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What just happened? This week, employees at Activision Blizzard-owned studio Raven Software announced their intention to stage a walkout in protest of last week's quality assurance layoffs. The protestors demand full-time job offers for all QA testers, including those laid off.
According to representatives, the QA team at Raven primarily works on Call of Duty: Warzone these days, which is a live-service game that receives updates constantly. Employees say Raven's QA team is essential to its everyday operations.
Last week it came to light that Activision Blizzard would lay off at least a third of the Raven's QA team through January 28 with the status "in good standing." Before the layoffs, the workers were told to expect pay raises, and many were asked to relocate to Wisconsin. According to Uppercut's sources, the company moved 32 testers from Activision Austin because of how much testing Warzone's new Pacific map needed. Raven workers say those who relocated did so with no assistance from the company.
Activision-Blizzard-King (ABK) Workers Alliance is a group of Activision Blizzard employees organized earlier this year amid the company's struggle with sexual assault allegations. It has already spoken in support of Raven. ABK says everyone at Raven is protesting with the studio's continued success in mind.
"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," it said via Twitter.
Today Raven QA, as a department, is demonstrating in protest of the layoffs on Friday. Raven QA's team is essential to the studio's day-to-day operations.— ABetterABK 💙 ABK Workers Alliance (@ABetterABK) December 6, 2021
Activision Blizzard responded by saying it laid off 20 employees in a reorganization that also switched around 500 temporary workers to full-time.
Founded in 1990, Raven has been working on Call of Duty games for years. Its past projects include classics like the Hexen series, the Star Wars Jedi Knight games, and Xmen Legends.