The employee dismissed from MYTONA made a public criticism of the company. The main thing from the two-hour video

The main scandal of the last day in the Russian game dev is the appearance of a two—hour appeal by the former head of the narrative department of MYTONA, Sergey Gres, to the company’s management. We have prepared a summary and highlighted the main thing.

What happened (briefly)?

According to the video, the head of the narrative department of Sergey Gres did not agree on ethics issues with one of the producers of the company. Accordingly, he refused to work with him and was fired. After that, he published a video, the purpose of which is to convey to the management that the specified producer, as well as the existing processes in the company, interfere with MYTONA.

Who is Sergey Gres and why did he publish an open letter?

The former head of the narrative department of MYTONA, Sergey Gres, according to the published video, was responsible for the plot component in all the company’s projects. However, first of all, he dealt with the narrative in the game, “which had special expectations from the leadership” (Gres does not voice specific names of games and names of people in his address).

For reference: Gres worked in the company for a little more than a year and a half. Previously, he held a similar position for the same year and a half at Belka Games. Before taking up narrative, Sergey was a programmer. Regardless of his position, he did not stay anywhere for a long time.

Gres was fired last Tuesday one day without compensation. According to him, after the management found out about his plans to publish a video with public criticism of the company, he was offered compensation in the amount of one salary. Gres refused it.

The reason for the appearance of the video, Gres calls the desire to change the processes in the company. He failed to influence the situation in MYTONA from the inside, so he decided to take the moments that did not suit him into the public field.

“For four months I tried to “pull out” the owners of the company to communicate, who made very strange and incomprehensible decisions. The answer was: we will definitely come and tell you everything, we will do everything. But in the end there was no reaction,” the video says.

Gres says that there would not have been an open letter if top management, HR and the owners of the company had gone into dialogue with him before the dismissal, “if people in the company would have reacted to my appeals, and not written unsubscriptions.”

What is the video about?

Most of the two-hour video is devoted to criticizing the producer, whose unwillingness to work with led to Greg’s dismissal from the company. Sergey does not name the producer. He only says that he is close to the leadership of MYTONA.

For reference: according to LinkedIn, at the moment at least four people occupy the position of game producer in MYTONA (UPDATE: since Google is pulling up in the output, including employees no longer working in the company, we have removed the screen with the names). Each of them has worked for the company for more than five years. It is not known who exactly the former head of the narrative department is accusing.

Gres accuses this unnamed producer of intimidating subordinates in order to increase productivity. According to the video, at a certain point, the producer began to spread rumors about the possible closure of the project, which is being conducted by Gres, in the event that the team does not make additional efforts to release the next version of the product in a timely manner.

As far as can be understood from the video, thereby the producer wanted to ensure that the team that had become attached to the product, by that time already burned out, worked overtime.

Gres insists that such an act was unethical in itself, but especially in relation to employees “who first survived the coronavirus, then the beginning (of a “special operation”), and then the relocation that followed it.”

The result of such pressure, according to Gresia, was that “many people just got depressed and started eating pills.” At the same time, Sergey insists that neither top management nor HR knew about this, and also assures that there was no need for an urgent release of a new version of the game.

Also, a number of episodes are voiced in the video, which, according to Gres, indicate the incompetence of this specialist:

  • the producer demanded to “play with fonts” without explaining why he was not satisfied with the available fonts and without suggesting the direction in which artists should move when selecting new fonts.;
  • the producer stated that he was not satisfied with any particular game text (rewritten for the eighth time by the time of the discussion), while he could not explain what exactly he was not satisfied with (after the text was discussed line by line, it turned out that there were no problems with the text);
  • when working on a game about fashion, the producer “spoke out on the topic of what women’s fashion costumes should be drawn” in the wrong way: instead of a reasoned feedback, he gave comments in the spirit of “like, dislike“, “would wear or would not wear“, without being either a representative of the target audience or a fashion specialist;
  • I was engaged in choosing the color of the eyes of the main character, which, according to Sergey, should not be the task of the producer of the game;
  • when the setting of The Stranger Things, a mystical series designed, according to Gres, for an adult audience, was chosen as a reference for the new game, the producer asked to use the animated series “Dog Patrol” as an additional reference, which is a “series for children of three years“;
  • he insisted on transferring an employee to his project who did not want to work with him. As a result, the artist quit;
  • the producer set the task for the artist and went on vacation. The top manager replacing him removed the task from the artist. The producer came out of vacation, saw that the task was not completed, and publicly chastised the artist, brought her to tears. As a result, she quit.

According to Gresia, this producer is hated and shunned by many employees in the company. They say that, first of all, it is important for him to demonstrate his power to his subordinates, and he keeps in the company only because he pleases the leadership (in the original, a brighter and more provocative epithet is used).

Gresia is outraged that for a long time he pointed out problems when working with a specific producer, but the management did not take any measures regarding him.

Why was Sergei Greus himself fired?

According to Gres, the narrative lead of the project, which was subordinate to Sergey, joked in a public working chat that the specified producer in the company did not understand what was going on (it is not specified exactly how the joke sounded). In response, the management demanded to suspend the person because she insulted the producer.

What became of the specific lead from the video is unclear. She may have been fired. However, Gres complains that the leadership has not accepted any of his options for resolving the conflict.

Instead, Gresy was offered to move from the position of head of department to the position of lead: “The only option left is that I, from the position of head of department, who works on several projects and with all narrative designers in the company, go down a step lower and work on this project as a lead.”

Sergey, according to him, was ready to do this, but with one condition: he would not interact with the said producer. HR asked Greya to find a common language with a colleague.

He talked to the producer again and came to the conclusion that he had different “ethical positions” with him. According to the video, the producer’s primary goal is to release the project. Gres also assures that people come first for him. As a result, Gres returned to HR and said that he refused to work with this producer. The answer was dismissal.

What else did Gres tell you about?

  • Gres claims that the company does not have a pre-production stage during development and there are no well-established processes. Instead, there are overgrown collectives that don’t know what to do.
  • According to the video, the people who have to make decisions have no understanding of what they should do, so they go into micro-management. As for those who ask questions, they are beginning to be considered unreliable.
  • Gres criticizes that in a company founded in Yakutia, “all top management are people from Yakutia.” In his opinion, this indicates the presence of nepotism in the company.
  • In the video, a former employee accuses HR of always being on the side of higher-ranking specialists or management in conflicts. It is also said that one of the popular solutions for resolving conflicts in MYTONA is the dismissal of one of the parties.
  • Sergey also refers to relocation in his open letter. Before the “special operation”, the company made great efforts to relocate employees abroad. Then the company moved away from incentives towards a more forceful solution. The company has issued an ultimatum to employees: either they leave or they quit.
  • There were collectives that organized and publicly opposed. They were fired entirely. However, Sergey himself, who apparently said in a private conversation to an HR specialist that he would be happy to continue cooperating, but was not ready to leave, was not fired. From this, Gres concludes that the company had the opportunity not to take extreme measures against “refuseniks”.
  • The company does not put KPIs in front of employees. This is explained by the fact that MYTONA trusts its specialists. Gres believes that this system is beneficial only to top management, and ordinary employees are vulnerable without the opportunity to prove their effectiveness.
  • There is also a bit about The Day Before. With reference to an acquaintance working at FNTASTIC, Sergey says that the person responsible for the development of the game was previously engaged in scams: he gave out a video “stitched from assets” for demonstrating real gameplay. And now, they say, history repeats itself.

What else is worth knowing?

In his video, Sergey repeats many times that he has no complaints about MYTONA, he calls it a great company, and says that he was proud to work in it. Moreover, he says that MYTONA is a wonderful place where good professionals are good people making good games.

As for the published letter, it is nothing more than “benevolent criticism“: “All my claims relate exclusively to specific people and processes.”

Gres himself says that he refused to perform work tasks if he did not receive answers from higher-level employees to questions in the spirit of “what metrics the performance of this task can increase.”

Also, as far as can be understood from the video, he publicly disparaged the founders of the company, although HR was asked not to do this (namely, he called them “Yakut grandfathers“). And in the video, Gres intentionally calls the founders several times exactly as he was asked not to call them.

In addition, it is important to pay attention to the manner in which Gres, who had previously noted the importance of ethics, wrote a reply letter to Alexey Ushnitsky, one of the co-founders of the company, in response to a promise to understand the situation and wishes for success.

Community reaction

The reaction to the video strongly depends on the place and platform where it is commented on.

In the telegram channel of Gresia, which is called “Game Dev Steps I” (vacancies are published here and streams with game developers are held), it is mainly supported and noted the typicality of the described problems for companies from the CIS.

On YouTube, under the video, the reaction is less unambiguous. On the one hand, there are a lot of comments supporting Sergey, someone shares a similar experience in the industry.

At the same time, a number of users accuse him of chauvinism. The fact is that Gres allows himself a number of statements concerning the Yakut roots of the company. As we noted a little above, in the video he wonders why the company founded in Yakutia has all top managers from this region. He calls it “Eastern nepotism.”

As for Facebook, here some users express the position that Greya should have been fired earlier. Moreover, it is revealed (without confirmation) that in one of the gaming companies Sergey could not pass the probation period because of his soft skills.


The full version of the video can be found here.

We have also already reached out to MYTONA for comment.

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