How good is it? How's the story? Hearing about the work practices of a studio, learning about how so-and-so thinks such-and-such about a topic, what the developers go through while working on a game is in some ways secondary. Those are still important topics, but "Is Quantic Dream a healthy work place environment" is not the same question as "Is Detroit: Become Human a good videogame".

The closest hypothetical situation I can think of is what would people think about All The Money In The World if they didn't reshoot the movie in order to remove Kevin Spacey? If they didn't refilm the movie with Christopher Plummer, would the studio even release it? For the sake of argument, let's say they did release it with Kevin Spacey. Would reviewers rate the movie negatively? Would Spacey's presence alone sour those people as they watched All The Money In The World and, as a result, walked away not liking it? Would outlets refuse to review it out of protest? In that context, I think those are all valid responses.

With Sony, it feels like they don't have a Christopher Plummer solution. They have to release that game. Or else they'll lose, what, $60 million? Which means we are basically going to have Detroit: Become Human in its current state (unless something drastic happens like Cage and Fondaumière resign, and somebody else takes over the studio and the game). A part of me still thinks people should cover and review the game, regardless of the context. Talk about the issues obviously, but still talk about the game. However, looking at the All The Money In The World example with how I can imagine outlets not reviewing the movie featuring Kevin Spacey out of protest, if some outlets--like Waypoint--refused to cover Detroit: Become Human, I can understand why they would do that.

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#42 Posted by SethMode (2019 posts) -

It's funny to read a thread that has people complaining both about the politicization of games and the sanitation of society. Rich irony happening. Good stuff.

Of course they should cover it. Obviously along with whatever context this story brings with it, but they should definitely cover it. Especially if the game is as tone deaf as some of what I've seen makes it look like it is. It paints an even more interesting picture.

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#43 Edited by Ares42 (4359 posts) -

@zirilius: All I'm saying is that there's important steps between allegations and action. Nothing about not listening or not taking people seriously or anything like that, just.. we can't go directly from allegations to actions. Not to sound too alarmist, but it's literally reverting back away from modern civil society.

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#44 Edited by Hayt (1683 posts) -

If they don't cover it maybe it should be because they seem already to have zero interest in it. Quicklooks that are 45 minutes of bored dudes ripping on something are rarely that good.

This thread also made me think it must be coming out soon but I see it'd still listed as "2018" for release. Is there really no more specific release date?

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#45 Edited by Atlas (2739 posts) -

I think if there was no coverage of Detroit as a game, it would be super disrespectful to the hard-working people at Quantic Dream that worked to make the game despite dealing with all the (alleged) toxicity. The tone of a studio is set by management, not the people in the trenches coding, programming, drawing, etc. Those people deserve a finished product that they can be proud of, and not to have their work ignored. It takes a village, as they say.

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#46 Posted by Onemanarmyy (4408 posts) -

a high profile new release? yes.

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#47 Edited by nutter (2145 posts) -

Of course.


Effectively blacklisting a game because of allegations is a bad move. They are still just allegations, right? Nothing has been proven?

It’s editorial’s call, I guess, but I’d rather see frank assessments of games than not cover a game that will surely be polarizing and worthy of discussion.

The stuff going around isn’t cool in the workplace. Hopefully the truth comes out and the situation is dealt with accordingly.

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#48 Edited by dgtlty (1229 posts) -

Most people who play games don't know or care about their development. They just want to know if it's worth buying or not.

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#49 Posted by BongChilla (360 posts) -

Weren’t the working practices awful for Red Dead Redemption? I don’t remember there being a call to action to boycott any coverage of that game. A lot of people claim that is the best game of the generation.

I’m not an advocate for those kinds of working conditions, they are awful and it seems like the Video Games industry is one of the worst offenders.

But like what has been stated in this thread previously, why punish the hard working people more than they already have been by not covering their game they worked (allegedly too) hard on.

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#50 Posted by Quarters (2658 posts) -

Of course they should cover it. Countless games have been made with terrible practices. An immediate example is LA Noire. If you didn't cover any game that had any questionable stuff behind the scenes, most sites would be a barren wasteland. When a machine has that many moving parts, you're going to have a bad gear here and there. It's just the law of averages.