NetherRealms Studios is ‘actively looking into’ allegations of a ‘poisonous’ work culture

NetherRealms Studios has promised to investigate reports from former and current employees that alleges that the studio operates a toxic crunch culture.

Following similar reports from studios such as Epic and BioWare, employees both past and present of the Mortal Kombat developer stepped forward to go on record about its “loud, obnoxious, super toxic” culture. As reported by Variety, rumours of low pay and “the crunch of extreme overtime as workers tried to finish the game on time” initially surfaced about the studio last month, but since then interviews with seven staff – two of whom were prepared to go on record – allege the issues are symptomatic of “a long-term poisonous work culture” at the studio.

Former QA analyst Rebecca Rothschild – who worked on both Mortal Kombat X and Injustice 2 –  said she had to work 90- to 100-weeks on both titles, causing her to quit the position and question her desire to remain working in the gaming industry.

“At the same time, I have never been more aware of my gender and insignificance at a workplace,” she told Variety. “I left with scars and fear of an industry I am deeply passionate about. I don’t like being a news story. I have nothing to gain from this professionally. I just want management to at least consider the other side and try to be better.

“As far as being aware of my gender, it was a lot of things,” she explained. “The small amount of women working there, the even smaller amount of women who were full time or had any kind of real influence. Being given a disgusting nickname I won’t repeat by a set of co-workers I never spoke to.”

“At NetherRealm Studios, we greatly appreciate and respect all of our employees and prioritise creating a positive work experience,” NetherRealms said in a statement to Variety. “As an equal opportunity employer, we encourage diversity and constantly take steps to reduce crunch time for our employees.

“We are actively looking into all allegations, as we take these matters very seriously and are always working to improve our company environment. There are confidential ways for employees to raise any concerns or issues.”

About Vikki Blake

It took 15 years of civil service monotony for Vikki to crack and switch to writing about games. She has since become an experienced reporter and critic working with a number of specialist and mainstream outlets in both the UK and beyond, including Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, IGN, MTV, and Variety.

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