A week after promising to launch an investigation into allegations of toxic work conditions, NetherRealm Studios has reportedly cut down on overtime hours and has been holding internal meetings to assess the situation.
Speaking to Variety on condition of anonymity, a current employee said that a company-wide meeting was held last Thursday, in which employees were informed that they would be sent out surveys to gather feedback. Based on that feedback, parent company Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment will be establishing focus groups in different NetherRealm departments to address employees’ concerns and complaints.
The anonymous employee also said that following multiple reports in recent weeks, NetherRealm decided to give its employees last weekend off.
“Coincidentally (maybe?) we were given the weekend off and have not yet gone past 6:00 pm this week,” they said. However, there are concerns that an upcoming Mortal Kombat 11 patch will prompt the management to demand overtime yet again.
“I’m assuming we’ll be back to our overtime hours very soon,” the employee added.
Variety’s source also said that employees are “cautious” and aren’t getting their hopes up just yet.
“Employee response is cautious,” they continued. “They seem to appreciate it and are looking forward to it, but are wondering about what’s coming up.”
NetherRealm’s problems go beyond toxic work conditions. A recent report by Kotaku revealed that employees started suffering from mental health problems, including post-traumatic stress disorder, as a result of spending years working on the more violent aspects of Mortal Kombat. Fatalities, for example, required looking up graphic source material for inspiration.
“You’d walk around the office and one guy would be watching hangings on YouTube, another guy would be looking at pictures of murder victims, someone else would be watching a video of a cow being slaughtered,” said a developer who worked on Mortal Kombat 11‘s cinematics. “The scary part was always the point at which new people on the project got used to it. And I definitely hit that point.”
We’ll continue to update our readers as this story develops.