Ori and the Blind Forest and its sequel Will of the Wisps are magical games with a number of admirers. Their success led developer Moon Studios to partner with companies like Private Division for a new IP. But despite all of his critical and commercial success, Moon still seems to have some serious issues behind the scenes.
A new report from GamesBeat details the toxic working conditions that many Moon developers were subjected to. Studio founders Thomas Mahler and Gennadiy Korol have been accused of some rather nasty behavior, including bullying, casual racism, sexism and other uses of harmful language – GamesBeat’s report includes a capture of screen of Mahler using a slur against people with intellectual disabilities in a Discord chat.
Despite this treatment, the developers under Mahler and Korol are proud of what Moon has accomplished with the Ori games. “Maybe my suffering was worth it because other people felt something,” lamented one developer. “At the end of the day, I mean, a lot of us were exhausted.” Neither are statements a happy, well-treated employee should make.
The allegations were made and Mahler and Korol responded to them before GamesBeat’s report was published. Their response is far from adequate, saying they don’t believe that “[GamesBeat’s] the questions are representative of the more than 80 Moon Studios team members who thrive and do great work every day. The response goes on to tout the critical and financial success of the Ori games rather than seriously considering the allegations.
This looks like a sad situation at Moon Studios, and the founders’ response to the accusations is very disappointing. GamesBeat’s report contains many more examples of crashes that need to be addressed and fixed.