It might be one of the biggest video game companies in the world, but it seems that even Ubisoft isn’t immune to the toxic work culture which is common at other video game companies.
Whether it’s the crunch before release of a major game like Red Dead Redemption 2 at the likes of Rockstar, or the “bro culture” the likes of Riot Games have been accused of fostering, video game companies have been in the spotlight during the last couple of years due to the hard time some of their employees have had to endure while working on some of the industry’s biggest games.
And rumors have been pointing at Ubisoft this year due to a string of sexual misconduct cases involving some of the key members of its staff, such as creative director Ashraf Ismail. The man had to abandon his work on the company’s Assassin’s Creed Valhalla game as news emerged of his extra-marital relationships with several women, including some Ubisoft employees.
Ubisoft later launched a probe, and now three of its most important executives have been forced to quit as sexual harassment allegations have been piling against them, as was recently reported on The Guardian (via Push Square).
These include human resources director Cecile Cornet, who has now left the French video game company, and Yannis Mallat, who was the managing director at Ubisoft’s Canadian branch.
Regarding Mallat, Ubisoft said that “the recent allegations that have come to light in Canada against multiple employees make it impossible for [Mallat] to continue in this position”.
So it is to be assumed that Mallat had not been behaving in an ethical way while carrying out his duties at Ubisoft then…
Nonetheless, he’s not the most important Ubisoft executive who’s had to depart the company as a result of this scandal. No, that would be Serge Hascoet, who was the company’s chief creative officer.
Actually, Hascoet could have been the second most important person at Ubisoft after CEO Yves Guillemot, as according to Bloomberg journalist Jason Schreier he “was the man in charge of ALL of their games. With one word he could greenlight or cancel a project”.
And it seems many believed that Hascoet’s power at the company and proximity to CEO Yves Guillemot meant the man was untouchable, yet he’s gotten the axe now too…
Guillemot himself has now taken over Hascoet’s duties as he oversees a staff overhaul at Ubisoft.
“Ubisoft has fallen short in its obligation to guarantee a safe and inclusive workplace environment for its employees”, said Guillemot. “This is unacceptable as toxic behaviors are in direct contrast to values on which I have never compromised – and never will”, said Ubisoft’s CEO.
Despite Guillemot’s words, some saw the fact that the Ubisoft Forward event went on last Sunday as if nothing had happened a bit controversial. Although Ubisoft clarified in a tweet that given that the content had been pre-recorded it couldn’t address the matter during Sunday’s show, which delivered a wealth of new information about upcoming Ubisoft games.
It remains to be seen, though, whether these staff changes at the highest level will have any impact on these upcoming Ubisoft games. The French company has three major games in the pipeline including Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, Watch Dogs Legion and the recently announced Far Cry 6. So hopefully these will all live up the hype and quality that Ubisoft has gotten us accustomed over the years when they see a release in the coming months.