In 2009, a twenty-something female joined Osaka-based game developer Capcom. The new employee was assigned to a couple of different games before becoming a member of the team developing Dragon's Dogma, Capcom's upcoming big budget title.
At first things were good. But by that December, things got awful—really awful. According to a recently released lawsuit, the new employee apparently felt so bullied at Capcom that she tried to take her own life.
A senior female employee was assigned to the Dragon's Dogma team, and this senior employee apparently made the young woman's life miserable. Her new boss supposedly reprimanded only her at meetings and assigned the young woman impossible tasks with zero instructions on how to complete them.
In the court filing, the senior employee's behavior was described as "irrational" and "repeated". The young employee felt isolated on the Dragon's Dogma team.
The young employee thought the best way she could help Capcom was to create a database to help internal game development become more efficient. It was a huge project, and the young employee's superiors signed off on the project, realizing how important it could be. She thought by creating the database, she could show her worth to the Dragon's Dogma team. In addition to her regular work, the young employee slogged away on the database, working every day in July and August 2010 well into the night.
Then, suddenly, on October 6, 2010, the young woman was yanked from the Dragon's Dogma team. The database was reassigned to another department. Her boss apparently said, "Even if the database is a success, you are worthless to the team."
Between October 20 and November 4, two other superiors began attempting to get the young employee to quit, saying "she's problematic", "she abandons her work", "she skips meetings", and "her ideas stink". It got so bad that the young employee supposedly went to Capcom's HR claiming harassment. HR did nothing.
The harassment did not stop. It got worse and worse until November 11 of that year when the woman sought medical help and was diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. And on December 10, the young employee took time off of work. She was depressed and dejected, and she took a large quantity of sleeping pills, antidepressants, and cold medicine in hopes of killing herself. The young woman slept for four days, but thankfully, she did not die.
Even after her mental and physical health improved and even after she finished rehabilitation, there were those at Capcom who apparently did everything possible to make sure she couldn't work, by insisting she had not recovered, suspending her, and ultimately dismissing the employee.
The young woman is currently taking Capcom to court over the incident.
Kotaku is following up with Capcom and will update this post should they comment.
Update: A Capcom spokesperson declined to comment about this matter to Kotaku, citing the company's policy not to discuss ongoing litigation.
(Top photo: 941さん)