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Ubisoft staff leaving in "the great exodus"

Resignations at all levels of the business.

Staff are leaving Ubisoft in what's been dubbed "the great exodus".

As reported by Axios, there's been a wave of resignation from the company over the past 18 months at all levels of the business.

A range of reasons have been cited for departures, including low pay, competitive opportunities elsewhere, frustration at the company's creative direction, and unease at its handling of workplace misconduct.

One experienced developer who recently left claimed the company is "an easy target for recruiters" owing to these issues.

Resignations include five of the top 25 developers credited on Far Cry 6, the company's biggest game of 2021. Twelve of the top 50 who worked on Assassin's Creed Valhalla have also left.

A number of ex-employees spoke with Axios about their reasons for leaving. One former employee was disappointed with directives from the company's head office in Paris.

"There's something about management and creative scraping by with the bare minimum that really turned me away," they said.

One programmer was able to triple their pay by leaving. Ubisoft has recently offered pay rises to all in its Canadian studios, though workers in other studios are frustrated in response.

The Canadian studios have been particularly hard hit by departures, with at least 60 workers leaving in the last six months according to LinkedIn. The Montreal area is currently experiencing a growth of opportunity in the gaming industry.

Ubisoft has been hit with criticism following its handling of workplace misconduct allegations.

Ubisoft chief people officer Anika Grant recently admitted the company mishandled complaints, causing a lack of trust.

"I think abuse and toxicity are contributing factors but not deciding ones for most," one current Ubisoft developer told Axios. "Women and people of color experience them as deciding factors."

Developers at the company are also disappointed with its inclusion of NFTs. French trade union Solidaires Informatique, which represents Ubisoft employees in Paris, called the technology "a useless, costly, ecologically mortifying tech".

Ubisoft management told Axios that despite the attrition, the company has hired 2,600 new employees since April. "Our attrition today is a few percentage points above where it typically is," said Grant. "But it's still within industry norms."

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Ed Nightingale

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Ed is Reporter at Eurogamer, with an interest in streaming, people and communities, and giving a voice to marginalised people.

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