Earlier this month NetherRealm faced allegations of toxic work conditions. The Chicago based studio, responsible for Mortal Kombat 11, was said to have enforced 100 hour work weeks in the run up to the games release. This were compounded by other issues relating to gender discrimination, low pay, mismanagement and poor communication. Now it seems like the studio is beginning to take positive action, as employees report getting surveys and seeing compulsory overtime cut back.
Speaking to Variety, a current NetherRealm employee, who wishes to remain anonymous, says that a meeting was held on Thursday for the entire studio, following the damning reports last week. During the meeting staff were informed that surveys would be being distributed by HR, allowing them to give honest feedback to studio bosses. The surveys will then be sent to parent company Warner Bros and used to create small focus groups, in which employees can further discuss their concerns and complaints.
Alongside the surveys, staff have also seen a change in workplace hours. All staff were given last weekend off, and the employee reports that work hours had not extended beyond 6pm at the time they spoke out. Staff remain skeptical however with the employee saying “I’m assuming we’ll be back to our overtime hours soon” before adding that staff were “cautious” about the changes but “appreciate it.”
The response follows weeks of accusations regarding toxic work conditions at the studio. Several employees came forward to the press citing issues regarding mismanagement, compulsory overtime and “loud, obnoxious, super-toxic” co-workers.
In response to the accusations a statement by the studio bosses made to Variety said “We are actively looking into all allegations, as we take these matters very seriously and are always working to improve our company environment. There are confidential ways for employees to raise any concerns or issues.”
NetherRealm are not the only studio to face such accusations in recent weeks. Riot Games also hit the headlines for similar reasons, although their situation escalated to a walk out, something NetherRealm are no doubt seeking to avoid.
It remains to be seen if the changes continue, with one of the reasons for staff’s skepticism being an upcoming deadline for a Mortal Kombat 11 patch. For now at least it appears that the issues are being explored and the action taken shows bosses are finally taking employees complaints seriously. Long may it continue.