Epic Games, maker of the Unreal Engine, announced it was pulling the plug on its Epic 2D shooter, Epic Citadel, as a result of a lawsuit filed by former employees alleging they were sexually harassed and discriminated against by the game’s producer.
The studio said the decision was due to a lack of interest in developing and supporting the game, which was in development at the time.
The decision was met with a mixed reaction by critics.
“I’m glad Epic is doing this,” said one.
“It’s an amazing way to spend one’s last few years of life,” said another.
“Even if you think the game was a terrible game, it’s hard to deny that the way it was produced was horrible,” said Chris Perkins, an indie developer who filed a lawsuit against Epic over allegations of sexual harassment in March.
“A huge portion of the game industry has been incredibly silent about this issue,” Perkins told Polygon in a statement, “so the silence is deafening.”
The statement, which the studio did not offer in full, went on to explain the reasons behind the decision.
The complaint against Epic stated that employees who worked on Epic Citadel were harassed, discriminated against, and mistreated by the studio’s producer, Eric Cressey.
In addition, the lawsuit alleged that the studio had a policy of not hiring new employees until they had demonstrated positive contributions to the studio, but not until they were fired.
The lawsuit also accused the studio of failing to comply with its own Code of Conduct.
“The lack of diversity within the Epic development team, and the lack of a proactive policy to address any issues of misconduct, have created an environment in which many former Epic employees feel unsafe, intimidated, and even harassed by Epic staff members,” the statement reads.
Epic Citadel was a massive hit for Epic Games in the late 2000s.
It was one of the best-selling games of the decade and was cited as one of PC gaming’s top-selling video games.
The company has since struggled with a series of delays and other problems, including a major server outage that affected the studio.
Epic’s CEO, Tim Sweeney, apologized in a tweet for the studio not being able to “build a strong future for our players and team,” and said that the decision to end the game “was the right one.”
In a statement to Polygon, Epic said the studio “wanted to make a difference in the lives of the women who worked at Epic.”
“We are deeply saddened by the allegations made in the complaint,” the company said.
“As part of our commitment to transparency, we are taking steps to ensure the integrity of our investigation.”
The decision comes as the industry continues to grapple with an uptick in sexual harassment and assault allegations, including multiple allegations of rape and attempted rape.
The allegations, which have come to light in recent weeks, have prompted an unprecedented overhaul of sexual assault policies and workplace policies across the industry, from games to media to entertainment.
Earlier this month, Netflix announced that it was banning sexual harassment at its shows and movies.
In the wake of the recent allegations, many companies have taken to social media to offer support and accountability to former employees.
On Thursday, Facebook announced a new tool that allows people to report sexual harassment to their employers and other companies.
The move comes in the wake to a lawsuit by a former employee, Lauren Seltzer, who alleged she was harassed by a producer at Epic Games for two years after leaving the company.
Epic Games has not responded to Polygon’s request for comment on the development of the statement, and Epic Games did not respond to a request for an interview with Seltzler’s attorney.