Quantic Dream, the developer behind adventure games like Detroit: Become Human, Beyond: Two Souls, and Heavy Rain, has been found guilty of not following through on its security obligations by a member of management allowing photo montages using the likenesses of its employees to be made and shared without their consent.
According to a report by french outlet Mediapart, the ruling was issued on November 21, and ruled the company would have to pay €5000 to a former IT employee in damages, as well as compensate them for legal fees with an additional €2000.
The case was initially opened in 2017 when these images began circulating internally at Quantic Dream, which featured photoshopped faces of employees on suggestive images, as well as ones that implied hate speech and Nazi allegiance. After the issue was brought up to higher management and nothing was done, an IT employee sought legal action, which was finally seen through this month.
In a translated report by french outlet Tryagame, it was reported that, in October, a judge finally declared the images “homophobic, misogynistic, racist or deeply vulgar.” According to the judge’s ruling these images spread throughout Quantic Dream “for several years […] in the company by employees, without the employer, however informed, reacting.”
Ultimately, the judge said the defense that these images were made as a joke didn’t hold water, and ruled accordingly.
“While remaining passive in the face of this more than questionable practice, which can not be justified by the ‘humorous’ spirit prevailing in society, the employer has committed a breach of the obligation of security.”
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Quantic Dream isn’t quite done with this case yet, as the studio has an ongoing case against french outlets Mediapart and Le Monde for what it claims is defamation of the studio’s name for reporting on this story last year. Given these revelations and rulings it’s unclear what grounds Quantic Dream has to stand on, but the hearing for the defamation case is scheduled for December 5 and 6.
This isn’t the studio’s first run in with legal issues involving people it works with, as actress Ellen Page, who starred as Jodie in 2013’s Beyond: Two Souls, explored legal action against the studio after it modeled a nude render of her character without her permission. Page acted both as the voice and face model for the character, who had a nude model when she took showers at certain points in the game, which was strategically covered in any of those scenes. However, Quantic Dream went a step further and created a detailed nude model of the character, which was accessible when the game was in debug mode.
Up until recently, Quantic Dream had been developing its games exclusively for PlayStation platforms, with Heavy Rain and Beyond: Two Souls launching on the PlayStation 3 and Detroit: Become Human coming exclusively to PlayStation 4 last year. Since then all three have been ported to PC as the studio looks to move into self-publishing.