Around sixty employees at Raven Software arranged a walkout on Monday in protest of Friday’s dismissals in the studio’s Quality Assurance team. During the period 3-8 December, the contract employees in the QA team will find out if they get a full-time job at Raven, or if their time at the studio is over. Twelve employees, a third of the studio’s QA team, were notified on Friday that they had been laid off. It states the Washington Post.
The demand from the strikers, which consists of both full-time and contract employees, is that the entire QA team should get full-time employment at Raven. This also applies to those who are fired on Friday. They also highlighted the importance of the QA team for the studio’s work and well-being. Eurogamer quotes:
“In response to the events of Friday, the Raven QA team and other members of Raven’s staff will be walking out with a singular demand: Every member of the QA team, including those terminated on Friday, must be offered full time positions. The Raven QA department is essential to the day-to-day functioning of the studio as a whole. Terminating the contracts of high performing testers in a time of consistent work and profit puts the health of the studio at risk.”
The parent company Activision Blizzard has announced that they support their employees’ right to express their opinions and concerns without fear of reprisals from the company. They also stated that the dismissals on Friday were part of a major restructuring of contract employees at the company, and that within the coming months they plan to provide full-time employment to 500 of them.
“Activision publishing is growing its overall investment in its development and operations resources. We are converting approximately 500 temporary workers to full-time employees in the coming months. Unfortunately, as part of this change, we also have notified 20 temporary workers across studios that their contracts would not be extended.”
The work environment at Activision Blizzard has been a hot topic lately, yesterday’s walkout was the third of its kind at the company since July, when the allegations of sexual harassment at the company emerged. Since then, employees have also demanded the resignation of CEO Bobby Kotick when they revealed how much he knew about the harassment, and most recently it was announced that Activision Blizzard is not welcome at The Game Awards this Thursday night.
For most people today, Raven Software is probably best known as a support developer for the Call of Duty series, but the older ones among us probably also remember the Jedi Knight – and Soldier of Fortune series among the studio’s works.