Ubisoft’s been having a rough time of it lately: Skull and Bones got delayed (again), the company cancelled three unannounced projects, and its share price has taken a hell of a bruising. But CEO and co-founder Yves Guillemot knows just whose responsibility it is to turn things around: His staff’s.
In an email seen by Kotaku, Guillemot told Ubisoft staff that “The ball is in your court to deliver this line-up on time and at the expected level of quality” after the company’s myriad delays had “weighed on our costs and decreased our associated revenues”. Guillemot told staff that he needed their “full energy and commitment” in order to make sure that Ubisoft “[gets] get back on the path to success”.
Guillemot, who was set to make €624,824 (around $675k/£550k) last year after taking a 30% pay cut—he earnt €1.03 million ($1.1m/£910k) in 2021—also implored staff to “be especially careful and strategic” with their “spending and initiatives,” in order to assure that the company was being “as efficient and lean as possible”.
To be clear, Ubisoft is foundering at the moment, and it’ll absolutely require hard work from everyone at the company to steady the ship in the months and years ahead. But for the company’s millionaire CEO to lay all that responsibility at the feet of his staff—and seemingly take none for himself in the process—is profoundly tone-deaf. For the statement to come from Ubisoft, with its recent and ugly history of workplace mismanagement and abuse, only makes the statement more wince-inducing.
Ubisoft’s best bet to shake off its current slump is probably this year’s Assassin’s Creed Mirage, its upcoming AC game that looks set to return to the series’ roots in both setting and gameplay. It’ll offer a more contained experience than the likes of Origins, Odyssey, and Valhalla, and will be set in the Middle East. I’m no management expert, but I imagine it’d be easier to get that game out the door if its staff don’t feel like the CEO reckons it’s entirely on them to turn around the fortunes of a multi-billion dollar corporation.