It seems that in 2021, plenty of game publishers are being called out for their ongoing toxicity. As more problematic game publishers and companies are being exposed for their culturally unsafe work environments, we can only hope that those who participate in this kind of behavior are finally brought to justice. Of course, this is all too true for the studio Quantic Dream, the publisher who recently announced a new Star Wars game known as Star Wars Eclipse.
Star Wars Eclipse was announced at the 2021 Game Awards. The game is reportedly set during the High Republic era of the franchise. Like many of Quantic Dream's games — including Heavy Rain, Beyond: Two Souls, and Detroit: Become Human — the game will feature multiple playable characters in a cinematic gaming experience. The choices you make as each character will have an impact on the story, and will lead to very different outcomes depending on how you play.
The game doesn't yet have a release date, but it's already been marred by controversy thanks to the infamously terrible reputation of the development studio. And people on Twitter are already pushing back against it with a new hashtag.
Here's the #BlackoutStarWarsEclipse controversy, explained.
Despite its library of critically-acclaimed games, Quantic Dream has proven to be a highly controversial and problematic publisher in the industry. Run by founder and director David Cage, the studio mostly produces cinematic games wherein players' choices influence the overall story.
In 2018, news broke from three separate French news outlets about the company's problematic business practices marked by racism, sexism, homophobia, and antisemitism.
According to a report from Le Monde, Quantic Dream presented "a toxic corporate culture" riddled with "management with inappropriate words and attitudes, under-considered employees, overwhelming workloads, and questionable contractual practices." According to the joint report, several employees — including an entire IT department — had quit due to the toxic working environment.
As recently as 2021, Quantic Dream has been embroiled in a lawsuit against the news outlets, refuting the accusations of their work behavior and calling the reports "a veritable smear campaign." During one such court appearance, fellow Quantic Dream CEO Guillaume de Fondaumière reportedly asked if he could lie in court. The court largely ruled in favor of the outlets.
But let's bring it back to Star Wars Eclipse for a moment. Quantic Dream's controversy is a well-known topic in the gaming space. Gamers were already widely vocal about their displeasure with the Eclipse announcement from Quantic Dream, enough to create an entire compilation of reactions. It shouldn't surprise anyone that the backlash against Quantic Dream's involvement has resulted in a new trending topic on Twitter.
The hashtag "#BlackoutStarWarsEclipse" has been trending on Twitter, with users protesting the release of the game and calling for Quantic Dream to be reprimanded for their actions.
"It's really rather simple," one user tweeted. "#BlackoutStarWarsEclipse because homophobia, bigotry, and misogyny have no place in our stories. We can't let morally bankrupt creators corrupt these stories of hope. Nobody should ever be made to feel lesser. Fight for someone you don't know."
Using the hashtag, Star Wars fans are vocalizing their disdain for Quantic Dream and decrying their ongoing business in the face of the controversy.