Fntastic has responded to criticism and allegations of using free labor as part of its volunteer program. The Day Before developer shared more details about its policy of attracting unpaid volunteers, saying that they have a chance to get full-time jobs at the studio.
Fntastic shared a post about the program on its official website, saying that it considers every team member a volunteer. Here are some key takeaways from the post:
- There are two types of volunteers at Fntastic, full-time and part-time;
- The first ones are full-time employees working for salaries;
- Part-time volunteers are people who want to help the studio in their spare time, working for free on different activities ranging from translating to community moderating;
- They can also work on creating new features for Fntastic’s games or find other ways to improve them;
- Instead of salaries, the company offers part-time volunteers “cool rewards, participation certificates, and free codes.”
This announcement caused debate among players and games industry professionals. Some people even said that they won’t buy The Day Before, which is now the most wishlisted game on Steam.
“It’s one thing to have beta testers be volunteers for a short while near the very end of the development process, but anything else is completely unfair to the people ‘working’ for Fntastic,” one user wrote on Steam. “I will never purchase this game, and I will let everyone I know in the industry about this terrible practice that Fntastic is responsible for and that they should be boycotted.”
Unpaid work at a AAA studio to create a MMO on UE5 in 2022? How about Fntastic pays its workers that are helping deliver a massive project? It’s gotta be a joke oof
— Jordan Dragon (@jordanDragon_) June 27, 2022
In the wake of the controversy, Fntastic released a letter signed by its founders, Eduard and Aisen Gotovtsev.
- “Fntastic is a commercial organization, but with the resources we have, we intend to bring fantastic products to people, create a better experience for our team members, and bring value to the world through our resources,” the statement reads. “For example, last year, we donated money to charity during the massive forest fires that raged in Siberia.”
- The company currently employs over 100 full-time workers in Russia, Singapore, the Netherlands, Thailand, Finland, Kazakhstan, and Belerus, with their positions ranging from engineers to HR professionals.
- On top of that, Fntastic also has 40 part-time volunteers across the globe, who work free to help test and analyze its games at early stages of development.
- They also offer their help in localizing products to different languages, finding bugs in Propnight, searching for cheaters, and creating Discord communities.
- According to Fntastic, free volunteering is also a way to get a paid job at the studio: “Our company always welcomes new views, so we are providing our most active volunteers with the opportunity to become full-time employees.”
- “One of our very first volunteers from the Netherlands recently became an internal volunteer (employee), and we are going to do promotions like this more often,” the letter reads.