Avalanche Studios Apologizes Over Lack Of DEI Transparency

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Avalanche Studios, developer of the Just Cause series of games as well as Rage 2, has penned an apology about the lack of DEI over employee frustration.

The publication of the apology surrounded by the Avalanche Studios Group double down on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion seems to come out of completely nowhere, considering the studio doesn’t directly mention what prompted the apology in the first place. The meat of the entire statement can be read below:

Along the way, we have taken significant steps forward. We have conducted an extensive audit of our compensation and benefits, implemented new and more inclusive hiring practices, and piloted more inclusive design processes. We’ve also partnered with external companies and organizations to increase awareness around accessibility and representation within our company and our games.

There have been times when we’ve had more to learn than we realized, and reflecting on where we’ve been is an important part of our journey forward. 

We’re sorry we haven’t gotten things right every time. 

During those times, the tireless work of Avalanchers who dedicate their attention and effort to improving the company has been invaluable. 

DEI at Avalanche Studios Group

Considering the very public falling out of Blizzard’s workplace harassment issues, its to be determined as to whether Avalanche will address the situation further, but an IGN article lists some of the potential reasoning as to the five W’s of what prompted this publication.

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According to the article, a high-ranking employee at Avalanche Studios — who remains unnamed — was subsequently hired by the company and received a promotion post, being terminated at a previous workplace for accusations of harassment. The backlash from employees and lack of transparency with HR caused a hostile work environment, as the individual in question was allegedly attending work events and allegedly holding 1-on-1 meetings with female employees. The following is a timeline of events:

  • After the unnamed employee resigned in the middle of 2022 — without ever having been alleged to engage in harassment at Avalanche — Avalanche CEO Pim Holfve then responded by stating, “The person has since left their contracted position with us, but the person chose to do so for project reasons only,” with “Their decision had nothing to do with the accusations from their previous workplace,” regarding the departure.
  • On November 9, an employee tagged CEO Pim Holfve in a post where they stated they were “no longer comfortable with the ethical implications of selling my labour to Avalanche Studios Group,” allegedly in accordance with this issue and the ethical avalanche it caused. Holfve then allegedly doubled down on the insistence the high-ranking employee in question was properly vetted.
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  • On November 14, an employee town hall Q&A meeting was conducted to determine the issues employees were facing, and the most repeated question involved Avalanche Studios inability to address employee concerns from the ground up, with managers and HR correspondents allegedly trivializing issues employees faced.
  • After the Town Hall meeting, Pim Holfve backtracks, stating, “I can honestly say that your concerns have not reached me in the past year, and I did not know about them, or I would have acted on this information. For that, I’m really sorry. Had I known those things when yesterday’s email was written, I would have apologized right there in the email – of course.” culminating in an “All of this highlights a number of flaws in our processes. For this, we are truly sorry. I said it to everyone on Thursday, and I’m saying it again today: we fucked up.”

While accountability was reached from the internal workings at Avalanche Studios, it remains to be seen as to whether the totality of these allegations and the problems facing the studio will continue to have a bleeding effect on the company at large. Fans will just have to wait and find out and can find the IGN article with this information from their site here from writer Rebekah Valentine.

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