While it hasn’t been as public as Activision-Blizzard’s ongoing workplace legal battle, Ubisoft is also undergoing some significant workplace culture issues, which Axios is reporting has resulted in a mass exodus of workers in the past year. This is to the point where employees interviewed about the trend have given it names like “the great exodus” and “the cut artery.”
The trend is best illustrated by looking at developers on some of the company’s biggest projects. According to Axios’ report, workers leaving Ubisoft have included a lot of the top credited people on projects like Far Cry 6, with five of its top 25-credited contributors having left the company, and that game has only been available for a little over two months as of this writing. Developers and leadership on Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla have also left, with 12 of the game’s top 50 credited workers having departed. That number was originally 13, but one recently returned after leaving earlier this year.
But that’s just in leadership. Midlevel and lower-level workers have also been leaving in droves, as Ubisoft’s Montreal and Toronto studios have dwindled to around 60 workers in the past six months. All of this has resulted in the slowing of ongoing projects. One example included a developer that told Axios a worker at Ubisoft had to contact them after they’d quit the company to solve a development issue, as everyone who knew the system they were working on was gone. According to Axios’ sources, which included a dozen current and former Ubisoft developers, the reasons for this come from a few different underlying causes. This includes low pay, better opportunities elsewhere, dissatisfaction with the company’s creative direction, and disappointment at the company’s handling of its ongoing workplace misconduct controversy.
In statements given to Axios by Ubisoft representatives, the company says it’s hired around 2600 new employees since April. Chief People Officer Anika Grant told the outlet Ubisoft’s attrition rate is higher than it usually is, but “it’s still within industry norms.” Based on data supplied by Ubisoft and reported by LinkedIn, the publisher’s attrition rate is 12%, which is lower than Activision-Blizzard’s 16%, but higher than companies like EA’s 9%, Take-Two’s 8%, and Epic Games’ 7%. In response to pay disparity, Ubisoft has announced pay raises at its Canadian studios, which Grant told Axios had resulted in a 50% improved retention rate. However, this has reportedly frustrated developers at other Ubisoft studios who haven’t received similar raises.
More on the state of Ubisoft:
- Ubisoft Employees Dissatisfied With CEO’s Response to Call for Real Change in Company Culture
- Multiple Ubisoft Higher-Ups Subject of Workplace Harassment Complaint in French Court
- Ubisoft Demotes But Doesn’t Fire Skull and Bones Director Accused of Sexual Harassment
As far as Ubisoft’s handling of its own #MeToo movement, one developer at Ubisoft said this has been a contributing factor, but not necessarily a deciding one “for most” in their leaving the company. Though the anonymous developer noted women and people of color who are on the receiving end of misconduct and harassment would say otherwise. On that note, one ex-employee Axios spoke with said they tried to take a hands-on approach to help turn the company culture around, but felt they weren’t being heard by leadership.
“They constantly emphasized ‘moving on’ and ‘looking forward’ while ignoring the complaints, concerns, and cries of their employees,” the developer told Axios.
Despite all of this, Ubisoft leadership argues its company standing is about what anyone would expect from a video game company of its size. During a recent company-wide survey, employees were asked if they would recommend others work at Ubisoft, and they returned with a score of 74, which a company spokesperson said was about the industry average.
This report comes shortly after the company announced it’s developing a remake of the original Splinter Cell game, as well as has started integrating NFTs into Ghost Recon: Breakpoint. Which uh, is apparently not doing much for the company.