- Metroid Dread, the critically acclaimed game developed by MercurySteam, faced accusations of poor working conditions from former staff members.
- MercurySteam CEO Enric Alvarez disputed the accusations, stating that the game’s success and critical acclaim contradicted claims of chaos and stress during development.
- The controversy surrounding MercurySteam extended to issues with excluding former staff members from the game’s credits, raising concerns about the studio’s policies and Alvarez’s response to the accusations.
Two years after the release of the critically acclaimed Metroid Dread, MercurySteam CEO Enric Alvarez comments on the game’s development and the accusations leveled against the studio. Metroid Dread is the second collaboration between Nintendo and MercurySteam, following the release of Metroid: Samus Returns on the Nintendo 3DS in 2017. Dread was also one of the largest surprises of 2021, being a game that many believed was canceled and would never see the light of day again. Despite the odds, Metroid Dread was released to critical fanfare from reviewers and fans, standing as one of the best-selling games in the franchise. That success was dampened a little bit when MercurySteam was accused of poor working conditions shortly after the game’s release.
These stemmed from a Spanish gaming website, Anaitgames, where former members of Metroid Dread accused MercurySteam of fostering a “negative” and “stressful” working environment. A number of ex-programmers and artists, in particular, had come forward about their experiences working on the game, where some described it as “chaotic” as well, and that the higher-ups didn’t value their workers. Enric Alvarez, the CEO of the studio, commented on these accusations.
In an interview with Spanish website GameReactor (translation courtesy of NintendoEverything), he was directly asked about the report that was published by Anaitgames, and if there was any truth behind it. Alvarez simply stated that he didn’t believe it was “chaotic,” commenting that if it was as chaotic as it was claimed, then it wouldn’t have resulted in Metroid Dread winning an award at The Game Awards, or selling three million copies.
While this comment from Alvarez could be the truth, this wasn’t the only controversy that came out of the studio. Several former staff members also commented that they were excluded from the credits of Metroid Dread, due to its official policy, which some fans took issue with. Alvarez’s comment also rubbed some people the wrong way, as they thought the answer sounded like he was avoiding the question to save face rather than outright answering it.
The critical and sales success of Metroid Dread was one of the catalysts for the Metroid series’ current renewed renaissance. Nintendo has launched a couple of re-releases of older Metroid games in recent years, such as the shadowdrop of Metroid Prime Remastered, the Nintendo Switch Online version of Metroid Fusion, alongside a rumor of remaster of the second Prime game. However, many believe the success of these games shouldn’t come at the cost of the health of its developers.
Metroid Dread is available now exclusively on Nintendo Switch.
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