Former Nintendo employee says he was fired for ‘bad’ question about unions

The company also reported that the employee was laid off because of a tweet in which he allegedly divulged confidential information.

Former Nintendo QA Mackenzie Clifton shared with Axios publishing details on how he was fired from the company. According to the employee, at a corporate meeting in January 2022, he asked Nintendo of America President Doug Bowser what he thought about the trend in which game company testers are unionizing.

Clifton reported that the issue was not taken up at the meeting. On the same day, the head of the contracting firm Aston Carter had a short conversation with an employee, during which he called his question “unsuccessful”. He also urged Clifton to direct all such questions to him rather than asking them directly to Nintendo management.

The QA employee stated that this response puzzled and annoyed him, but the employee took no further action. Despite this, less than a month later, the specialist was fired from the company.

Nintendo reported that Clifton had been made redundant for leaking confidential information. When an employee demanded an explanation, the company showed him a tweet dated February 16, 2022, in which the employee wrote about the development of one of the games.

Apparently, in today’s build, someone somehow removed all the textures in the game, because everything is now red. Just completely red, and it’s very funny.

tweet from a former Nintendo employee

Clifton disagreed with this reason for being fired and filed a complaint against Nintendo of America with the U.S. National Labor Relations Board. The employee believes that he was laid off precisely because he asked an uncomfortable question for management about trade unions. As Clifton noted, he did not invite other employees to unite, but only asked Bowser’s opinion on the trend in the gaming industry.

The former QA specialist also shared with Axios details about his work at the company. According to him, he received his first contract position in 2018, and at first everything was fine. So, one of the managers noticed that Clifton plays well in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate in breaks. After that, the employee was transferred to testing the fighting game, in which he achieved great success.

However, when Clifton got into trouble, including severe depression from college, his bosses openly expressed their frustration with his position. In addition, Nintendo refused to add the names of Clifton and other QA specialists to the credits of Super Smash Bros. ultimate. According to the employee, he was very upset and even brought to suicidal thoughts, as he carefully worked on the game for several years.

Clifton said he filed a complaint against Nintendo and Aston Carter to draw attention to the situation of his former colleagues and other testers.

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