Charlie Guillemot, co-head of Ubisoft mobile studio Owlient, is stepping down based on a new report from Axios. Back in August of last year, his studio faced controversy when a Tom Clancy branded mobile game used Black Lives Matter imagery in relation to a fictional in-game terrorist group. Charlie Guillemot is also the son of Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot.
According to Axios’ report, it was announced internally to Ubisoft employees last week that Guillemot would leave Owlient along with studio co-lead Rémi Pellerin.
“We wish them all the best,” Ubisoft told Axios.
Both Pellerin and Guillemot ran the studio since 2014. Owlient was created in 2006 and has mostly focused on mobile games and smaller titles.
In 2020, it released Tom Clancy’s Elite Squad, a free-to-play turn-based mobile game set within the Tom Clancy universe. It used characters from various games, including Splinter Cell and Rainbow Six Siege. Shortly after its release Ubisoft and Owlient faced widespread criticism due to the game’s intro video, which appeared to rely on right-wing conspiracies about the Black Lives Matter movement to create an evil, nefarious terrorist group. It also used the famous raised fist imagery in the video and in-game to represent the group.
Shortly after the backlash began, Ubisoft apologised for the imagery and removed it in a later update.
According to Axios, some Ubisoft employees were upset as of last fall that the larger company was being run more like a ma and pa family-run business, pointing towards Yves Guillemot’s son getting to run his own studio right out of college. Considering how few game studios exist in the world, this is a rare opportunity that few will ever get. And Guillemot’s son got it right out of school.
Beyond Elite Squad and these latest departures, Ubisoft continues to face criticism over its handling of harassment, misconduct, and other systemic issues at the global video game publisher.