Paradox Interactive, one of the biggest developers and publishers of PC strategy games — they’re responsible for this month’s Crusader Kings III — closed their internal Quality Assurance (QA) department last year, and a report on Rock Paper Shotgun alleges it was done in about the worst way possible.
Crusader Kings III is a game that takes in 600 years of human history, from the 9th century through to the 15th, with all the geopolitical conflict, religious turmoil and interpersonal struggles that went along with it. So…where do we even begin with this game, let along this review?Read more
Speaking with former employees of the department, responsible for testing the company’s games, the report says staff were underpaid (particularly given their location in Stockholm), that complaints were not addressed, and that even the closure of the department itself was handled poorly, with other Paradox employees “only [discovering] it had been closed after going looking for colleagues, only to be told they no longer worked at the company”.
A wider, more general allegation, one made against not just the QA closure but the company’s response to it (and to any other internal issues), is that Paradox has grown too quickly over the past 16 years. Starting out with just “a handful of employees”, Paradox now employs around 400 people.
“It was initially a very small, very passion-driven studio, where, you know, everyone knows everyone,” one of the people interviewed by RPS said. “Now the whole company is around 400 people strong, or something, and it’s not really structured to deal with that.”
Conditions at QA studios across the world are generally not what they could and should be, as employees — often contractors — generally struggle to receive the same rights and conditions as their full-time colleagues.