Following the release and panning of Lord of the Rings: Gollum, developer Daedalic Entertainment revealed that they were shifting towards game publishing and the studio that built Gollum would be shuttered. That announcement was made back in June of this year, but months later we’re still learning troubling news about the developer.
In a report from German outlet Game Two, multiple former employees of Daedalic Entertainment have come forward to allege a toxic work environment behind the scenes. The anonymous ex-employees said that mismanagement was ripe at the studio, and that was steeped in a layer of toxicity from CEO (and founder) Carsten Fichtelmann and COO Stephan Harms.
Nearly 3 dozen anonymous former employees have said that there was an “atmosphere of fear” at the studio, which was due to Fitchtelmann shouting at staff to a degree that caused some staffers to whisper in fear of retaliation. This goes along with extreme levels of crunch with no pay, and heaps of work dumped onto junior staff and interns.
Following that initial report, IGN also did some investigative work and found similar comments from other former Daedalic employees. Furthermore, these ex-staffers said that the brutal situation behind the scenes at Daedalic was a open secret in the game industry.
Daedalic and Nacon have both denied the allegations, with the dev/pub saying that the studio enjoyed a “friendly working atmosphere.”