Gaming News

Wattam developer Funomena reportedly closing following allegations of workplace abuse

UPDATE: Studio actively seeking investment.

UPDATE 30/3/22: Following reports of Funomena’s closure last night the studio has tweeted to say it’s still actively working on closing an investment round.

“Funomena was in the process of closing an investment round just before GDC, and we are still actively working to do so,” reads the tweet. “Last week we let everyone know that if we do not successfully finish the fundraise, we will be forced to close the studio.

“We love game development, we love making games and we love bringing people into the community. It is our sincere hope that we can continue to do so, together.”

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ORIGINAL STORY 29/3/22: Developer Funomena, which collaborated with Katamari Damacy creator Keita Takahashi on 2020’s Wattam, is reportedly closing down following recent allegations of workplace abuse at the studio, all focussing on company boss Robin Hunicke.

Those allegations first came to light last week as part of an investigation by People Make Games into workplace abuses at three indie studios. In that report, People Make Games’ Chris Bratt spoken to Funomena staff who claimed Hunicke was emotionally abusive and often used sensitive personal information in a way that was humiliating or unprofessional, with some employees describing Hunicke as “the instigator of a huge amount of toxicity” at the studio.

In response to those allegations, Hunicke took to Twitter, writing, “It saddens me to know people are hurting from mistakes I’ve made. I am truly sorry. Right now I’m taking time to talk to people, focus on the feedback everyone is sharing, and figure out next steps.”

People Make Games – Investigating Three Indie Superstars Accused of Emotional Abuse.

Now, though, in a follow-up to his People Make Games video, Chris Bratt reports that Funomena will soon be shutting its doors. “I’m absolutely gutted to report that Funomena is set to be closed by the end of this month,” Bratt shared in a tweet, “with all contractors already having been laid off as of last Wednesday. This is an extremely sad end to the studio’s story and I hope everyone affected is able to land on their feet.”

Neither Funomena or Hunicke has so far commented on the reports of its imminent closure.

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