Current and former employees of Scavenger Studios, creators of The Darwin Project and the recently announced Season, have come forward with stories of harassment, mistreatment, misogyny, and more that have been present since the studio's inception, with co-founder Simon Darveau as the biggest perpetrator of these actions.
In an article published by Games Industry, Darveau, who was romantically involved with the CEO of Scavenger Amélie Lamarche at one point, was accused of establishing a toxic environment at the studio, with employees unable to take actions against him, as Scavenger lacked an HR department, with all complaints handled by Lamarche.
An incident in January 2019 had employees describing Darveau as going into "full predator mode," during a party in which he got drunk and proceeded to grope several women present at the event. Two female employees would end up quitting the studio as a result.
Scavenger Studios' latest game, Season, was announced at The Game Awards (Image: Scavenger Studios)
As a result, the studio simply decided not to offer alcohol at company gatherings, with no punishment coming to Darveau whatsoever.
The issue was so minimized that, according to a couple more employees that were aware of the drinking incident, described how Darveau mocked a low-effort meeting held by Lamarche in which they discussed harassment policies within the company.
"Like a teenager in the audience. Laughing and riffing on whatever the sexual harassment policies were," they said.
Sexual misconduct was not the only thing the former Ubisoft employee was accused of. According to former employees, he saw the people working at Scavenger as "disposable," with only a handful of workers rising above this, known as the "commandos."
"Always enabled and protected by Simon," this group of people peddled the toxic environment at the studio and belittled the rest of co-workers.
As the COVID-19 pandemic, making the studio pivot to a home office structure, employees described that the atmosphere became increasingly tense, with yelling and belittlement becoming too common.
"They occur in meetings and yelling at people to the point you can hear it from outside the meeting room pre-COVID. Post-COVID is even more terrible because everyone is on the call, so now it's exposed to not just people who walk by the meeting room, it's everyone who's connected."
The piece goes into more details regarding the general behaviour of Darveau within the company, with Scavenger Studios refuting that some comments "are false, somewhat blown out of proportion or lacking important pieces," with the studio declining to go into specifics as to which incidents they are referring.