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Things Are Worse At Ubisoft Than Anyone Knew

Ubisoft recently confirmed it would remake the classic stealth game "Splinter Cell," but that long-awaited announcement was arguably overshadowed by reports of turmoil within the company. Almost simultaneously, the developer admitted what everyone suspected about its workplace culture: things are bad. Ubisoft CPO Anika Grant explained that the company hadn't done enough to address allegations of abuse in the workplace, nor had it included workers enough in the process. To top off the controversy, Ubisoft declared its intentions to sell NFTs, which many gamers see as environmentally destructive. Now, recent reports from workers at Ubisoft have revealed that things are worse than anyone suspected.

According to Axios, Ubisoft developers have dubbed the hemorrhage of employees "the great exodus" or "the cut artery." Axios spoke with several anonymous employees at Ubisoft to find out what was really going on in the company. For the most part, Ubisoft workers explained that things were looking grim within the company. Many are leaving for greener pastures – and higher pay – at other companies, especially in Montreal, which many game studios call home. Axios noted that "at least 5 of the top 25-credited people from the company's biggest 2021 game, 'Far Cry 6,' [are] already gone. Twelve of the top 50 from last year's biggest Ubisoft release, 'Assassin's Creed Valhalla', have left too." While one employee did make the decision to return, most have not. Of course, Ubisoft is trying its best to retain workers.

Ubisoft tries to work on attrition

Ubisoft has allegedly offered pay raises to its Montreal branch, according to Axios, in order to remain competitive and discourage employees from leaving. Anika Grant noted that giving the Canadian studio raises helped retention by 50%, but other branches of Ubisoft are left questioning if they'll also receive more pay. Unfortunately, it seems unlikely.

Money can't solve all of Ubisoft's problems, and many employees feel upset that the company hasn't done more to combat workplace concerns. One employee Axios spoke to said that they tried to help reform some workplace practices, but were told by administrators that the company wanted to "move on" from the bad press it received. "I think abuse and toxicity are contributing factors but not deciding ones for most," they explained. "Women and people of color experience them as deciding factors." In other words, Ubisoft's environment can be untenable for those that value workplace culture and use it as a way to determine the choice to stay or go.

While Ubisoft claims that its attrition rates are comparable to its competitors – like Take-Two and Epic Games – that's not really the case. Attrition tracks the rate at which companies shrink due to employees exiting and not being replaced, and Ubisoft is seeing higher numbers than most other gaming companies out there, except for one: Activision Blizzard. It's unclear what the future of Ubisoft will be, or if it'll manage to turn its workplace around. It's clear, though, that things were worse than anyone really knew.