Team17 staff speak out against studio conditions following ‘Worms’ NFT controversy

Employees have described long hours, low salaries, HR failures, and more.

Following the news that Team17 would be cancelling its Worms NFT project shortly after it was announced last month, several employees have come forward to share their disappointment with the company’s push into the NFT space, along with other concerns.

According to the original report from Eurogamer, several anonymous staff members have stated that during the original announcement of the NFT project, the company refused to listen to concerns, which has ultimately put additional pressure on the team.

Some staff members came forward to object to the NFT project – which was said to be in the works since last year – saying that they were against the idea of non-fungible tokens. After the cancellation, Team17 staff were informed via a meeting that reportedly felt like a “political apology”.

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“If it was the people in the office who swayed them – if it had been the employees – they wouldn’t have done it,” one staff member who attended the meeting said. “…They didn’t apologise to staff, even the community managers who were subjected to a barrage of abuse because of it.”

Worms NFTs
Credit: Team17

Past and present Team17 employees also confirmed that the company has been letting go of employees, while others work long hours, sometimes working weekends for projects that needed extra attention, but have low salaries.

One employee said they worked every night of the week for months to meet a particular deadline while, outside of QA, staff said they worked overtime completely unpaid. QA members also described pay as “low” and “terrible” at around £16k GBP current base rate, up to around £19k GBP for a senior QA role.

Additionally, staff described their lack of faith in the company’s HR team, saying that it failed to act when alerted to issues surrounding sexual harassment. Women were reportedly sent degrading messages and suggestive photos by male colleagues. After they were reported to HR, the incidents were minimised, perpetrators were given a slap on the wrist, and victims were told to sort it out amongst themselves.

One woman said staff are now afraid to go to HR, as they felt they would be “gaslit”.

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The full detailed report also contains further issues about staff members who would have to go into the office during the Covid-19 pandemic to reduce their bills, while others couldn’t afford clothes and would have to skip meals.

In a lengthy statement to Eurogamer, a Team17 spokesperson said, “Team17 Digital takes its responsibilities to its staff extremely seriously. We constantly review our internal policies and practises and assess how we support our employees through our engagement survey and through direct dialogue with the team, including newly-established employee-led working groups.

“This encompasses compensation, workplace culture and environment, among other key areas, to continually strive to improve our employee experience. In January, as part of this, we announced new improvements to the way we pay and reward our Teamsters. We care passionately about our Teamsters and our aim is to ensure they feel connected, valued and have a sense of belonging and purpose, and that they continue to be proud of Team17 and the products we develop and publish.”

In other news, EA is no longer “driving hard” on NFTs.

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