Bungie plans on doing better for its employees, its CEO Pete Parsons says.
The CEO of game developer Bungie published an apology to employees Friday following a report earlier in the day by IGN alleging a toxic work environment. The report was based on interviews with more than two dozen former or current employees.
The 26 people interviewed by IGN provided accounts of alleged abuse by senior-level managers, sexual discrimination, as well as intense periods of game development referred to as crunch. Most of these claims were from years ago, and many of those responsible for the bad behavior have since been let go, said Bungie CEO Pete Parsons. The company has made strides in recent years to improve, but there’s still more to do, he added. Bungie is the developer behind the Destiny series and the early Halo game.
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“I’m heartened by the progress we have made, but it is not enough, and it has taken too long,” Parsons said. “It also does not sweep away the bad experiences people have had at our studio. Speaking with the team at Bungie, reading the stories and seeing both known and newly surfaced accounts, it is clear we still have work ahead of us.”
The report detailed several instances of a toxic work environment. In one instance, leads of the narrative team for Destiny continued requiring last-minute revisions to the game’s story, causing longer periods of crunch time even though the company was making efforts to limit such time. Members of the narrative team asked for help from human resources and the CEO, but received no responses until multiple writers resigned or threatened to quit, which included every woman on the team. Bungie eventually fired the leads responsible for the situation.
Women interviewed by IGN cited examples of being ignored, and said they were questioned about their abilities to perform their jobs. There were also details of male employees harassing and getting into the personal space of women while also making racist and sexist remarks.
Parsons said there have been strides made to increase the number of women and those in underrepresented groups among the company employees and leadership. He also said the Bungie diversity committee was reformed, and multiple employee-led inclusion clubs have been created.
Bungie’s former publishing partner, Activision Blizzard, has faced a huge backlash in recent months following a California lawsuit accusing the company of a “frat boy culture” and alleging harassment and discrimination. Company CEO Bobby Kotick came under fire in November when a report confirmed he was aware of these allegations for years.