Ubisoft is Hemorrhaging Developers
(Photo: Ubisoft)During these unprecedented times, Ubisoft has found itself joining the ranks of many other shocking firsts. The video game studio is losing employees much faster than it can hire them, and for uglier reasons than it’d probably like to admit.
In what workers have dubbed “the great exodus” and even “the cut artery,” developers are following one another in droves out of Ubisoft’s metaphorical doors, Axios reports. Insufficient pay, frustration with the company’s creative direction, and disappointment with the way Ubisoft has historically addressed workplace harassment claims have created a perfect storm of dissatisfaction, prompting employee after employee to call it quits. (French newspaper Libération exposed the company’s harmful work environment in 2020, and while several higher-ups have resigned since, Ubisoft’s culture appears to remain very much a work-in-progress. Hundreds of Ubisoft employees signed a letter earlier this year accusing the studio of burying its head in the sand.)
The company’s many issues have made Ubisoft an “easy target for recruiters,” according to one of many former developers interviewed by Axios. While several of these developers were sentimental about their time at Ubisoft, the studio’s slew of messes made it no longer worth their loyalty. Those who tried to stick around to improve the company’s culture were reportedly met with constant reminders about “moving on” and “looking forward” while management ignored employees’ concerns in real-time.
“The company’s reputation was too much to bear. It’s legitimately embarrassing,” one former developer said. Yet another mentioned that while “abuse and toxicity” were deciding factors for women and people of color who chose to leave Ubisoft, they were likely only contributing factors for others.
Tenured employees who have made names for themselves at Ubisoft, such as Assassin’s Creed Valhalla director Eric Baptizat, are among those who have found opportunities with other players in the gaming industry. In a candidate’s job market, many Ubisoft employees have been able to secure “generous” competing offers; one departing developer was even able to triple their income by making the jump. LinkedIn reveals that Ubisoft’s attrition rate hovers around 12 percent, a statistic confirmed by the studio’s own management to Axios.
For better or for worse, Ubisoft isn’t the only company losing employees at a remarkable speed. Mainstream news outlets are rife with stories of workers deciding they’re fed up with low pay, long hours, uncomfortable work environments, and blatant mistreatment. Ubisoft, like many others, probably just didn’t expect to become a part of one of those stories.