A group of current and former Ubisoft employees has responded to the company’s appointment of a new chief creative officer, urging him and the company to provide a “meaningful response” to Ubisoft’s culture of “systemic discrimination, harassment, and bullying.”
The statement was issued by employee group A Better Ubisoft in response to the announcement today that Igor Manceau would succeed Serge Hascoët as the company’s chief creative officer, following allegations Hascoët had been a key propagator of toxic company culture.
Manceau, who has been with Ubisoft since 1998, has previously held several leadership roles in Ubisoft marketing, working on franchises such as Far Cry, Rainbow Six, and Splinter Cell. In 2014 he worked as creative director on Steep and followed up in the same role on Riders Republic.
However, as the employee group points out, Manceau’s appointment does not appear to be in line with CEO Yves Guillemot’s promises to overhaul the company’s editorial team. As Guillemot wrote in a letter to employees upon Hascoet’s departure:
“I will take on the CCO role temporarily as we work to define and organize the leadership of the Editorial Department. During this time, I will also personally oversee a complete overhaul of the way in which this team works. My goal is to create an inclusive and open culture that embraces more diverse and multidisciplinary expertise.”
In its response, A Better Ubisoft points out that “There is no clear expression of the creative process, and there is a shocking lack of diversity in the VPs.” The group points out that while Bio Jade Adam Granger’s appointment as VP of editorial earlier this year was a step in the right direction, “not much progress has been made beyond that.”
“Currently, as it stands, the creative team at Ubisoft is composed of white people who are of uniform cultural backgrounds.”
The letter concludes that this leaves the employee group with a “lack of confidence” in the editorial team’s future, noting that Patrick Plourde remains VP of editorial “despite the multiple misconduct reports filed against him” and Hascoët’s “former right-hand person” is still involved in the recruitment of high-level positions at the company.
Ubisoft’s editorial team has historically held a large amount of creative power at the company. It’s responsible for advising on elements of all the company’s games including design, story, and more, and prior to 2020 was largely responsible for a “cohesive vision” across Ubisoft titles.
However, a 2020 restructuring made an attempt at diversifying power on the editorial team to better differentiate its games, though its powerful influence on the portfolio remained.
Manceau’s appointment to said team comes over a year after Ubisoft was at the center of numerous reports of a toxic work culture, harassment, abuse, and discrimination, which resulted in numerous company leaders being fired or otherwise parting ways following investigations.
However, earlier this year, 1,000 current and former Ubisoft employees signed an open letter in solidarity with employees at Activision-Blizzard undergoing their own cultural reckoning, demanding that the company take further action. The group at the time stated that over a year later, it “had seen nothing more than a year of kind words, empty promises, and an inability or unwillingness to remove known offenders.”
Rebekah Valentine is a news reporter for IGN. You can find her on Twitter @duckvalentine.
Source: IGN Video Games All