Quantic Dream wins (and loses) lawsuit against French media outlets

Detroit: Become Human
(Image credit: Quantic Dream)

Detroit: Become Human studio Quantic Dream has won its lawsuit against French media outlet Le Monde, according to reports from Solidaires Informatique and STJV (via Eurogamer), but lost a claim filed simultaneously against another outlet, Mediapart. Both lawsuits were filed in 2018 over their coverage of allegations of sexism, homophobia, and inappropriate behavior at the studio.

The report on alleged workplace abuses at Quantic Dream was a collaborative effort between Le Monde and Mediapart that began in September 2017. "Each media outlet writes its own articles, but we try to coordinate, if possible, themes and dates of publication," a Canard PC report (available via the Wayback Machine) said. Along with claims of abusive behavior and mismanagement on the part of studio executives, the report also included examples of roughly 600 images "of dubious taste," photoshopped by a studio manager and shared with employees over its internal network.

Quantic Dream founder David Cage called the allegations "ridiculous, absurd, and grotesque" after they were published, while co-founder Guillaume de Fondaumière described them as "absolutely false" and warned that legal action would be taken. 

During the trial, which as reported by GamesIndustry took place in May 2021, Quantic Dream lawyers accused one of the journalists involved with writing the report as revenge for being refused access to the VIP section of a Quantic Dream party. Solidaires Informatique made allegations of financial impropriety and submitted records of abusive statements reportedly made by Cage; a Quantic Dream rep dismissed the claims as "completely fabricated quotes and misinterpreted information."

Prior to all of this, Quantic Dream lost a related lawsuit in 2019, filed against it by a former employee relating to the photoshopped images. That verdict did not come as a result of the images themselves, though, but because of the studio's failure to protect the "security" of the employee by allowing them to become public. Quantic Dream was ordered to pay €7,000 as a result.

Despite the ruling, it doesn't appear to be a clear-cut victory for Quantic Dream. Mediapart was found to have acted "in good faith" when it published the report, while Le Monde was unable to prove key points of its case without revealing its anonymous sources. I've reached out to Le Monde and Quantic Dream for comment and will update if I receive a reply.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.