In November 2020, Ubisoft Singapore managing director Hugues Ricour was removed from office following a leadership audit sparked by a Gamasutra report of abuse and misconduct on Ubisoft. Ricour had been accused of sexual harassment by various sources, according to the report, and anyone who complained had labor repercussions that Ubi's human resources department was unaware of.
A new report from Kotaku delves into the working conditions of the study, both under and after Ricour’s leadership, with multiple reports of serious problems, including incidents in the handling of allegations of sexual harassment, wage disparities between local employees and expatriates and a “French roof” (Ubisoft is headquartered in Paris) that hinders the advancement of workers from other countries.
“We have a joke: there’s a French multiplier and there’s a skin color multiplier,” an employee said at the site.
Although the problems in the study are widespread, Ricour himself is especially problematic. His elevation to head of study, replacing Olivier de Rotalier, was described by an employee as "how to replace a velvet glove with an executioner". According to the report, the situation was especially bad for the members of the Skull and Bones team. One developer told the site that they had been warned not to put themselves on the bad side of Ricour because "he is very vindictive and petty," while another claimed that anyone who made that mistake would be "gone."
Gamasutra's investigation into Ricour and Ubisoft Singapore came in the midst of an outpouring of allegations. abuse and misconduct involving other executives across the company, leading to the resignations of creative director Serge Hascoët, Ubisoft Canada managing director Yannis Mallat, and global human resources manager Cécile Cornet, among others. others. However, Ricour did not suffer similar consequences: three sources told Kotaku that Ricour left on leave immediately after the release of the Gamasutra report, but Ubisoft refused to conduct any investigation unless make formal complaints through your human resources department or through an internal anonymous information tool. Ricour returned to work shortly afterwards, according to the report, and apologized to anyone who felt uncomfortable because of his actions during a subsequent town hall meeting.
A third-party human resources company came forward to investigate the matter and determined in October 2020 that there was not enough information to justify the action against Ricour, but in November, the Ubisoft's chief operating officer, Virginie Haas, who was appointed to office in August 2020, he announced internally that Ricour would be eliminated as head of study. However, he was not fired, but was moved to Ubisoft's Paris headquarters. His LinkedIn account now lists him as Ubisoft’s Director of Production Intelligence.
It's been almost a year since Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot apologized to "everyone who was injured" for abuse in the workplace, but declined to take responsibility. . In many ways, little has changed since then: last week, the union Solidaires Informatique filed a new complaint against Ubisoft in France, alleging that executives, including Guillemot himself, enabled and promoted the culture of "institutional sexual harassment" in the company that persists in this regard. day.
Kotaku's research on workplace culture at Ubisoft Singapore comes shortly after a separate reports on the problematic development of Skull and Bones. Study staff said it has experienced multiple changes of direction and wholesale reboots over the years; a former employee pointed to the "toxic culture that pervades the Singapore study" as the main culprit in production problems. Despite the long-term problems, Ubisoft is still committed to making it a reality: Skull and Bones is currently expected to be released sometime from 2022 to 23.