Founded in 2000, the studio mainly creates real-time strategy games for PC and Mac, such as “Steel Division: Normandy 44,” “Act of Aggression,” and the “Wargame” series.
The six employees represented nearly a quarter of the 21 people left at Eugen, according to a press release from the independent union Le Syndicat des Travailleurs et Travailleuses du Jeu Vidéo (STJV). The studio reportedly had around 50 employees at the beginning of 2018.
Many of them went on strike earlier this year after claiming Eugen was paying them less than the mandated minimums set in their contracts. It lasted over a month and a half before negotiations stalled. The STJV and about 15 employees are now bringing a case before a French labor tribunal in March 2019. Eugen claimed the recent firings are unrelated to the ongoing dispute and said the employees negatively affected the studio’s mood. All six people participated in the strike, however, and STJV said it believes the firings were an “act of retaliation and a preemptive move by management.”
“Low pay is a serious problem in the French games industry,” the STJV said. “This is particularly felt by game developers working in Paris, which is one of the world’s most expensive cities. Eugen Systems’ studio is located in central Paris.”
Video game industry worker conditions and unionization were hot topics in 2018 following a number of high-profile studio closures, layoffs, and sexual misconduct allegations. Game Workers Unite, a grassroots organization advocating for workers’ rights within the industry, recently formed its first legal trade union in the UK.
Variety contacted Eugen Systems for comment, but it did not immediately respond.