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NetherRealm Investigating Worker Concerns After Studio-Wide Meeting

NetherRealm Studios is in the process of collecting employee concerns and reportedly cut back on overtime hours in the past week, a current employee tells Variety.

The current employee, who has asked to remain anonymous, said that a studio-wide meeting was held on Thursday following the aftermath of last week, when employees and contractors spoke out about their experiences working for NetherRealm. Reports of crunch (mandatory overtime) and a toxic work environment, including gender discrimination and harassment, surfaced last week at the studio, which is the developer behind the “Mortal Kombat” and “Injustice” games.

During the studio-wide meeting, employees were informed of how the studio will move forward with addressing concerns.

“HR will be sending out a survey for employees to fill out,” the employee wrote in an email to Variety. “These will then be sent out to WB [“Warner Bros.” the parent company of NetherRealm] for use in creating smaller focus groups among departments to further discuss the problems and concerns/complaints we have.”

It is not clear at this point if the survey is being filled out by both full-time and contract employees of NetherRealm.

NetherRealm gave a statement to Variety on Friday, saying that it prioritizes the creation of a “positive work experience” and that “We are actively looking into all allegations, as we take these matters very seriously and are always working to improve our company environment. There are confidential ways for employees to raise any concerns or issues.”

Following the statement, NetherRealm gave the studio the weekend off, according to the current employee.

“Coincidentally (maybe?) we were given the weekend off and have not yet gone past 6 p.m. this week,” the employee wrote.
The employee later said that attempts to cut back on overtime are being made at the studio, but added that they do not know if the studio can stick to this attempt because of an upcoming “Mortal Kombat 11” patch that’s in progress.
“I’m assuming we’ll be back to our overtime hours very soon,” the employee added.
The response around the studio to potential change is reportedly “cautious.”
“Employee response is cautious,” the current employee wrote. “They seem to appreciate it and are looking forward to it, but are wondering about what’s coming up.”
Warner Bros. did not immediately respond to Variety’s request for comment.
Do you have stories you’d like to share about working at NetherRealm or other studios under crunch or other adverse work conditions? Email Variety Gaming at GamingTips@Variety.com

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