A recent investigation by NME has found reports of crunch culture and poor working conditions in game development at Ubisoft Paris following a similar allegation by the French trade union Solidaires Informatique last week alleging high rates of sick leave and developer 'burn out'.
The report includes direct quotes from several developers on Just Dance 2023 and claims that Ubisoft Paris workers encountered a "mess" during the game's production, with multiple unrealistic demands being set by studio bosses.
Issues cited include claims of the studio not having settled on the game's production engine despite a tight deadline and just nine months of production time left, and the need to implement "impossible" creative decisions "that had to be considered at all costs".
According to NME's sources, these work standards allegedly produced an environment of crunch culture where overtime shifts became commonplace, with some employees being "explicitly encouraged to work overtime" by "intimidating" figures. Workers on Just Dance 2023 were the focus of the investigation, though one of the anonymous interviewees suggested that “every project at Ubi Paris [is] affected by crunch culture”.
The appointment of managing director Marie-Sophie de Waubert is cited by the same employee as a positive, however, highlighting a "real cohesion" within the Paris team itself.
This is the latest in a series of stories regarding the troubled publisher, with reports of the company's employee ranks being depleted in recent years due to alleged misconduct and wider management issues, PR blunders and apologies from CEO Yves Guillemot, and share price tumbles following dire sales reports.
You can read NME's full report here.
Yves “ball is in your court” Guillemot needs to go. Ubisoft has no hope under his rancid leadership.
And let us never forget that Yves's son Charlie Guillemot is an alleged slimeball. https://www.gamespot.com/articles/ubisoft-ceos-son-charlie-guillemot-resigns-from-the-company/1100-6492124/
I am shocked!
...well, not that shocked.
The effort made to improve Just Dance to feel modern with 2023 Edition shouldn’t go unrecognized. The new engine allows these songs to be so much more animated, not to mention the general improvements to the gameplay. the Just Dance team is notably smaller than most Ubisoft teams, so I can imagine how hard it was rehaul everything while still maintaining a yearly cadence.
Ubisoft is going to burn out their developers and steer away talented programmers from Game Development in general, because Yves hates acknowledging his own leadership blunders. In a company even moderately less nepotistic, the board would call for him to step down.
Removed - trolling
For some reason, this doesn't surprise me. I still feel bad for the people involved, but this situation, particularly with Ubisoft is to be expected.
I used to get "encouraged" to work unpaid overtime but now as soon as my shift ends I leave. Simple as that.
Yeah they alleged this a couple of years ago, and Michel Ansel quit to go run an animal sanctuary or something. This is the fault of the people demanding AAA games and accepting nothing less.
I suppose I’d be a bit miffed too if I was promised something from my career path that wasn’t entirely true.
Someone had to work hard and complained, my ears have heard that many times over the years.
It's good, I feel even more justified that I boycott them since 2020.
“This just in: Ubisoft is a sucky place to work.”
“We can also report: water is wet.”
But in all seriousness, we need better labour laws to prevent this kinda crap from happening. No one should have to destroy their mental and physical health just to make incremental changes to the game they’ve been releasing for the past 15 years.
@Impossibilium But it's really hard and back breaking work to make a sh1tty game.
@tseliot I would’ve said the same thing no matter what line of work they were in. This just happens to be a videogame website, so the people I was talking about are videogame developers. Which is a real job that people do to make a living for themselves, not just construction work, which you seem to be implying is the only type of job that is actual “work” because it requires physical strain.
No matter what job you work at, working long overtime hours, seven days a week is going to affect your health, mentally and physically. A human body needs rest to continue to function, whether you’re a lumberjack, a doctor, or an accountant. Workplaces that don’t take this into account are bad workplaces.
And the quality of the game they’re making is irrelevant. I jokingly suggested that it made the stress that they’re going through even worse when it’s a crappy product (in both of our opinions anyway) that would be the end result. That is irrelevant. They are people, and they are people that are working hard to create a game that a lot of people enjoy, and makes a lot of money for their employer. Money that they may never see because they are most likely paid a regular salary, while the executives at the company are getting bonuses when the games sell well.
A little bit of empathy goes a long way. People should learn to realize that just because someone is sitting at a computer all day doesn’t mean that their work is less valid than the person digging ditches for a living. Just because some people are overworked in one job and don’t complain about it doesn’t mean that nobody else should have the right to ask for a good work environment. It should be expected, and fought for, in every line of work.
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