Raccoon logic diversity

Alex Hutchinson’s New Studio, Raccoon Logic, Criticized For a Lack of Diversity in its Founding Members

Alex Hutchinson, perhaps best known for his tenure as a creative director at Ubisoft Montreal on projects like Far Cry 4 and Assassin’s Creed 3, has formed a new studio called Raccoon Logic with a number of other industry veterans. However, the formation of the new studio is coming under fire for a lack of diversity, appearing to be built entirely on a foundation of white men.

Bloomberg’s Jason Schreier casually noted that it was “pretty wild” that a studio formed in the year 2021 “looks like this,” and included a picture of the founding members of Raccoon Logic; 20 white males. There is a complete lack of female or person-of-color representation among the founding members of the team.

The picture of the the team was included as part of a press release announcing the formation of the new studio earlier today. Additionally, Hutchinson’s co-founders largely include people he’s worked with before, with the five primary members—Reid Schneider, Yannick Simard, Erick Bilodeau, Marc-Antoine Lussier, and Hutchinson himself—all coming from the Google-acquired Typhoon Studios, and with further background at places like WB Games, EA, and Ubisoft as well.

Hutchinson shot back at Schreier on Twitter, calling the criticism about diversity “trolling.”

Alex Hutchinson New Studio Jason Schreier raccoon logic diversity trolling twitter tweet
Tweet Screenshot

A number of other industry members have stepped in to criticize Hutchinson’s dismissive response to the issues. Mitch Dyer, an industry veteran who has worked on numerous large games at big studios, and was once a journalist  himself, said that it was “super disappointing” to see another industry vet like Hutchinson brush off the concerns people have. Dyer went on to note that, given the current ongoing issues in the industry that generally make many development cultures unsafe for women, have a founding team of 20 white males (and moreover, trying to call criticism of that fact “trolling”) isn’t doing much to make the company feel welcoming to women, persons-of-color, and other minority groups.

Hutchinson did confirm that there is one woman at Raccoon Logic, “Noemie, our producer,” who couldn’t get back in time to make it into the studio photo, however, he failed to answer follow-up questions about if a studio made up of 20 men and 1 woman sent a “positive and inclusive message” to those who might be looking to apply, particularly from groups that are regularly marginalized.

Others have noted that, regardless of intention, “homogeneous environments like this…lead to women and PoC feeling unwelcome, isolated and unsafe.” With the core culture of many studios big and small currently under scrutiny for environments that can feel unsafe for marginalized groups, many feel that Schreier casually pointing out the fact that the studio is a vast majority white males is not “trolling” in any way, but rather a key commentary in the current games industry climate.

Hutchinson’s hangup on discussing the issue seems to be with how Twitter “soundbites” are taken, but has as of yet failed to offer any kind of indication that he’s even aware of the issue or concerns that are coming up. His replies at this point have largely been defensive. He’s expressed intentions to speak with reporters at Bloomberg and The Verge on the subject, however, so we may get a more eloquent response from Hutchinson via one of those channels soon. We’ve also reached out to Hutchinson for comment.

Raccoon Logic is working an an unannounced game and has reacquired the rights to Journey to the Savage Planet from Google after Typhoon was absorbed and disbanded, and they’ve confirmed they will continue to work on that IP in the future. The studio was formed thanks to a “pivotal” investment from Tencent.

This isn’t Hutchinson’s first time in the news for controversial comments. Last year he said that streamers should be paying developers to stream their games, a stance he still stands by.