David Cage and Guillaume de Fondaumière, the bosses of Heavy Rain and Beyond: Two Souls developer Quantic Dream, have successfully sued French newspaper Le Monde for libel, after the outlet printed alleged claims by studio members of a toxic work environment.
A report by Solidaires Informatique, translated by Eurogamer, states Le Monde's case had been weakened as it was unable to prove certain elements of its reporting without divulging the anonymity of its sources.
Neither party has commented publicly on the judgement, and there's no word yet on any terms.
Mediapart, another French outlet sued by Quantic Dream for its reporting on the allegations, was completely cleared. Separate libel cases by Quantic Dream as a company against Le Monde and Mediapart also both failed.
Back in May this year, Solidaires Informatique reported on various elements of the trial itself, some of which were independently verified by GamesIndustry.biz. At one point, GI.biz reported Quantic Dream's lawyers accused a journalist of writing their article detailing workplace conditions "as revenge for [co-CEO] Guillaume de Fondaumière refusing them access to the VIP section of a Quantic Dream party".
At the time, Quantic Dream explained it had sued the newspapers for "publishing articles that we felt were not printed in good faith, nor with reasonable research nor evidence, and which drew false conclusions which extensively damaged the reputation and morale of the studio".
Eurogamer has today contacted Le Monde and Quantic Dream for comment.
The controversy began in January 2018, when French outlets Le Monde, Mediapart and Canard PC simultaneously published a joint report which alleged inappropriate behaviour, crunch and a schoolboy culture involving sexist and racist jokes at the famous French studio. At the time, Quantic Dream was just finishing work on Detroit: Become Human, its third PlayStation console exclusive in its partnership with Sony.
Cage and de Fondaumière both firmly denied the allegations, saying they were "shocked" by the "rantings" of former employees, and calling them "ridiculous, absurd and grotesque". Stepping up its response to the press reports, Quantic Dream later issued a formal statement saying the allegations were a "smear". Several months later, it launched legal proceedings.
One particular area of contention was a cache of some 600 controversial photoshopped images of staff dating back to 2013, some of which were made public by the various publications. In July 2018, Quantic Dream lost a court case against a former employee who quit due to the offensive images being circulated at the studio.
In 2019, Quantic Dream announced it would no longer make PlayStation console exclusives. Numerous reports over the past weekend suggested the studio's next project is a Star Wars game for Disney.
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