Ubisoft Removes Managing Director Of Its Skull And Bones Studio

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Ubisoft Removes Managing Director Of Its Skull And Bones Studio
Image: Ubisoft

Hugues Ricour, the man in charge of overseeing Ubisoft’s Singapore studio, which is currently developing Skull and Bones, has been removed from that position following the result of a “leadership audit,” according to a copy of an internal company email sent out earlier this week and obtained by Kotaku.

Ricour had been in that role since early 2018 and was responsible for overseeing the studio’s many projects, which include not just Ubisoft’s upcoming pirate ship combat game, but co-production responsibilities on the Assassin’s Creed series and the upcoming Immortals: Fenyx Rising, formerly called Gods and Monsters.

“Effective immediately, Hugues Ricour is no longer Managing Director of Ubisoft Singapore,” reads the email from Ubisoft chief studios operating officer, Virginie Haas, who took over that position in August amid the company’s ongoing MeToo reckoning. “The results of the leadership audit that was conducted in the last few weeks by our external partners makes it impossible for him to continue in this position.”

It remains unclear if Ricour has been fired from the company or simply removed from his current management position.

The news comes after an August 14 investigation into workplace abuse at Ubisoft by Gamasutra which reported that Ricour had been accused by “multiple sources of sexual harassment,” including making suggestive comments about what women were wearing and soliciting kisses at work events. Sources Kotaku have spoken with over the last several months say that Ricour’s management style and behaviour at work was problematic, citing bullying, demeaning comments, and retaliatory action against those perceived to have stood up to him.

Ricour and Ubisoft did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The internal email from Haas states that Ubisoft Singapore’s director of operations, Matthew Thorpe, and human resources director, Debbie Lee, will “ensure a smooth transition in the interim,” and that the studio will hold an upcoming town hall to address employee questions about Ricour’s removal.

Revealed at E3 2017 as a naval warfare game inspired by Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, Skull and Bones was originally supposed to come out the following year, but has since been delayed multiple times. In July of this year, VGC reported that the game had been rebooted.

Three sources with knowledge of the game’s development, but who wished to remain anonymous because they were not authorised to speak to the press, told Kotaku that the game has undergone multiple revisions since development started and is currently still a ways off from releasing. Elisabeth Pellen, the game’s second creative director, acknowledged some of these delays and changes to direction in a September open letter to fans.

Comments

  • Sigh. All I want is Black Flag 2 minus the assassin bits on PS5. Preferably single-player. Something like Sid Meier’s Pirates! Sigh.

    Still, sounds like good riddance to harmful trash, in this specific manager’s instance.

    • In the initial version of the game, it sounded like they’d removed a lot more than just the land based assassin parts of the game while trying to put together something that would work for multi-player.

      Who knows what the game looks like now after rebooting development. I kind of wonder whether it’ll ever be released.

  • Some dude in a powerful position at Ubisoft is a sexual abuser. Ubisoft did nothing until forced by bad publicity.

    This story is becoming very familiar.

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