Activision, IP holder of the flagship military FPS franchise, Call of Duty, has laid off a third of the Quality Assurance staff at Raven Software.
First reported through the Washington Post by Shannon Liao on Dec. 3, the company has been meeting with its QA contractors and plans to continue doing so until Dec. 8. The purpose of these meetings, of course, are to inform individuals which of them are being "promoted" to full time or being let go. A third of the staff had been let go at the time Liao's article was published.
Those terminated will officially be let go on Jan. 28, 2022. Meanwhile, promoted staff will receive full-time hours with a $1.50 pay raise and "more benefits and bonuses, employees said they were told."
Activision Has Laid Off A Third of QA Staff at Raven Software
One contractor expressed feeling "hurt and betrayed" by Raven following his own lay off meeting on Friday. The anonymous employee noted that "the majority of individuals who have had their meetings were fired."
Evan Avillanoza, a second terminated QA staff member at Raven, told the Post that even their team lead was "kept in the dark about the layoffs."
"Our team is destroyed and absolutely no one is going to want to work even if they got promoted. I was looking to leave because of the reputation Activision has had lately and I don’t want to support the company any longer," he said, "It’s an embarrassment working for Activision, in my opinion."
Avillanoza is likely referring to the wildfire of allegations against Activision Blizzard and its CEO, Bobby Kotick, regarding sexual misconduct toward the company's female employees. A lawsuit was filed in July 2021 following a two-year investigation into Blizzard Entertainment in which several incidents of discrimination and harassment were uncovered. Later, the Wall Street Journal published its own article detailing the role of Kotick in the accusations.
Former employees aren't the only ones upset by Activision's decision. A Better ABK, the Activision Blizzard King Worker Alliance, has published its own thread on its Twitter account calling the layoffs a "break of trust."
"This has not only destroyed the morale of our workforce, but obliterated trust in the company that has been routinely asking us for patience in improving our work lives," the thread reads.
Kate Anderson, an Activision QA staff member, also took to Twitter to share their own opinion on the layoffs. They called the move "absolutely unacceptable" and that Activision repaid the hard work of their colleagues at Raven—some of whom relocated with funds from their own pockets—with terminations.
"QA is the lifeblood of a game. Without us, games would not be functional," Anderson wrote.
Austin O'Brien, Associate Community Manager with Raven Software, seemed to agree, tweeting via his own verified Twitter account that Activision's layoffs "gutted" him.
"If it isn't clear, this is bulls***. It's unfair to these people to string them along, promising something better, and then let them go. I am infuriated right now." He wrote.
Activision Blizzard has yet to publicly comment about the outrage.