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According to an extensive report in Gamesindustry.biz, Scavengers Studio Simon Darveau has been accused of an array of toxic and abusive behaviors by employees at Scavenger Studio, makers of The Darwin Project and the upcoming game Season.
In Rebekah Valentine's report, nine current and former employees of the Montreal-based game development studio described a toxic work environment fostered by studio creative director Simon Darveau and enabled by CEO Amelie Lamarche. (Lamarche was Darveau's romantic partner when the pair founded the studio.)
The pattern described by employees goes as follows: Simon Davreau and other high-level male employees allegedly regularly engaged in demeaning behavior, particularly towards the women on the team.
This behavior ranged from sexist remarks or down physical groping. On one occasion, a developer reportedly said it "wasn't realistic" that Season's protagonist (a woman named Abby) shouldn't be able to play the guitar because "the guitar was too complicated for a woman."
Behavior specifically attributed to Davreau is all the more damning. One story relayed to GI.biz says that Darveau allegedly had an affair with an employee, who simply stopped showing uip to work after Lamarche found out. Another was that Darveau explained his behavior to staff by "comparing himself to a dog in heat -- unable to control himself."
Darveau would apparently also become drunk and loud at company parties. At one party in 2019, multiple sources alleged that he touched and grabbed women who worked at the company.
All of this behavior was apparently enabled by Lamarche, who multiple employees pointed out could not be impartial at many points in the company's history because she was romantically involved with Darveau.
The stories about Darveau's alleged behavior only go on, and include him apparently getting into a number of shouting matches with employees and even an Xbox representative.
It's worth noting that Simon Darveau's former company was Ubisoft Montreal, where he was a design director on Assassin's Creed III. Reports of an alleged mysoginistic work environment at Ubisoft were an enormous story that became public last year.
In a response to Valentine's inquiries, Scavengers Studio laid out policies it would be taking going forward with changes to its company code of conduct and sexual harassment reporting process. It did tell GI.Biz that "certain elements in [their] assessments are false, somewhat blown out of proportion or lacking important pieces."
The company did not specify which "assessments."
For more on allegations about Scavengers Studio, and how these developments are impacting their next game, be sure to read Valentine's full report.