LOTR Gollum Developer Accused Of Unethical Labor And Using AI To Write Apology Statement
Developer Daedelic Entertainment underpaid and overworked employees according to a new report.
A new report claims that The Lord of the Rings: Gollum developer Daedalic Entertainment had a toxic and troubled workplace environment, which underpaid employees and encouraged crunch.
A video from German outlet Game Two (via IGN), alleges Daedalic entertainment enforced unpaid overtime, tried to pay staff below minimum wage, and fostered a culture of crunch. Game Two directly interviewed or exchanged emails with 32 people involved with Daedalic and/or in the development of Gollum.
The report alleges Daedalic exploited young employees and interns and underpaid them for their work. Executives at the company reportedly insisted employees to work late hours for no extra pay and normalized crunch as a regular part of the industry. One developer described the environment as "an atmosphere of fear." IGN reached out to their own sources, which confirmed Game Two's findings and claimed the company's problems were an open secret in the German games industry. In a statements provided to Game Two, Daedalic denied currently employing interns and the work culture allegations.
The report also alleges that the apology publisher Nacon posted on social media was written with AI. Reportedly, Daedalic developers were not made aware of the statement until after it was published.
Gollum was met with a negative critical reception upon release. Low sales resulted in Daedalic's next Lord of the Rings project being canceled, the company's development arm ending production, and the layoff of 25 employees.