The boss of Ubisoft still doesn't understand why his company is so toxic

The boss of Ubisoft still doesn’t understand why his company is so toxic

Ubisoft's CEO takes the stage at E3 2017 to reveal Mario + Rabbids.

Photo: Christian Petersen (Getty Images)

IN new interview with Press, Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot apparently said that the toxicity in the gaming industry comes from the necessary “friction” in the creative process. The implication was that it was almost inevitable. In two years settlement at the workplace for sexual harassment, inappropriate behavior and contempt of the publisher in a row Assassin’s Creed and Far Cryit sounded tone-deaf at best, and advocating a fight between development teams at worst. When asked to clarify its remarks, Ubisoft provided my box with a more detailed explanation from the CEO.

“I want to be clear, as I’ve said before, there is absolutely no place for toxicity at Ubisoft or in our industry,” Guillemot wrote in a statement. “When I talked about friction sometimes happening, I was thinking of the creative tension that is common and vital in innovative societies like ours, where people are free to challenge ideas and have passionate but healthy debates.”

He continued:

To prevent this tension from becoming negative, or to deal with it if it does, strong principles, values ​​and appropriate practices are necessary. For the last two a[a]– in half a year we have made great progress in this area to provide a safe and great experience for all our teams. A healthy and respectful work environment is our top priority and we are pleased to say that our latest surveys confirm that our team members are on the right track.

“Heated but healthy” goes to the heart of some of the biggest complaints from some current and former Ubisoft employees. These my box talked to they often described an atmosphere in certain studios that seemed to reward bullies while ostracizing the less institutionally empowered people who provoked them. Whether it was a manager, design lead or director, respectfully challenging them or taking a principled stand during a team meeting could win over a dissenting employee pushed the project away or put his career on hold indefinitely.

One of these bullies was said to be Michel Anceldesigner behind Rayman and the original Beyond Good & Evil who was tapped to direct the sequel. According to a 2020 French newspaper investigation ReleaseAncel was confused, making impractical demands and berating employees when he didn’t like the work they were showing him. Three known sources Beyond Good & Evil 2A developer at Ubisoft Montpellier felt that the allegations in the report were true and that Ancel’s reputation as a toxic manager was well known within the company.

Any tips on how you worked at Ubisoft and how the company is improving or not improving? Email us at [email protected] or you can safely contact me at [email protected]

Did Guillemot know? Release reported that he did, citing a meeting in 2017 where the CEO, when confronted with complaints about Ancel, reportedly said that Ancel’s stardom in the games industry was helpful for the public perception of Ubisoft, but also made him difficult to manage, and that it would on employees. representatives and HR to protect the people who work under him. Ancel was only investigated during the showdown at a larger workplace and finally resigned in September 2020.

IN recent interview with AxiosGuillemot claimed he was unaware of anyone’s misconduct. “You realize that things have happened very close to you that you wouldn’t have accepted if you knew about them,” he said. “You’re upset that this could happen and that you didn’t see it coming. But again, the CEO had a controversial answer as to why a culture festering under his watch that seemingly supported and protected bad actors.

“We weren’t organized enough to identify problems and fix them,” he said Axios. “The company worked and things were done in different ways. And then came a new young generation [into the company] with different needs. And we had to adapt. I think we didn’t adapt quickly enough to what people expected and needed.”

The comment, which appeared to blame the workplace showdown that included sexual abuse allegations on a generation gap, was roundly mocked online. Guillemot made no attempt to clarify, and Ubisoft declined to comment today my box he asked about the pattern of controversial proposals from the man responsible for leading the publisher’s cultural transformation.


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