Wattam creator Funomena is facing closure, shortly after allegations of abuse within the studio’s workplace surfaced.
In a Tweet posted by the studio yesterday (March 29), Funomena claimed that it “was in the process of closing an investment round just before GDC, & we are still actively working to do so. Last week we let everyone know that if we do not successfully finish the fundraise, we will be forced to close the studio.”
“We love game development, we love making games and we love bringing people into the community. It is our sincere hope that we can continue to do so, together,” added the studio.
Earlier in the month, a series of allegations accused Funomena’s boss Robin Hunicke of workplace abuse. An investigation by People Make Games‘ Chris Bratt (via PC Gamer) spoke to employees who alleged that Hunicke was emotionally abusive and used employees’ personal information “in a way that was either humiliating or entirely unprofessional”.
“She was emotionally manipulative, spread rumours, tried to silence those that spoke against her, and labelled me as a ‘creep’ and a ‘bully’ and a ‘misogynist.’ She neglected her teaching and her students, all while using the emotional distress and personal pain of others as excuses,” alleged former colleague Nathan Altice.
On March 22, Hunicke issued a statement claiming “It saddens me to know people are hurting from mistakes I’ve made. I am truly sorry. Right now I’m taking time to talk to people, focus on the feedback everyone is sharing, and figure out next steps.”
The apology was not well received on Twitter, as users criticised the Tweet for apparently lacking sincerity or meaningful action.
In other news, Activision Blizzard has settled its lawsuit with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) for £13.7million ($18million), though continues to face several more legal challenges.