Assassin’s Creed Devs Grill Boss is about chasing trends and layoffs

picture: Christian Petersen (Getty Images)

Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot faced tough questions from some stressed and annoyed employees about recent mistakes and future plans in a company-wide Q&A session on Wednesday. The meeting comes just one week after Doctrine killer Publisher announced New cancellations and delays and cost-cutting measuresand told employees “the ball is in your court” to help get the $3 billion company back on the right track.

“The ball is now in our court – for years it has been in your court, so why have you mishandled the ball so badly, that we, the workmen, have to fix it for you?” Read a question that was voted for by someone on a list previously submitted through the company’s communication channels and viewed by Kotaku. It was a reference to the now infamous Guillemot e-mail Sent to the staff last week This seems to blame recent errors on the publisher and hold lower level employees responsible for fixing the situation.

Guillemot opened the meeting with an apology. “I heard your remarks and I’m sorry it was taken that way,” Guillemot said, according to sources present who were not authorized to speak to the press. “When I say ‘the ball is in your court’ to deliver our squad on time and at the expected level of quality, I wanted to convey the idea that more than ever I need your talent and energy to make this happen. This is a team journey that of course begins with myself and the leadership team to create the conditions for all of us. to succeed together.”

While this clarification resonated with some developers, others spoke to them Kotaku keep feeling Management is far from reality And they found little in the meeting to reassure them. The hour-long affair was filled with industry buzzwords, business jargon, and light on the details. CFO Frederick Doggett said they needed to cut costs and increase productivity. Chief of personnel Annika Grant rejected a recent proposal for four-day work weeks and said the increases needed to keep up with inflation were no longer on the table amid the current financial difficulties. None of the executives directly addressed the latter strike call on working conditions in the company’s studio in Paris.

Guillemot remained vague about the possibility of layoffs as well. “It’s not about doing more with less, but finding ways to do things differently across the company,” Guillemot said at one point.

The meeting comes after a particularly bad 2022 for the global publisher which did not include any blockbuster films as many projects were delayed, Trapped in development hellOr it was shipped and failed to find an audience. “Management seems to be out of the game saying we need to adapt to an evolving industry”? Read one of the questions from the meeting, which garnered hundreds of endorsements. “Why are we chasing trends instead of identifying them?”

Those trends could include the company’s 2021 Error on NFTs Or its partnership with the now-defunct Google Stadia streaming service. It could also describe the publisher’s recent race to ship several free spin-offs to existing franchises and a crowded slate of battle royale and hero shooters. Some of those, like Hyperscape And Roller Champions, was already launched and struggled to find audiences. Others like Heartland division It was announced a while ago and has not been announced yet.

Ghost Recon: Frontline is another example. Unveiled in 2021, it looked like a steal Call of Duty Warzone. Call of duty But with some new twists in the gameplay. Internal tests reportedly revealed that she actually played like a Call of Duty Warzone. Call of duty rip-off and Ubisoft decided to finish it last summer with three other projects, leaving Ghost Recon The fans are scratching their heads and the developers are disappointed.

In today’s meeting, Guillemot talked about doubling down on core Ubisoft franchises such as Doctrine killerAnd far cryAnd It Tom Clancy Games, incl rainbow six sigwhose CEO compares his potential to Riot Games brave. Some are of the opinion that she has fallen back not only from chasing trends but from experimentation as well. said Marie-Sophie de Wooper, senior vice president of studio operations, when asked why the company hasn’t pursued more diverse and smaller games like Anu 1800.

One big criticism Ubisoft in recent years has been the lack of divergence between sequels and over-reliance on an open-world plot that has carried over from franchise to franchise. When pressed about a lack of creativity, Guillemot pointed out Far Cry 6 As a “high quality” game it was still considered “not innovative enough”. It remains unclear how Ubisoft will juggle the budget demands and production complexity of its blockbuster films and the creative risks going forward.

Kotaku understood that the developers are on Some of the recently canceled projects will pivot to help ship games like Assassin’s Creed Mirage, which is a smaller, more traditional entry in the stealth action series. Originally planned as a Assassin’s Creed Valhalla expansion, Mirage It has grown into a complete game Partly from the need to fill in holes in Ubisoft’s release calendar. Instead, it slides into the fiscal year beginning April 2023, along with Skull and bones And Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora. Guillemot recently called this lineup and beyond the best in the company’s history, though if its recent past is any indication, it’s unlikely to go exactly as planned.

Ubisoft did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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