Game developers associated with the ABetterUbisoft group are petitioning the Assassin’s Creed publisher for a seat at the table, and a “meaningful say in how Ubisoft as a company moves forward.” The move to enlist the support of fans and other developers in its push for change comes just months after over 1,000 current and former Ubisoft workers signed an open letter demanding change across the video game industry.
“You disappoint us, M. Guillemot,” ABetterUbisoft tweeted earlier today. “100 days, zero demands met. Surely you can do better than this.” The phrasing was a callback to emails Ubisoft recently sent to lapsed Far Cry 6 players, trying to neg them into logging back into the game. The group’s four new demands include an end to the cycle of “promoting and moving known offenders from studio to studio,” and a collaboration with other game companies on improving HR reporting processes, one that involves employees from the studio floor, not just managers.
— ABetterUbisoft (@ABetterUbisoft) November 5, 2021
Ubisoft did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The new demands, and open petition for support from fans and other game developers, comes just a week after ABetterUbisoft contrasted Ubisoft’s approach to fixing its company with Activision Blizzard. The Call Of Duty publisher recently announced sweeping changes in response to employee demands, after allegations of widespread sexual harassment discrimaiton were brought to light over the summer.
Read More: Ubisoft’s #MeToo Reckoning, Two Months Later
Following an $US18 ($24) million settlement with the federal government, Activision Blizzard announced it would also be waiving mandatory arbitration, implementing a zero-tolerance policy for misconduct, and spending more on diverse hiring initiatives. CEO Bobby Kotick agreed to a significant pay cut while change is being implemented. Ubisoft, and its CEO and co-founder, Yves Guillemot, have not taken similar steps.
“While our demands are not identical, many overlap and could be addressed through similar actions just as swiftly,” ABetterUbisoft group wrote on October 29. “You offer nothing more than your assurance that all investigations are impartial, all sanctions are appropriate and that victims and witnesses are protected, while offering us no evidence, involvement or oversight in any part of the process.”
Last month, Kotaku reported that despite Ubisoft’s publicly stated commitments to overhauling its company culture, some employees are unable to get answers when they file complaints about harassment or workplace toxicity. One former Ubisoft Montreal employee said she reported multiple instances of sexual harassment and racist remarks, once in 2020 and again this year, but was never informed about the outcome of her complaint, nor whether anything was or wasn’t done about it.
As Ubisoft prepares its next slate of blockbusters for the PS5 and Xbox Series X/S console generations, some current and former developers tell Kotaku it will be a test-case for whether the company is finally willing to put people over projects, or if it will fall back into its old ways.