Ubisoft has had a rough year, though largely of its own design. The developer has suffered wave after wave of controversy, ranging from the handling of its longtime franchises to new endeavors like Ubisoft Quartz, the gaming giant’s ill-received NFT initiative. According to a new report from Axios, these problems run even deeper, as the company is now bleeding top-level talent at an alarming rate.
Ubisoft, which employs more than 20,000 people, is experiencing a “great exodus” of developers, which is impacting development times according to two sources cited by Axios. Per the Axios report, Ubisoft has already lost 5 of the 25 top-credited developers on Far Cry 6, its biggest new release of the year, and 12 developers of the top 50 from Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, Ubisoft’s biggest game of 2020.
Top-level talent is the only area where Ubisoft is bleeding developers, though. The LinkedIn pages for Ubisoft Quebec and Ubisoft Montreal show that both studios are down at least 60 employees over the span of the last 12 months, and the reasons for the departures are broad. Some employees cited low pay and high hours, while others are unhappy with Ubisoft’s response to its “#MeToo” reckoning.
Ubisoft has reportedly become an easy target for recruiters looking to pull talent over to new studios. One former Ubisoft developer even stated that another employee contacted them because there was no one left at the studio that knew how to fix a particular issue.
LinkedIn now shows Ubisoft’s attrition rate – a measure of the rate that employees leave a company – as 11%, which is less than Activision Blizzard’s 16%, but higher than EA’s 9%, Take-Two Interactive’s 8%, and Epic Games’ 7%. The games industry already has notoriously high turnover when compared to other industries, often due to poor working conditions and long hours.
Ubisoft leadership is reportedly comfortable with its position, however. The report cites an internal survey that, in part, questioned whether employees would recommend “Ubisoft as a great place to work.” That question returned a score of 74, which Ubisoft says is in line with other employers in the industry. Meanwhile, Ubisoft has promised sweeping changes to its company’s approach to diversity and inclusivity.
Ubisoft’s predicament is troubling, though nothing will change unless the company is willing to make improvements. Until then, the problem will likely only get worse, cycling in new developers are as the experienced ones find better places to work.