Assassin’s Creed boss seems clueless on Ubisoft’s toxic culture

Assassin's Creed boss seems clueless on Ubisoft's toxic culture
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Ubisoft's CEO took the stage at E3 2017 to reveal Mario + Rabbids.

Photo: Christian Peterson (Getty Images)

in New interview with Press, Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot says that toxicity in the game industry comes from the “friction” necessary in the creative process. The implication was that it was almost inevitable. in two years Workplace Accounts Sexual harassment, misconduct, and stalking the publisher Assassin’s Creed And Farcree, it sounded at best tone deaf and at worst an endorsement of conflict within the development team. Asked to clarify its comments, Ubisoft provided Kotaku With a more detailed explanation from the CEO.

“I want to be clear, as I’ve said before there is no place for toxicity at Ubisoft or our industry,” Guillemot wrote in a statement. “When I said there was occasional friction, I was thinking of the creative tension that is common and essential in innovative companies like ours, where people have the freedom to challenge ideas and have heated but healthy debates.”

I ran:

To prevent this tension from turning negative, or to deal with it if it does, this is where strong principles, values ​​and associated procedures are essential. last two-and-[a]-For half a year, we’ve made a lot of progress on that front to deliver a safe and great experience to all our teams. A healthy, respectful work environment is our top priority and we are pleased to say that according to our latest survey, our team members are convinced that we are on the right track.

Some current and former Ubisoft employees find “hot but healthy” to be one of the biggest complaints. They are Kotaku talked to Often describes an environment in certain studios that rewards bullies and ostracizes less institutionally empowered people who call them out. Whether it’s a manager, design lead, or director, questioning them respectfully or taking a principled stand during a team meeting can get dissident employees. Pushing off a project or Their careers are suspended indefinitely.

One of these bullies Known as Michel AnselDesigner behind Rayman and original Beyond good and evil who was tapped to direct the sequel. According to a 2020 investigation by the French newspaper release, Ansel was disorganized, made impractical requests and scolded staff when he disliked the work shown to him. Familiar with three formulas Beyond Good and Evil 2Ubisoft’s development at Montpellier felt that the allegations in the report were accurate, and that Ansel’s reputation as a toxic manager was well known within the company.

Have a tip about your time at Ubisoft and how the company is or isn’t improving? Drop us a line at or you can contact me securely at

What did Guillemot know? release Report Which he did, citing a 2017 meeting where, when confronted with allegations about Ansel, the CEO reportedly said that Ansel’s stardom in the games industry was both helpful to Ubisoft’s public perception but made him difficult to manage, and that it would depend on staff. and HR to protect those who work under him. Ansell was investigated until the larger workplace was accounted for and eventually resigned in September 2020.

in A recent interview with Axios, Guillemot claims ignorance of someone’s bad behavior. “You realize that things happened so close to you, that you wouldn’t accept if you knew about them,” he said. “It could happen and you’re upset because you didn’t see it.” But again the CEO had a controversial answer as to why a culture that seemingly nurtures and protects bad actors is under his watch.

“We weren’t organized enough to identify the problems and fix them,” he said Axios. “The company was running and had some way. And then a new younger generation, coming up [into the company] with different needs. And we had to adapt. I think we didn’t adapt fast enough to what people expected and needed.”

The comment, which blamed a workplace calculation that included allegations of sexual harassment across a generational divide, is ridiculed online. Guillemot did not try to clarify that, and Ubisoft today refused to comment Kotaku Asked about the pattern of controversial advice from the man responsible for leading the publisher’s cultural transformation.

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