Ubisofts Unrelenting Pattern of Disturbing Allegations
Ubisoft, a (very long ago) once reputable name in the gaming world, has found itself once again at the eye of a storm, drowning under disturbing allegations of sexual assault. The real question is, how much longer will this continue? Well first, we need to travel back to 2020 for details.
This week brought fresh horrors to light as French authorities detained five...FIVE!!! former Ubisoft executives for questioning, reigniting a firestorm of scrutiny. Among the prominent names mentioned are the once 'most powerful creative force' of the company, former chief creative officer Serge Hascoët, and Tommy François, the ex-VP of editorial and creative services.
This duo exited the company back in 2020 amidst burgeoning allegations, but it seems their past has caught up with them. What's intriguing is the delay in justice.
It was only after the tireless efforts of the French labor union Solidaires Informatique, collaborating with two of the victims, that a formal complaint was launched (tweet posted above). This sparked the recent action by French law enforcement.
Sadly, Hascoët and François are not isolated instances. There's an entire roll call of individuals who were compelled to exit Ubisoft in light of the 2020 accusations: Assassin's Creed Valhalla's director Ashraf Ismail, former managing director of Ubisoft Canada Yannis Mallat, ex-PR director Stone Chin, previous global head of HR Cécile Cornet, and the former VP of editorial Maxime Beland. If that doesn't sound alarming, get this - one of the employees was reportedly choked during a party in 2014 by Beland. These reports, initially emerging from tweets, gained significant traction as they were expanded upon by publications like Liberation, GameIndustry.Biz, and Kotaku.
Yet amidst this chaos, Per Ars Technica, Hascoët stood as a pivotal figure in Ubisoft for over three decades. His overwhelming influence reached such a magnitude that CEO Yves Guillemot regarded him as his effective right-hand man. With his approval being almost a rite of passage for projects, Hascoët was deeply embedded in Ubisoft's fabric.
In a bid to salvage the company's reputation post the initial storm of allegations, Guillemot assured "major changes" vowing to revamp HR policies and restructuring the editorial department. His stated goal was to cultivate a safe and inclusive work environment. But how effective were these promises? A subsequent report by Le Télégramme revealed the unsettling truth: changes within the company walls remained largely superficial. Ubisoft’s reply? A blog post pledging training, disciplinary actions, and terminations. Yeah, that oughtta work out just swell.
The continuous emergence of allegations against Ubisoft paints a harrowing picture. It's not just about a handful of executives. It reflects a systemic problem deeply rooted in the company's culture. Ubisoft, with its recurring scandals, is a glaring example of the urgent need for systemic reform in the gaming industry. One can only hope for genuine change... But unitl then, it kinda feels gross just buying a game with that company logo slapped on the front.