Alex Hutchinson, perhaps best known for his tenure as creative director at Ubisoft Montreal for projects such as 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 new studio’s formation has come under fire for a lack of diversity, which seems to be built entirely on a foundation of white men.
Jason Schreier of Bloomberg casually noted that it was “pretty wild” that a studio formed in the year 2021 “looks like this”, adding a photo of the founding members of Raccoon Logic; 20 white men. There is a complete lack of representation of women or persons of color among the founding members of the team.
— Jason Schreier (@jasonschreier) August 11, 2021
The photo of the team was included as part of a press release announcing the creation of the new studio earlier today. Additionally, Hutchinson’s co-founders are largely people he’s worked with before, with the five key members — Reid Schneider, Yannick Simard, Erick Bilodeau, Marc-Antoine Lussier, and Hutchinson himself — all coming from Google-acquired Typhoon Studios, and with more background on places like WB Games, EA and Ubisoft as well.
Hutchinson shot back at Schreier on Twitter, calling the criticism of diversity “trolling.”
You know you’ve really started your new studio when Jason Schreier is already trolling.
— Alex Hutchinson (@BangBangClick) August 11, 2021
A number of other members of the industry have stepped in to criticize Hutchinson’s dismissive response to the problems. Mitch Dyer, an industry veteran who has worked on countless major games in major studios and was once a journalist himself, said it was “super disappointing” to see another industry vet like Hutchinson brush off people’s concerns. Dyer further noted that given the current ongoing problems in the industry that generally make many development cultures unsafe for women, a founding team of 20 white men has (and furthermore tries to call criticism of that fact “trolls”). t do a lot to make the company feel hospitable to women, people of color and other minority groups.
Hutchinson did confirm that there is one woman at Raccoon Logic, “Noemie, our producer,” who couldn’t be back in time to shoot the studio shot, but he didn’t answer follow-up questions about whether a studio sent up to 20 men and 1 woman a ” positive and inclusive message” to those who may want to apply, especially from groups that are regularly marginalized.
Understood, I hope she’s home now or very soon.
To clarify, I understand your studio is ~20 males and 1 female, correct?
Does this send a positive and inclusive message about the studio to potential employees, in particular. in marginalized groups?
— Mitch Verver (@MitchyD) August 11, 2021
others have noticed that, regardless of the intent, “homogeneous environments like this… make women and PoC feel unwelcome, isolated, and unsafe.” With the core culture of many studios large and small currently being scrutinized for environments that may feel unsafe for marginalized groups, many feel that Schreier casually points out that the studio is a vast majority of white males, no way. “trolls”, but rather an important commentary in the current climate of the gaming industry.
Hutchinson’s penchant for discussing the issue appears to be with how Twitter “sound bites” are taken, but so far has given no indication that he is even aware of the issue or concerns that are surfacing. His responses to this point were largely defensive. However, he has expressed his intent to speak to reporters from Bloomberg and The Verge on the subject, so we may get a more eloquent response from Hutchinson through one of those channels soon. We have also reached out to Hutchinson for comment.
Raccoon Logic is working on an unannounced game and has re-acquired the rights to Journey to the Savage Planet from Google after Typhoon was absorbed and disbanded, and they have confirmed they will continue to work on that IP in the future. The studio was created thanks to a “critical” investment from Tencent.
This isn’t the first time Hutchinson has been in the news for controversial comments. Last year he said streamers should pay developers to stream their games position he still stands by.