Jessica Curry has quit her role as studio co-head of Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture developer The Chinese Room.
Curry revealed her decision this afternoon in a frank and eye-opening blog post, shared via the developer’s official site.
The post begins with Curry discussing her experiences living with a degenerative disease, and how she suffered a particularly rough patch this summer shortly before Rapture released.
“A couple of years ago my doctor said to me ‘if you try to fight this disease it will win’ and I nodded like a good girl but actually at the time I just didn’t get it,” Curry wrote.
“Having a progressive illness is not like cancer, or a stroke or a heart attack. I am going to get worse- that’s a simple fact and no amount of medication, wheatgrass, mindfulness, positive thinking or acupuncture is going to change that.”
The post continues with a personal account of working for a publisher – an experience it is clear that Curry did not enjoy.
Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture launched in August exclusively for PlayStation 4, in collaboration with Sony’s own internal Santa Monica Studio.
“So much of the stress that I experienced was caused by what I see as the desperately toxic relationship that I was in,” Curry writes. “I look back at the way we were treated and it still makes me shake my head with disbelief.
“I want to surround myself with honest, open people whom I can trust. I’ve heard so many people say, ‘well, this is just the way publishers are’ and ‘this is just what the games industry is like’.
“What I would say to that is while we all keep accepting this, while we are so afraid to challenge this behaviour then it won’t change and we all deserve nothing but the meager crumbs we are thrown.”
Curry concludes her post by taking aim at the games industry itself – and the sexism she has faced throughout her career.
“I thought I was strong enough to lead the charge, to prove through talent and hard work and positivity that women have a vital role to play,” she explains.
“Well, as tough as this is to admit to both myself and to you lot this is one fight that I’m personally not going to win. I leave it to people younger and fitter than me to carry on this crusade.”
Curry is married to The Chinese Room’s creative director Dan Pinchbeck, and writes that she has often seen the industry ascribe him credit for her work.
“I’ve had journalists assuming I’m Dan’s PA, I have been referenced as ‘Dan Pinchbeck’s wife’ in articles, publishers on first meeting have automatically assumed that my producer is my boss just because he’s a man, one magazine would only feature Dan as Studio Head and wouldn’t include me.
“When Dan has said ‘Jess is the brains of the operation’ people have knowingly chuckled and cooed that it’s nice of a husband to be so kind about his wife. I don’t have enough paper to write down all of the indignities that I’ve faced.”
Curry will remain with the studio as its composer and a company director, but will move on from day-to-day development.
Her next project will be a music venture with Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy.
Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture received a Recommended award in Eurogamer’s review. A science fiction story set in a rural English town, its visuals and storytelling are like an episode of The Twilight Zone mixed with The Archers.
Its musical score, composed by Curry, was one of the game’s standout features. Hear an extract below.