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In brief: Ubisoft has long had a reputation for being one of the world’s most disliked gaming companies, and it’s starting to look like some employees feel the same way. The Assassin’s Creed Valhalla developer is reportedly hemorrhaging staff in what some are calling a “great exodus” and “the cut artery.”
A report by Axios claims that Ubisoft has seen “massive departures” over the past 18 months. At least five of the top 25-credited people from Far Cry 6, which only launched in October, have gone, while twelve people out of the top 50-credited developers from Assassin’s Creed Valhalla also waved goodbye to the company.
According to two current developers, these departures are impacting current projects, causing delays and postponements.
Both mid-level and lower-level workers are also leaving, with Ubisoft’s Canadian studios being particularly affected. According to LinkedIn, the Montreal and Toronto studios are down at least 60 workers in the last six months. The business-focused platform also shows that Ubisoft’s attrition rate is 12%, higher than EA (9%), Take-Two (8%), and Epic Games (7%), though it's still lower than Activision Blizzard, which has a 16% rate—for obvious reasons.
"Our attrition today is a few percentage points above where it typically is," Ubisoft's head of people ops, Anika Grant, told Axios in an interview. "But it's still within industry norms."
Employees say there are several factors behind the departures, including low pay, opportunities at other studios, frustration at the company's creative direction, and the #MeToo and toxicity allegations that have surrounded Ubisoft in recent times.
"I think abuse and toxicity are contributing factors but not deciding ones for most," a current Ubisoft developer said of why colleagues were leaving, adding that "Women and people of color experience them as deciding factors."
Ubisoft has faced criticism lately over its plan to implement non-fungible tokens (NFTs) in Ghost Recon Breakpoint; the YouTube announcement video attracted over 30,000 dislikes.
In its defense, Ubisoft pointed out that it has hired 2,600 workers since April and that a recent company-wide satisfaction survey returned a score of 74, in line with the industry average. The departures are also likely linked to “the Great Resignation,” a movement in which employees are fighting back against low pay, poor conditions, and companies that force them to place work above everything else in their lives.