DON’T NOD: the STJV denounces working conditions in the French studio

It is increasingly difficult to work in the video game industry, layoffs have been increasing since last year, but even when teams are not fired, working conditions remain complicated. THE Video Game Workers UnionOr STJVpublished this week a report regarding the practices of DON’T NOD.

The Parisian studio, known for Life is Strange, Vampyr or Remember Mewould have a chaotic organization, with communication and long-term vision problems, resulting in stress and burnout for its employees. The union recalls that it won the election of the social and economic committee, an announcement made… on a notice board in the premises, while more than 300 people work at DON’T NOD, including 75% teleworking. The studio would put obstacles in the way of STJV to prevent the union from defending workers, by ignoring emails or not respecting the Labor Code during framework meetings.

Furthermore, the STJV affirm that the team in charge of the development of Jusant was dispersed across other projects DON’T NOD, despite the critical success of the game (85/100 on Metacritic). A dissolution which was not justified by the studio, the latter left the team in the dark for two months, “without any work to be done”, a particularly stressful situation in this period when layoffs are legion. Moreover, the developers of Banishers: Ghost of New Eden learned of the game’s postponement only 30 minutes before the official public announcement. THE STJV indicates in passing that DON’T NOD is understaffed, it does not hire people on fixed-term contracts, internships or work-study contracts, but sometimes still calls them back during periods of crunch via precarious contracts.

The union draws up a mixed assessment of the French studio, also reporting carried out investigation Quality of Life at Work led by managementquestioning two-thirds of employees DON’T NOD. A survey which “in reality included almost no points explicitly relating to quality of life and working conditions”, but what emerged was not very encouraging:

  • 28% say they do not receive recognition for their work;
  • 30% would discourage their acquaintances from applying to DON’T NOD;
  • 39% believe there is too much workload (or teams that are too small);
  • 50% disapprove of the business strategy followed by management.

THE STJV therefore questioned management on its future measures to resolve these problems, but the studio “prefers to explain to its employees that they simply have not fully understood its ambitions and that it must explain itself better in its internal communications”. The only positive point: 90% of those questioned appreciate their colleagues and work with them, the union concludes that “the source of the problems is therefore systemic, of a structural nature”.

The union nevertheless recalls that DON’T NOD is one of the rare studios to offer full-time teleworking, permanent contracts and a progressive editorial line, but he calls on management to take steps to resolve the issues outlined in his report. It remains to be seen whether the Parisian studio will listen to reason this time, now that the file is public.

You can pre-order Banishers: Ghosts of New Eden from €44.99 on Amazon, there Fnac And Gamesplanet.

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