Fullbright, the studio from which indie darlings Gone Home and Tacoma came, has been hemorrhaging staff despite its small size. As reported by Nicole Carpenter at Polygon, those former employees left due to a “toxic” work environment under lead Steve Gaynor. As word spread publicly, Fulbright confirmed Gynor had stepped down from leadership earlier this year.
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According to the report, the toxicity of Fullbright’s culture had little to do with physical harassment. Instead, Gaynor reportedly treated his workers in “controlling” and “demeaning” fashion. Examples provided include shutting down contributions or ideas during meetings with laughter, gaslighting, so on and so forth.
— Open Roads (@OpenRoadsGame) August 5, 2021
Last night (August 4, 2021), and around an hour before the Polygon story went up,the official Twitter account for Open Roads (Fullbright’s current project) confirmed that Gaynor had already stepped down from his creative lead and management positions in March. He reportedly serves as a “writer” for the game now, and contributes his work through mediation from publisher Annapurna. Gaynor himself dropped a statement on Twitter, where he notably no longer has the “@Fullbright” handle.
Hi all. I have a statement to share about my role at Fullbright.
Earlier this year, I stepped back from my role as creative lead on Open Roads. My leadership style was hurtful to people that worked at Fullbright, and for that I truly apologize.
— Steve Gaynor (@SteveGaynorPDX) August 5, 2021
While it seems like some steps have finally been taken to address the situation, it wasn’t before fifteen people (mostly women) left Fullbright. According to the report, “around six staff members remain.”