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News video games 20 June 2024, 06:13

author: Jacob Blazewicz

„My Narrative Girls Had to Go to Sauna With Me to Came up With Amazing Script...” Polish Dev Caused Scandal in The Industry

Jacek Piorkowski and Spectrum Studios found themselves in the spotlight after news of mandatory sauna sessions spread on social media.

Source: Midjourney

Mandatory Sauna

At first, this was the situation that Adrian Chmielarz brought to light on Facebook. (He is the developer of, among others, Painkiller, Bulletstorm, and The Vanishing of Ethan Carter). The discussion between screenwriter Aleksandra Wolna and Jacek Piorkowski, the head of Spectrum Studios, revealed that his employees, whom he called "his narrative girls," supposedly accompanied him to a sauna to develop an "amazing script for proof of concept." The job offer on LinkedIn itself allegedly included a requirement for "naked sauna sessions."

Source: Adrian Chmielarz.

I've seen a lot in my life, but I've never seen anything like this before. Especially in the gaming industry.

The young woman is looking for a job when a guy offers her one. She responds that he had contacted her before, but she didn't like the requirement of a nude photo session in a sauna(!).

I rubbed my eyes, thinking, okay, I must have imagined something, if I read on, it will become clear that it was some kind of mistake.

I keep reading, and there's this guy explaining that for the game, the girls have to understand the different types of saunas, and also that "his narrative girls had to go with him to this sauna" in order to write great scenes...

Unfortunately, it wasn't just imagination.

So I have a question for the guy: have you completely lost your mind by any chance?

Firstly, the idea that a dev must personally experience something to create an attractive, deep, engaging story about it, is worthless. I doubt that Spielberg personally rescued Jews from the Nazis during World War II, but he still succeeded in making a significant, poignant, and authentic film on the topic.

Secondly, if you are really insistent on this personal experience fetish, because as we all know, reading and watching materials about various types of saunas isn't enough, no, you have to be there personally, then you politely ask your colleagues to choose a convenient form, time, and company, provide funds for it, and that's where your role ends.

For the sake of fairness, the guy mentions that he can organize a "female only event," but it sounds like an "option for complainers," instead of being the default and only option.

Besides, the dude is pretty good at gaslighting, because he blabbers about how Aleksandra, instead of bothering him on social media, could have tried to write a scene about a sauna without being in a sauna - meanwhile, it's clearly stated in the employment requirements that sauna sessions are a "non-negotiable."

Remember his name so you know who to avoid shaking hands with.

WARNING! (Edit) Magdalena Kucenty visible in the shot isn't an employee of Spectrum Studios. Yes, this train doesn't stop, every hour it gets less fun. You can find Magda's comment below in the comments section, just in case, but the TLDR is that she has never been in any sauna with the man in question, and, as I mentioned, she isn't an employee of his studio -- wrote Adrian Chmielarz.

To make things even more interesting, the screenwriter mentioned by Piorkowski, Magdalena Kucenty, with whom candidates are supposed to contact regarding the recruitment task, doesn't work at the studio at all. It turns out that Piorkowski was actually just her student in a narrative design course, and it was during these classes that Kucenty gave him advice on his project.

Furthermore, Piorkowski directed interested individuals to her, even though Kucenty had not yet replied to his request on this matter (since she rarely uses social media). Only now, after messages from two candidates, the screenwriter learnt about the whole case (via Natalia Wylezinska on X).

Magdalena Kuncety published a statement on Facebook, in which she once again confirmed that she wasn't aware of Jacek Piorkowski's actions and "throwing around her name" without her consent.

My dear,

I don't know where official statements should be written - and since I don't have my own website, I'll just write it here. Yesterday, I found out that one of my former students from the narrative design course, Jacek Piorkowski, was using my name inappropriately to recruit people. Jacek did get in touch with me regarding his project, and I agreed to read and examine the narrative layer with enthusiasm, driven by both my duty as a teacher and my curiosity. But I am NOT his employee. I used to be a mentor - Jacek isn't the only person I've helped out a bit after hours; some students send me texts they write as part of their recruitment processes, and I read them completely for free. Because I really want to teach and help. But here that hit me hard in the face.

The Spectrum Studios case was already publicized by Adrian Chmielarz, so I will not elaborate on it - I refer you to his board if anyone wants to read more. However, I need to address the screenshot with my last name, which has already gone viral on the Internet - because many people only look at the image, not read the text. Even those who probably should do a minimum of research. I'm showing you a screenshot from my LinkedIn and also congratulating Kasia Bielecka from Gazeta Wyborcza on her journalism internship. I have already commented in several articles with a correction, stating that I didn't know what Jacek was doing for the past week, as I only returned from Munich yesterday evening after my dog's surgery. Moreover, Adrian himself also added a correction about me to his post. Yet, I was called to the board by your journalist in a rather unpleasant way, to say the least, half an hour ago. So here I am, answering, repeating - Jacek was using my last name on LI without my permission, I am actually another person who has been harmed in this matter and I still have to explain this harm.

Nevertheless, I'd like to add a spoonful of honey to the bottom of this barrel of tar, a glimmer of sunshine in all this darkness of the internet. From the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU to everyone who stood up for me in the comments. Many people defended me before I even had a chance to speak on the matter. Anyway, if it weren't for your calls and messages, I would probably still be blissfully oblivious, because I rarely check Facebook and LinkedIn.

That's all from me. Peace out and stay safe - wrote Magdalena Kuncety.

Source: Magdalena Kuncenty / Facebook.


After the issue gained mainstream attention, we requested comments from both Piorkowski and Aleksandra Wolna (who is a long-time contributor to The director of Spectrum Studios stated that a video related to the matter should be released soon. In the meantime, the developer shared his conversation with the screenwriter.

Piorkowski claims that although visits to the sauna were indeed obligatory, there was neither a requirement to "be naked in the sauna, nor to be in it with the boss." In fact, there is no mention of "naked" or group sessions in the job descriptions (via LinkedIn) – although, as the quote below indicates, nudity seems unavoidable.

What is the origin of such a seemingly absurd requirement, anyway? This is precisely explained by the job advertisement published on LinkedIn, as well as a short summary of the project by Piorkowski. Project Temple is a game about a young woman with a broken heart who starts training to become a saunamaster.

We require going to the sauna as part of getting to know the environment and research, we also hold company meetings during sauna trips. However, there is no obligation to be naked in the sauna or to be in it with the boss - if someone prefers to only attend women-only sessions, or use the sauna individually, and come to meetings just to chat, that's also fine. As the rules of proper sauna use say: in a dry sauna, with a towel or naked, in a steam sauna only naked - there is 90% humidity there, you can't cheat physics.

At the company meeting, the girls were doing peeling themselves. I don’t care. I wanted them to understand what kind of emotions we create.

Original brief:

The protagonist of Project Temple is Birdie, a woman in her 20s/30s. She had her heart broken recently and she is moving to Warsaw to find herself again -- said Jacek Piorkowski.

As we can easily guess, all activities related to the sauna will therefore be a key issue in this narrative title, and nudity is also supposed to be a means of narration. Hence the necessity for the team to "understand the product," which means - in short - mandatory visits to the sauna. (As a side note: we might wonder if a developer creating a military shooter game would expect his employees to go to the front line).

Lurking creator

Piorkowski hasn't yet addressed other issues, including the one that he was the one who made contact with Aleksandra Wolna. Several other individuals affected by the All in! Games scandal allegedly received similar offers from the head of Spectrum Studios, according to the screenwriter.

This probably concerns the recent layoffs at the devs of Phantom Hellcat and additional allegations of the Polish publisher not paying its employees. Wolna speculates that Piorkowski deliberately addresses people "in a difficult situation," who - as she put it - "are more likely to agree to something that cheerfully waves red flags at them from the very beginning."

The scriptwriter is echoed by Natalia "NathK" Wylezinska (artist and CEO of the Digital Night foundation), who claims that the head of Spectrum Studios was "lurking" in artists' groups on Facebook, asking for samples of works with naked figures. As proof, she attached screenshots to the post on X.

Jacek Piorkowski's statement

Jacek Piorkowski published the promised video with explanations (and apologies). As he stated, he "chose the wrong words" when explaining his intentions.

Essentially, the developer reiterated to some extent what we had already heard: that he was interested in the team experiencing the sauna "first hand" in order to develop a game dedicated to the saunamaster's experience. In doing so, he claims that he didn't require permanent sauna sessions, let alone attend them with him.

You can watch the video on LinkedIn.

Jacob Blazewicz

Jacob Blazewicz

Graduated with a master's degree in Polish Studies from the University of Warsaw with a thesis dedicated to this very subject. Started his adventure with in 2015, writing in the Newsroom and later also in the film and technology sections (also contributed to the Encyclopedia). Interested in video games (and not only video games) for years. He began with platform games and, to this day, remains a big fan of them (including Metroidvania). Also shows interest in card games (including paper), fighting games, soulslikes, and basically everything about games as such. Marvels at pixelated characters from games dating back to the time of the Game Boy (if not older).