The accusations of abuse in the gaming industry just keep on coming, with the latest one involving Monument Valley‘s Ken Wong. Game developer Tony Coculuzzi, the victim, shared his account on the alleged abuse inflicted by the “indie superstar.” Coculuzzi was Cuphead and Florence’s lead developer, and is the maker of virtual pet game Noa Noa.
Coculuzzi first hinted at the story when his Twitter post cheered on everyone who had the courage to reveal their abuse experiences.
“Abuse, whether sexual, emotional, physical or verbal, should never have a place in a professional environment,” he tweeted. “These abusers are usually children who were first to a position of power in our infant industry. F**k them.”
Coculuzzi then admitted that he was a hypocrite because he is a huge supporter of people who out their abusers, but he remained quiet about his own experience. He proceeded to reveal that he was abused “to the point of depression and suicide, for two years, by indie superstar Ken Wong.” It wasn’t sexual abuse, however, but within the first week he “was being gaslit and didn’t know it.”
Ken Wong was the Lead Designer of Monument Valley for Ustwo Games, and designer and artist on Florence. Wong and Coculuzzi worked together in Melbourne, Australia, creating Florence, an interactive story game about a young woman and her first love.
Coculuzzi recounted his story over nearly a couple dozen tweets, starting by saying that Wong “has been hiring a lot of juniors/minorities who haven’t really worked in games before, and I’ve witnessed AND been told that that’s his typical target.” Within the first month, Coculuzzi got very sick and developed major symptoms of depression. His body stopped functioning due to the amount of alleged abuse that he endured from Wong at work. He dealt with this behavior for nearly two years and it broke him.
“Being told over and over that you’re not good at anything takes its toll,” he said. “Being told that your work is “good, for a uni student” with such gusto, when you have almost 10 years of experience is insulting and heartbreaking.”
Coculuzzi was allegedly warned by a supposed friend that if he goes public about the abuse, the company might need to take legal action. Eventually, he decided to quit on his own terms, because Wong “was literally killing” him.
Coculuzzi isn’t the latest abuse victim to come forward, and more will surely share their accounts in the coming days. Game developer and GamerGate target Zoe Quinn revealed her story along with other women in the gaming industry like Nathalie Lawhead and Adelaide Gardner.
Here's my story about how I was abused to the point of depression and suicide, for two years, by indie superstar Ken Wong.
— Tony Spookaluzzi (@tonycoculuzzi) August 28, 2019