Dynasty Loop, an independent game development studio based in Montreal, is going through turbulent times. Dozens of workers haven’t been paid since the end of 2022, with some of them even locked out of the office.
As reported by Polygon, Dynasty Loop owes around 20 full-time workers and contractors more than $2 million in missed pay, expenses, and bonuses.
- According to anonymous sources, problems arose in early December, when the studio’s CEO and founder Rania Oueslati informed employees that November payments would be delayed “due to a change in Dynasty Loop’s financial software.”
- Most staff weren’t paid until January, and they even periodically had trouble accessing the office and business software like Microsoft Teams.
- In February, employees were told to return all equipment, but the studio didn’t call it a layoff. “We had a lot of questions. Some people lived far and would have to drive quite a bit to come in,” one worker told Polygon.
- Dynasty Loop eventually told staff that the Canadian government flagged and froze all funds indefinitely. The reason remains unclear, but this might be due to Oueslati’s immigration status.
- Interestingly, the studio continued to hire new people during that period. Some workers decided to stay with the company because they believed in the team and were making progress on their projects.
- In late February, management proposed a “lien agreement” between Oueslati and staff that implied that everyone who signed it would get paid when the funds were available again. But workers had to wait up to six months before taking any legal action against the company.
- According to another clause of the agreement, employees weren’t allowed to discuss it with the press or on social media.
- On March 7, staff were informed that Oueslati wouldn’t register the agreement. She also released everyone who signed it from the deal.
- The CEO currently prefers to speak only through her lawyer. Polygon also couldn’t receive a comment neither from her nor from the lawyer.
Rania Oueslati founded Dynasty Loop in 2020 to work on video games and NFT projects. None of these have been announced, so it is unclear what results the studio has managed to achieve so far. According to the company’s website, one of its goals is to “provide a unique gaming experience through our original games.”