Ubisoft's unprecedented "exodus" of developers is revealed


Well-known member
Dec 24, 2020
Colleagues across Assassin's Creed publisher Ubisoft have names for the procession of developers who have departed over the past 18 months: "the great exodus" and "the cut artery."

Driving the news: The wave of resignations impacting scores of industries has come for the video game sector this year as well, and it's been felt acutely at the massive Ubisoft.

  • Across the company's global network of studios, which at 20,000-plus employees comprise one of gaming's largest workforces, many developers have decided it's time to quit.
  • And many of their colleagues describe a flow of goodbyes like they've never seen before.
Signs of the exits are abundant.

  • Top-name talent is leaving, with at least five of the top 25-credited people from the company's biggest 2021 game, Far Cry 6, already gone. Twelve of the top 50 from last year's biggest Ubisoft release, Assassin's Creed Valhalla, have left too. (A 13th recently returned.)
  • Also out are mid-level and lower-level workers as headcounts drop, particularly in Ubisoft's large and normally growing Canadian studios. LinkedIn shows Ubisoft's Montreal and Toronto studios each down at least 60 total workers in the last six months.
  • Two current developers tell Axios the departures have stalled or slowed projects.
  • One developer recently said a colleague currently at Ubisoft contacted them to solve an issue with a game, because no one was still there who knew the system.
Interviews with a dozen current and former Ubisoft developers cite a range of factors for the departures, including low pay, an abundance of competitive opportunities, frustration at the company's creative direction and unease at Ubisoft's handling of a workplace misconduct scandal that flared in mid-2020.
Departing employees talk of generous competing offers, particularly in the Montreal area where new studios are proliferating and where attrition at Ubisoft's main studio doubled for a time.

  • One programmer told Axios they were able to triple their take-home pay by leaving.
  • In response, Ubisoft recently offered across-the-board pay raises for workers at its Canadian studios.
  • Grant said those boosts have improved retention by 50%. It's also frustrated developers in other studios who wonder when they're getting raises too.
One worker who left this year said they'd tried to involve themselves in efforts for the company to reform its culture but were disappointed by what they heard from their bosses.

  • "They constantly emphasized 'moving on' and 'looking forward' while ignoring the complaints, concerns and cries of their employees," the developer said.
  • Also frustrated by their role at Ubisoft, they left: "The company's reputation was too much to bear. It's legitimately embarrassing."
Ubisoft brass argues that, for all its tumult, the company's standing is comparable to its peers.

  • A spokesperson noted that questions in a recent company-wide survey, about whether employees are happy at the company and would "recommend Ubisoft as a great place to work," returned a score of 74, which they said was in line with the industry average.


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