The CEO of Ubisoft, Yves Guillemothas apologized to its employees and qualified the words it put in an urgent email last week, in which it appeared to hold its employees accountable for poor financial results last quarter, followed by a stock market crash.
“When I said that”the ball is in your court‘ to insist on deadlines and the expected quality, I wanted to express the idea that, now more than ever, I need your talent and energy to make it possible“, Guillemot said in a Q&A for his employees.
“This is a collective journey that of course starts with me and the management team creating the conditions for all of us to succeed together.”
Guillemot’s mail caused discomfort among its employees, who perceived a threatening tone and even passive-aggressive, and that some leaked to Kotaku. Guillemot’s apology has also been leaked to Kotaku, as well as other interesting statements from Ubisoft’s heads.
For example, they reject requests for a four-day work week and a 10% increase in wages due to inflation that they are demanding from the Solidaires Informatique union, due to financial difficulties, although they have insinuated that there will be no layoffs: “we do not try to do more with less, but to do things differently”.
Of course, they have not alluded to the four-hour work stoppage that this union has called on Friday, November 27 at the Ubisoft Paris headquarters.
“Why chase trends instead of creating them?”
Ubisoft employees who participated in the Q&A wanted to know why Ubisoft is so insistent that they have to “adapt to an evolving industry,” and one even threw a dart: “Why are we chasing trends instead of creating them?”
Recently, Ubisoft has focused its output on huge open-world games that seem cut from the same pattern, whether it’s Assassin’s Creed, Far Cry, The Division or Watch Dogs… and also on continued (unsuccessful) attempts to make games as a service online.
An anonymous employee said in a report yesterday from Insider Gaming that they have had up to 12 battle royale games in development at oncebut these take forever to make… and many don’t even make it out, they are discreetly cancelled, wasting time and resources.
But Ubisoft remains convinced that the trend is to exploit its big brands. “We have to recognize that what’s being asked now is big brands,” Marie-Sophie de Waubert, senior vice president of studio operations, said to a question about why there weren’t more small, varied games like Anno 1800.
In 2022 (and due to many delays), Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope was its only major premium release, taking much of the blame for company-wide underperformance and bad forecasts.
Fortunately, in 2023 Ubisoft it has two games that they hope will perform “incredibly well”, Assassin’s Creed Mirage and Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora, two great AAA for the next generation single player.
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