On January 31, TEAM17 was taking your feet in the carpet announcing NFT to the effigy of the Worms, its historical mascots. Following the disputes of the players, but also and especially five of his partners, the group immediately made back machine, canceling purely and simply the project. The story could have stopped there, but this incident has decided several current and former employees to talk about working conditions within the studio.
A survey published by the Eurogamer site has brought together more than a dozen testimonies regarding working conditions in the two studio antennas and TEAM17 British publisher. Above all, the increasing workload in recent years for low-income wages, but also the internal communication worries about this NFT Worms case. This project would have been decided at the end of 2021 by “the company’s summit” and the information would have been kept secret for several teams until the public announcement. More problematic, employees who were aware of their fears and disapproval towards this NFT program, to be perfectly ignored. Dysfunctions that go wrong after the return of stick that followed his ad.
By snowball effect, a dozen old and current employees, all under cover of anonymity, have entrusted to curling their concerns vis-à-vis the game schedule of the games published by Team17. With seven titles published in 2020, and then eight in 2021, the workload has intensified since the Group’s public marketing in 2018: “the short direction after the quantity rather than the quality”. With ever more deadlines to respect, it is again on the shoulders of the quality service teams (QA) that the load has increased. All for basic salaries at £ 16,000 in the year for junior profiles, only at £ 19,000 for seniors.
Testers say they desperately sought to alert the bosses on development problems, but they have been ignored.
Other points of friction would also have “affected the morale_” employees. In addition to the heavy labor days – Eurogamer does not specify which time volume is concerned here – a “Point of Concorde” was created around the issue of bonuses granted at the end of the year. The teams would have executed overtime in the hope of receiving their premium, before discovering last December that it was severely linked, for some more than £ 1000. Cuts that the direction justifies by a “sous-performance” titles First-Party out during the fiscal year, even as, on January 6, it announced to its shareholders that the results for the second half of the year 2021 surpassed their expectations. A situation that would greatly benefit from Debbie Bestwick, co-founder of the studio and current CEO, whose annual salary would have climbed more than 7.5 million pounds, or $ 10.2 million.
Among the other dissension elements, the employees surveyed entrust to Eurogamer “_ne not trust” to the current team of the Human Resources of the studio. They believe that HR have “_pas acted when they were alerted” on problems of sexual harassment while several women employed have reported receiving degrading messages and suggestive photos from male colleagues. “_The culprits have been tapped on the fingers, and the victims had to fend for themselves.
Asked by Eurogamer, TEAM17 responded to take “responsibilities to its very serious staff” and claims to have launched any new approaches to improve the dialogue with its employees, particularly with regard to wages. “Our objective is to make sure that they feel connected, valued and that they have a sense of belonging and utility, and that they continue to be proud of Team17 and the products we develop and publish_”. One point on which the witnesses fall agrees, confident being “_formed loyal to their colleagues and proud of the work they accomplish.”