Scavengers have responded to the claims made against the studio’s creative director and co-founder, Simon Darveau, who was accused of ‘toxic actions’ and abuse by both current and former employees.
Per the studio’s statement, Darveau has been “indefinitely suspended from all responsibilities within the company and from the Board of Directors” by Scavengers.
After drawing attention at The Game Awards for its upcoming game Seasons, which was praised for its diverse cast and interesting premise, some less than positive news arose from conversations with employees of Scavengers Studio.
According to a group of current and former employees who spoke anonymously to gamesindustry.biz, Darveau and his romantic partner and CEO Amelie Lamarche cultivated an “environment hostile to women”. They cited a “boys club” culture with several female employees feeling regularly belittled and degraded by management.
The accusations of degradation and belittlement extended to all interactions, including casual conversations and the studio’s Slack messaging app.
Many of the women involved also accuse Darveau specifically of making women feel uncomfortable with his words and actions, including an occasion where a work party led to more alleged harassment. Multiple sources have claimed that the co-founder’s behaviour at this party was inappropriate, touching and grabbing multiple female employees.
There were also reports of comments being made about female employees’ clothes and appearance, with some incidents seeming to reoccur multiple times.
The full report details many more alleged incidents, including a claim by an employee of Darveau being in “full predator mode” in the aforementioned party of January 2019. An independent investigation was held and the company decided to reduce the amount of alcohol available at functions in future. One employee is reported saying, “It felt very frustrating to put that on the back of people being drunk, because Darveau was still pretty shitty before he drank, it felt like an excuse.”
A response to these accusations was shared by Scavengers on Wednesday (January 27), signed by Lamarche.
“Following the toxic workplace allegations brought forward in the media, Scavengers Studio wishes to apologise for the harm caused,” the studio said. “Allegations such as these are serious, and we are committed to doing better for our employees, our fans and our partners.”
It went on to say that Darveau has been “indefinitely suspended from all responsibilities within the company and from the Board of Directors”.
The statement ends: “We ask for the community’s patience and understanding as we go through this process. The Season team has poured their hearts into the project. We have full confidence in their creative direction and will continue to support the amazing work of our talented team.”
The statement is available to read in full here.
Many women report having quit or stopped showing up for work following behaviours stemming from Darveau and Lamarche. It was also alleged that most employees were seen as ‘disposable’. The full report is available to read on GamesIndustry.biz.