Nicalis boss responds to allegations of racism, discrimination, and controlling behaviour

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Tyrone Rodriguez, founder of video game developer publisher Nicalis, has responded to allegations of exploitation of its workers, ghosting, and racism at the business (through Kotaku). 

Earlier this week, a report by Kotaku spoke to 4 external developers and seven former Nicalis workers who recalled situations of exploitative action, unprofessionalism, and abusive language they had knowledgeable though operating with Rodriguez.

Audrey Leprince, co-founder of The Game Bakers, mentioned that the studio wanted to perform with Nicalis to port Furi to consoles but encountered resistance. ‘We sent the project, they evaluated the expense, sent a very first contract draft that we sent back with adjustments. But then they began ghosting us,’ she mentioned. ‘Not answering emails, Skype calls. We waited 3 weeks, attempted to speak to them various times… Lastly they answered that they have been sorry and would send us a mail the subsequent week. Time passed. We have been going at E3 (they have been there), provided to see them there. We reminded them how acting rapidly was vital. So at some point we sent a message saying the deal was off thinking of the communication breakdown.’

This is not the only instance of Nicalis leaving developers in the dark. A former Nicalis employee explained that Rodriguez would prioritise projects arbitrarily: ‘Nicalis have a history of taking on extra improvement projects than they have time for. I feel this comes down to favouritism and unpredictably shuffling improvement priorities. When it comes to improvement, they constantly prioritize their specialty games such as Binding of Isaac and Cave Story more than other developers’ ports.’

The operating atmosphere of Nicalis was claimed to be ‘controlling and exploitative’, with Rodriguez pressuring employees to drink to excess, creating racist and ableist comments, and punishing these who did not partake in social activities. Kotaku reviewed a quantity of Skype logs in which Rodriguez makes use of abusive language though communicating with workers. In addition, a single former Nicalis employee mentioned that he was topic to comments about his weight from the Nicalis boss. 

Throughout a business enterprise trip to Japan, he was pressured to go for walks, to the extent that it had triggered his inner thighs to bleed. Tyrone Rodriguez and his brother, Nicalis CEO Victor Rodriguez, asked him to check out a landmark with them, and the former employee refused due to his injury. ‘Tyrone began saying points like, “Who do you feel paid for your trip?” He was primarily attempting to coerce me into going… I mentioned, “No, I’m not going.”’ he recalled. After the business enterprise trip, Rodriguez fired him. ‘When we got back from Japan, I really feel like that may well have been why they got rid of me. Mainly because I stood up for myself,’ he recommended.

Kotaku asked for interviews with existing Nicalis employees, and a spokesperson responded with a statement that the business would not be addressing the allegations. ‘Developing and publishing games is a dream for the employees of practically 20 that perform at Nicalis, Inc. Some of our group have been with the business for pretty much a decade and we perform tough to generate an atmosphere exactly where we treat our group members with respect,’ the statement study. ‘They are what make the business. We do not condone abusive workplace environments or discrimination and have persons from all walks of life. We hope for the continued results of our internal group and our external developers. With regards to the firms beneath mutual NDA with Nicalis, Devolver (publisher of Enter the Gungeon) and The Game Bakers (developer of Furi), we can only comment that we do not have any signed publishing agreements with them and in no way have.’



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