It was only just last week that I was remarking at how pleasantly consistent Eugen Systems’ support of Steel Division and their Wargame series has been over the past few years. Sadly, it seems that constant stream of fresh new content may have come at great human cost.
Immediately after the release of the Back to Hell expansion for Steel Division, nearly half of the studio went on strike to protest sub-minimum wages, excessive crunch-time hours not fully compensated for and a failure to adhere to contractual agreements, according to this (French language) post on an industry union site.
Eugen were quick to fire back, releasing a statement (also in French) that they have been operating fully within the law, and only inadvertently dipping below the minimum wage due to payslips requiring corrections, leading to them going out late – a problem which they lay squarely at the feet of the government’s recent legislative reforms. While I don’t mean to imply anything, this doesn’t really sound like something that 21 veteran game developers would ordinarily walk out on to protest.
The striking developers (also also in French) dismiss Eugen’s dismissal, and claim that their complaints against the company date back as much as 15 months. At present, the union site links to a crowdfunding page to provide support for the team on strike until the situation is resolved. It seems only reasonable to assume that the developer’s extensive strategic knowledge had led to a tidy, organised and colour-coordinated protest march at the very least.
We’ll be keeping up with the situation as best we can, within the limits of my limited and patchy French, and through the assistance of automated translation software. Either way, I wish the developers at Eugen luck and hope that there’s a stable studio to come back to at the end of this, whichever side of the picket line they stand on.